8 Apr, 2024 @ 15:15
1 min read

Young people recycle the LEAST in Spain: Just 5% of 18-24 year olds separate their rubbish, study finds

YOUNGER Spaniards recycle far less than older people, despite being the most environmentally-conscious population age group for issues like climate change.

The surprising conclusion comes in a survey carried out for Cadena SER Radio and the El Pais newspaper.

Only 5% of 18 to 24-year-olds always separate their rubbish, compared to nearly 36% of people aged over 65.

From 25 to 34, only 8% do so and from 35 to 64 years old between 14% to 20%.

The figures suggest that as people age, their level of civic awareness increases.

The majority of Spaniards consider that as a society, in general, there is little or no recycling- according to six out of 10 respondents.

But when asked individually, 70% say they always separate and recycle waste, especially glass, plastic, paper and cardboard.

The percentage drops 10% in organic waste (food scraps, vegetable scraps, pruning and garden care products) and 20% in inorganic waste (nappies, sanitary napkins, used tissues, ceramics, broken toys, dust, hair or cigarette butts).

The number who said they never recycle comes in at 15% and the more-right wing the views of a person, the least likely they are to get involved with recycling.

The study among 2,000 people also reflects a lack of trust about the use of waste with 40% of them sceptical about correct processing in recycling plants.

Of those, six out of 10 believe that waste is mixed up and four out of 10 think that rubbish is not actually recycled.

Supporters of the far-right Vox party lead the sceptics, but just over half of Spaniards believe that the recycling process is done well.

Almost a third of people who don’t recycle says they don’t have bins close to their home, with most complaints coming from rural areas- especially in Andalucia, Galicia, Castilla La Mancha, Asturias and the Canary Islands.

At the other end of the scale, the Basque Country and Navarre are the best-equipped with bins.

Other answers revealed that 40% of people get their electronic gear fixed when they break down while 30% take them to a recycling centre and the same percentage get rid of their furniture at such centres.

The vast majority say they make the most of food and the shelf life of products before throwing them away or buying new ones.

A third of people buy in second-hand stores, another third purchase products in bulk and also 30% say they buy on platforms that take advantage of food and leftover food in bars and restaurants.

Finally, half of Spaniards blame large companies for the need to reduce waste and recycle it.

More than 40% point to national and local government, and a similar percentage believe that it is the responsibility of the citizens.

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Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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