Change of consumption and waste model

The pace of resource consumption continues to grow and exceeds the speed with which the planet provides those resources. Moreover, much of what we consume in Barcelona comes from very long international supply chains. What we consume, above all commodities, very often comes from the other side of the world and is a crucial factor in global climate justice.

The current consumption model is inefficient and generates many climatic, environmental and social externalities. The linear economic model of using and throwing away takes no account of the planet’s finite limits. Thus, someone in Barcelona generates a total of 483 kg of waste a year (1.32 kg/inhab./day), while selective waste collection has been stagnant at around 38% for years. Plastics, especially the single-use kind, are a clear example of a linear economy model, as only 10% ends up being recycled. Not to mention the impact they have on the environment, health and well-being of the population and the rest of the natural world. So we have to accept the EU targets for selective collection and recycling.

We want a city with a critical and responsible attitude towards consumption and which is shifting to a social and solidarity economy with a circular model, where there is no place for waste.

Most important challenges

  • Promoting a change in the production matrix and the consumption model.
  • Highlighting and being responsible for all the waste that stems from our consumption with a vision of global climate justice.
  • Shifting from a linear to a circular economy.
  • Moving forward from a consumer society to consumption based on needs.
  • Changing to a model with a zero waste target.
  • Promoting a new consumption culture.

Key actions and actors

Making progress on responsible consumption and preventing waste

  • Roll out the Zero Waste Strategy by greening festivals and events, using reusable cups/glasses, cutlery and plates, organising repair workshops and spaces, exchange forums, a library of things, low-waste trade fairs and conferences, etc
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Promote responsible consumption through exchange marts, with local products, shops and organisations that reuse and distribute second-hand products, shops that sell in bulk, responsible consumption fairs, etc. Encourage green energy procurement.
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Study the carbon footprint of the different types of consumption in Barcelona, considering whether to introduce global emission indicators.
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Introduce climate emergency criteria in the terms and conditions for advertising goods and services in spaces under public control
    • Barcelona City Council

Individualising municipal waste collection to improve selective collection

  • Roll out individualised collection systems for domestic and commercial waste throughout the city, increasing selective collection to 65% in order to reduce the need for incineration.
    • Barcelona City Council, AMB
  • Reach voluntary agreements with the private sector in order to establish best practices in reducing packaging, waste, single-use plastics, etc.
    • Barcelona City Council, AMB

Implementing instruments for environmental taxation applied to waste

  • Create a domestic waste collection tax that acts as an incentive for participating in selective waste collection
    • Barcelona City Council

Introducing legislative and regulatory changes

  • Eliminate single-use plastics.
    • Generalitat de Catalunya, Estat espanyol
  • Apply regulatory changes to allow new, collective increased producer responsibility systems (SCRAP in Catalan) to be introduced and promote the introduction of deposit, return and refund systems (SDDR)
    • Government of Catalonia, Spanish State

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