Glass, cans, paper, plastic, oil, batteries and small waste electrical and electronic items (WEEE) all can be recycled in Gibraltar with approximately 50 recycling stations around the Rock.
The team of men working that morning with were responsible for the recycling of glass, paper, cans and plastic. These men work six days a week and sometimes also on Sundays.
I joined Javier Borja first as he took the truck that recycles paper around the Rock. Mr Borja has been working for the company for 17 years, but has only been in the recycling sector of the business for the past two.
Mr Borja confirmed a local claim that some recycling goes into the land fill. He said that some waste does go to landfill but only if the recylate has been contaminated. An example of contaminated recyclate is when someone has placed a bag of household waste that has burst and is strewn all over a paper recycling bin. This paper is no longer recyclable and the men need to dump it into the back of their truck take it straight to the household waste site and dispose of it.
Some people on the Rock are dumping household waste into recycling bins on a regular basis, with some areas being more affected than others. The drivers believe that sometimes it’s because the recycling bin is closer to them than the household waste bin metres away or because people just do not care.
Another claim is that recyclables are being mixed.This also happens but only if there are more than one recycling bin that has been contaminated by items such as household waste.
Adrian Bado, has been working for Master Services for the past 22 years. He spent the first 18 years of this dealing with people fly tipping and the past four he has been in the dealing with the recycling of plastics and glass all around the Rock.
There is only one large truck that goes around the Rock lifting up the recycling bin and dumping its contents, the items it is collecting depends on the colour of the big container on the back.
This may account for some people seeing the same truck collect from different bins in the same day.
This truck also has to deal with contaminated recyclate and like the smaller trucks will need to dispose of the load in the dump rather than being able to recycle it.
All these recyclate streams are then collected separately and sent to certified recycling plants in Spain. At each recycling plant, the recyclate delivered is reprocessed into new materials bound for manufacturing.
The vast majority of household and some commercial recycling in Gibraltar is sorted at MetalRok on Flint Road.
The items being recycled here include glass, metal items such as cans, paper, plastic, Styrofoam, aluminium, boilers, tyres, fridges, copper, mattresses, cars and wood. MetalRok also service the WEEE bins around the Rock, this does not form part of Master Services remit.
Large bulky household items such as couches, white goods, large electrical items, scrap metal, paint, mattresses, furniture can all be taken free of charge to the Civil Amenities Site, at Europa Advance Battery, Europa Advance Road. These items are sorted, broken down and recycled.
The Government are constantly appealing for people to use this free facility instead of fly tipping these items at the bins or the side of the road. Fines have and will continue to be issued to anybody found dumping these bulky items illegally.
Which bins are for what?
To assist the men at Master Services and to stop the contamination of recyclate here is a reminder of what bin is used for what items, as per the ThinkingGreen website.
Yellow Recycling Bins: This is the content Plastic items such as bottles of water, yoghurt pots, tetra Brik packaging and plastic bags can be deposited in the yellow containers. They can also be used for all types of metal items, including tins, cans, aluminium foil and foil trays.
Blue Recycling Bins: Blue containers are for paper and cardboard.
Pink Recycling Bins: These bins cater for small Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). This includes items such as toasters, hairdryers, watches, electrical toys, etc. In addition, our Civic Amenities Site on Europa Advance Road is equipped to receive all types of WEEE, including washing machines, fridges and boilers, from the public free of charge.
Green Recycling Bins: All types of glass containers and items can be deposited in these bins. Please remember to remove any metal lids which should go in the yellow bins.
Red Recycling Bins: Household batteries, of all shapes and sizes, can be placed in the red containers. Larger batteries, especially car batteries, can be accepted for recycling at our Civic Amenities Site free of charge.
Orange Recycling Bins: Any waste cooking oil can be collected in empty plastic bottles and sealed before depositing these in the orange recycling bins.
Pics by Eyleen Sheil