It’s not all rubbish

EPORE outing to Son Reus You know there is such a thing as a “Bucket List”? It’s a list of things to do before you die. Well, I should try to keep a record of my own personal Bucket List as I fulfilled a great ambition this week: I went to the Son Reus rubbish dump just north of Palma. I know, call me a nerd, or a weirdo, but I’ve always wondered where my rubbish goes. We live in S’Arracó where all of the villagers are compelled to separate and sort their rubbish. We have door to door collections of organic waste, plastics, paper, glass and “mixed” (that’s when we get rid of the cat litter, wine corks, and things that don’t fit in with the easier categories). I have obsessed about this topic before on my blog: click here. 

I’ve been diligently putting things in the right containers for more than two years: tearing the cellophane windows out of envelopes, washing out yoghurt pots and, this is when I really feel like a hero, even washing out the cat food tins and (horrors) touching the strange jelly stuff that clings to the inside of the can.

The system works thus: you collect your varied rubbish and then on set days of the week you hang the appropriate bag of separated rubbish outside of your house to be collected by the waste collection gang from the council. It’s certainly brought my local community together more: hanging out the weekly bag for glass recycling is an opportunity to rate each other on alcoholic intake. But once the bag is collected, what happens to it next? Does my attention to detail matter, or was it all going into the same hole in the ground anyhow? It had played on my mind that’s for sure, and I often wondered if I could go to see. Well, thanks to EPORE (Europeos Por Espana www.epore.org) I did. They organised a trip this week and I jumped at the chance to go thinking I was going to some secret place where no one was allowed to visit. Far from it: we met at the beautiful Visitors’ Centre and watched a very well made video in English, and then took in the Education Centre and went on a monorail train around the site to see how rubbish was recycled. I found out about how the recycling centre is one of the best in the world, that surprised me, I also found out about how the incineration of rubbish (which is about  50% of the waste created here on the island, the rest is processed and then recycled) creates energy for 60´000 homes. It was absolutely fascinating, and anyone can do it. The information is on their website www.tirme.com where you can see everything in English including instructions on how to visit the centre.

Better still I had some pressing questions answered by Montse, our guide, who put my mind at rest. No, I am not a nerd for separating the cellophane from the paper envelope; thank you for washing out your tins, but you don’t have to (you cannot believe how happy this made me, no more washing up cat food tins!); it doesn’t really matter if you use glass bottles or plastic bottles, they both have to be recycled; plastics includes all plastic, plus it also includes tins and metals, and the things which are called “briks” i.e. cartons to you and I. There was always the doubt in my mind that although I was doing my bit for the environment that it didn’t really matter, well I learnt this week, that it does.  Thanks to EPORE for a great opportunity. Where are we going next?

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