“The Spanish industry is already part of the solution to the environmental problem”

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Cespa Gestión de Residuos (CESPA) is one of the companies that comprises the Ferrovial Services Group in Spain, whose main activities are the provision of environmental services to private and public clients as well as waste treatment. 

In today’s post, we are joined by Buenaventura Gómez CañadaSenior Manager of Environmental Development and Operations at CESPA – Ferrovial Spain and Portugal, who presents us with an interesting analysis of the sector through his answers.

What are the most important innovations you are implementing in the waste management sector?

All those related to management improvements that allow clients to spend as little time as possible in their working day monitoring their Waste Management Model, facilitating access to information and their autonomy in the control and monitoring of data relating to the services provided and waste managed. This objective is combined with the selection and implementation of projects that improve the recovery rate and the Circular Economy.

Which materials have currently the highest recycling rate?

Traditional streams, such as metal, glass and cardboard waste, have the highest recovery rates as they are easily recognisable and, therefore, are segregated in a higher percentage and with a reduced degree of contamination. They have solvent recycling circuits, which ensure that the circularity of their processes is achieved.

And which ones do you foresee having the greatest potential in the short term?

In my opinion, the plastics fraction and the organic fraction, in the understanding that both must be worked on intensively, their correct segregation at source.

Could you describe the current distribution of the percentage of waste recycling in CESPA-Ferrovial?

We currently generate more than 200,000 tonnes of by-products per year, which ranked from highest to lowest current tonnage would be cardboard, metal, plastics, bricks and wood.

Does the industrial sector consider that it is taking advantage of the generation of new business opportunities presented by recycling?

If we understand it as the replacement of virgin raw materials with recycled raw materials, I think so. In Spain, the industries in the plastic transformation sector are currently placing more than 900,000 tonnes of recycled plastic on the market. This figure is relevant and shows that the demand for this stream is high, and the trend is upward. Regarding the demonised flow of plastic, it is clear that Spanish industry is already part of the solution to the environmental problem.

How does digitalisation affect a traditional sector such as recycling? Is the participation of the private sector important to optimise these processes?

Digitalisation is a key factor in the Circular Economy. There are two factors that justify it: on the one hand, it is very important that the information associated with waste management and the opportunities it represents flows and is transversalised so that the whole community is aware of its existence and shares experiences and solutions. Finally, the digitalisation of processes will increase their efficiency and improve their sustainability.

What is CESPA-Ferrovial’s current climate and environmental strategy?

CESPA is fully aligned with the objectives of the European Green Pact in terms of reducing the consumption of natural resources and reducing emissions. We hope to actively participate in the process of achieving climate neutrality, planned for 2050.

How will the EU Circular Economy Action Plan impact on waste reduction and the promotion of sustainable products?

Definitely, by incorporating a higher percentage of recycled raw materials in new consumer products, extending their lifespan, improving the sustainability of production processes, facilitating the recycling of products once they have exceeded their useful life, and finally empowering citizens to use their decision and purchasing power to reward those companies that are truly committed to green production and have implemented circularity in their strategic and production policies in a reliable way.

The electronic waste management platform e-SIR, launched by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, is generating controversy in the sector due to the malfunctioning of the obligatory electronic processing. How is this situation affecting CESPA – Ferrovial?

As we were talking about digitalisation, this new regulation and its entry into force on 1 September 2021, have been a real challenge for all Waste Managers. In our Company, the fact that our clients and their waste are managed in accordance with this new legislative model has meant that we have had to allocate the necessary resources to be able to comply with the telematic transfer. Of course, we have not been unaware of the incidents that all companies are encountering and which we hope will soon be resolved.

What do you think would be the best strategy to bring producers and recyclers closer together and thus optimise synergies?

I would advocate for the training in the knowledge of waste and its segregation in a first phase, and later on, for showing the real recycling route of these fractions so that producers understand the process and value that their efforts have been satisfactory for the environment, thus reinforcing their environmental commitment.

In recent years, we have seen how different urban waste management systems have been tested: door-to-door, reimbursement of a percentage of the price of the packaging… What would you consider to be an ideal solution?

It is difficult to assess the merits of one type of service or another. In my opinion, waste management services should meet the criteria of efficiency and lower waste consumption, favouring in any case those people or entities that segregate with greater guarantees or that reduce waste generation.

Discover in our blog information about industrial recycling, the benefits of a circular economyelectronic scrap recycling and many other posts that give you some keys to start the revolution in the sector.

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