There’s no better time to dig out your dusters and spring clean your home, but if you have rubbish larger than a bin bag or two to get rid of, you may be wondering how.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting rid of old furniture and appliances in Spain:
Where Do You Take Your Rubbish?
In Spain, you will find 2,000 punto limpios located across the country. A puntos limpios (which translates to mean clean point) is a facility where household waste that is too large for public waste containers, or potentially hazardous for any reason, is temporarily stored. On average there are 24,445 Spanish inhabitant per punto limpios in the country, with Catalonia being the region with the largest number of these centres. There are three main types of punto limpios in Spain, with each based on their location or on the kind of waste they accept. These are:
- Fixed puntos limpios. A fixed puntos limpios is very similar to the recycling centre (formally known as a ‘tip’) that you would find in the UK. These are permanent larger centres that are generally located on the outskirts of towns and cities.
- Mini puntos limpios (sometimes known as neighbourhood puntos limpios. These are smaller centres which are located in residential areas. Because they are located in more accessible locations, these centres don’t always accept all waste as fixed location sites too.
- Mobile puntos limpios. Finally, mobile puntos limpios are collection trucks that travel to neighbourhoods to collect waste on a more local level.
How Do I Find my Nearest Punto Limpio?
If you don’t know where your nearest punto limpio is then you can visit the website of Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU), which is the Spanish consumer watchdog. The website features a handy tool which will allows you to locate your closest centre, no matter where you are in Spain. You can access this tool here.
What Can I Bring to the Punto Limpios?
Punto limpios can be used for almost all household waste that can’t be discarded in your home waste bin or into a public trash point. However, it’s important to note they can only be used for household waste: industrial and business waste should be disposed of elsewhere.
As well as furniture and old appliances, you can use the punto limpios to dispose of items such as electrical appliances and batteries, left over paint and oil, lamps, unwanted medicines, and many other products too. To make this as easy as possible to source, you will find a stuff member in each punto limpio who can advise whether your items will be accepted and where you should deposit them.
What Can’t I Bring to the Punto Limpios?
What can’t be disposed of in your local punto limpios will depend on the type of punto limpios you are using. You should look at the rules of your local point before you travel to the site. Some things are likely to be universally rejected from all sites though: these include organic waste, infectious waste, radioactive and explosive materials, and car tires.
You can dispose of electronics on the sites, as long as they are deposited in specific areas, but you are strongly encouraged to reuse or recycle them if they still work: there are recycling and reusing facilities specifically for this.
How Are Puntos Limpios Regulated?
Puntos limpios are well-regulated and incredibly easy to use. They are clearly signposted and you can drive straight into one with your vehicle. Because they are regulated by the local authorities, thepuntos limpios sites must be kept clean, and no debris or rubbish can be left on the floor of the sites.
When you arrive at a puntos limpios you will find a range of different deposit areas that are clearly marked for different types of waste.
What Happens to my Waste Once I’ve Disposed of It?
Once you have disposed of your waste at your local puntos limpios, you may be wondering where it will go. Almost all of the waste collected will be moved to recycling facilities, and enter the Spanish recycling system. Anything that can’t be recycled will be treated and then disposed of.
If you don’t use the puntos limpios for your appliances and furniture then you need to know fly tipping is a serious crime in Spain and will result in a fine of up to €30,000. As puntos limpios are easy to access, free of charge, and easy to use, there’s no reason not to use one anyway!
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