You are here

Sustainability Matters – November 2021

On the occasion of European Waste Reduction Week, IbizaPreservation reminds us of the importance of the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Ibiza has an abundance of natural attractions, from its sparkling sea, sandy beaches and charming coves to its unspoilt interior, interwoven with farmlands and forests. However, all this beautiful scenery is threatened by an abundance of something far less natural, and far less attractive: rubbish.

Ibiza generates about a third more waste than the Spanish national average – 662kg per person in 2019, to be exact. And, of course, all that waste must go somewhere. A new recycling plant that opened on the island in December last year should ensure that less of it goes to landfill, but even so, we’re still on course for the current site to be full within seven years. And that point, the alternatives are far from ideal: dig another big hole in the ground; incinerate it; or send it to Mallorca to be incinerated there.

Photo courtesy of Ayelén Alonso

But there is another solution, one that depends not just on local government or businesses but on all of us who either live or holiday on the island: the move towards a circular economy. What does this mean in practice? A good start is to recycle properly. There’s an urban myth in Ibiza that all our rubbish just goes to landfill anyway, regardless of which container you put it in. Having seen the recycling plant with our own eyes, we can assure you this is not true!

How to recycle in Ibiza

For visitors to the island, the system is probably a little different to what you have back home, so here’s a quick guide on what to put in which bin:

  • Yellow – this is for “envases” or packaging. You can throw all types of plastic wrapping and containers in here, including Tetrapaks, metal items such as drink cans and food tins, and polystyrene trays.
  • Blue – this is for paper and cardboard, though this should always be dry and not covered in oil or food waste.
  • Green – this is for glass bottles and jars, ideally rinsed out before chucking and with non-glass lids removed. NB broken glass should go in the grey container.
  • Brown – this is for food waste, cooked or raw. Meat and fish bones can go in here as well as coffee grinds and tea leaves. Dirty kitchen paper or serviettes are also ok.
  • Grey – only use the grey bin for things that can’t be recycled in any of the others. Large items should be taken to the tip or “deixalleria”.

If you’re staying in an apartment or villa that doesn’t have recycling bins, you can easily set up your own system by using different bags for the various categories. There are containers on almost every street corner so you can empty them as you go past every few days.

Tips on going zero waste

Even better than recycling, however, is making zero waste choices wherever possible, such as:

  • Taking reusable bags shopping with you. If you’re coming on holiday, pack a couple of small, fold-up ones in your suitcase; they don’t take up much room.
  • Using refillable water bottles and coffee cups.
  • Buying loose fruit and vegetables instead of ones wrapped in plastic.
  • Choosing shops that let you refill your own containers of household products or foodstuffs like rice, pasta, cereal, flour, and nuts. There are several around the island, including Biosmell and La Alternativa Eco in Ibiza Town, Pachamama and Terra Zero Store in San Antonio and Antigua Simbólica in Santa Eulalia.

European Waste Reduction Week

Plastic Free Ibiza, a movement of local NGOs we at IbizaPreservation helped to create, will be raising awareness about this issue over the next few days as part of European Waste Reduction Week, which runs from 20 to 28 November. Thanks to funding from the local government, Consell de Ibiza, Plastic Free and its partners will be running educational workshops in a local school and manning a stand on Vara del Rey in Ibiza Town between 10am and 1pm on Thursday 25 November. There will be lots of goodies up for grabs and the chance to talk to our colleagues and get advice on how to cut down on waste.

Going fully zero waste may seem to many to be an almost unachievable ambition, but small steps like ditching plastic water bottles and plastic bags really do add up, and whether you’re a resident or a visitor, by doing your part you are helping to keep the island that bit cleaner and healthier, something we can all enjoy.

You can find out more about IbizaPreservation and donate towards their work by going to their website: You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Check out Ibiza Spotlight's recommended eco-friendly businesses whilst you are here and help to support a greener, cleaner Ibiza and Formentera.

Read our article about a well in San Rafael, where you can fill water yourself, buy bottled water or have it delivered to you.


Related content

Select date