Bilbao, a clean city

The ISWA 2019 World Congress will be held in a clean city. Bilbao, host of the event that will take place next October in the Euskalduna Palace, is a city concerned about sustainable waste management as demonstrated by the constant efforts of its authorities to improve the overall quality of the waste collection service and its recycling.

Two factors determine the success of this effort: the quality and efficiency of the material resources (machinery) and the awareness of the citizens in the commitment to recycling and respect for the environment. Aware of the importance of these two factors, the municipal authorities spare no effort in developing information and public awareness campaigns on the different aspects of waste collection, while allocating a significant budget to the permanent improvement of the available technical and material resources, from the most modern electric sweepers to simple litter bins.

One of the latest initiatives in Bilbao has been the implementation of a new recycling service based on Mobile Collection Points, known as Bilbaogarbis. These are two trailer-platforms with openings for different types of waste that can be collected separately, which are distributed daily at two points in the city and collected at the end of each day.

These Mobile Collection Points complement the four fixed Bilbaogarbis (Larraskitu, Zorroza, Elorrieta and Artxanda) that already exist, saving residents who wish to deposit this type of waste the need to travel. The materials collected at these Mobile Points are mobile phones, tablets, music players and chargers, batteries, printer cartridges, light bulbs, CDs/DVDs, X-rays, paints and aerosols.


The deployment of these new resources has been just one part of a broader initiative under the global message: “Recycling is no longer an excuse” which has been supported by an extensive information campaign developed over three months, which has included the distribution of glass, paper and packaging recycling bag kits, and the sending of an explanatory leaflet to the city’s 150,000 households.

The City Council has encouraged interest in recycling with various awards for families who have joined the campaign for selective collection of organic matter. This campaign, developed under the slogan “Kaixo organikoa”, has accompanied the deployment of 1,500 brown containers covering all districts of the city.

The success of this campaign is unquestionable: in 2017 there were 8,852 families who joined and deposited 465,819 kilograms of organic matter. In 2018 there were 24,763 families adhered, a growth of 180%, which deposited in the brown container 1,137,225 kilograms of organic waste, 144% than the previous year.

According to the latest available data, the citizens of Bilbao separated for recycling a total of 5,027.52 tons of light packaging and 11,590.87 tons of cardboard and paper packaging through the yellow and blue containers. An average of 14.55 kg per inhabitant per year in light packaging and 30.55 kg per inhabitant per year in cardboard and paper, data that are above the national average. As far as glass container waste through the green container is concerned, in 2017 Bilbao men and women separated for recycling  a total of 7,506.81 tonnes, an average of 21.73 kg per inhabitant per year, above the national average of 16.18 kg per inhabitant per year.

This separate collection was carried out in the 1,450 yellow containers, 1,201 blue containers and 926 green containers distributed throughout the city.


The attendants to ISWA World Congress 2019 will have the opportunity to get to know  first hand the latest generation of machinery that Bilbao is using to achieve every day the title of clean city.

Last year, the City Council renewed 80% of its cleaning service fleet, with the purchase of 16 types of vehicles. Of a total of 251 cleaning vehicles, 201 have been renewed and the new ones are more sustainable and silent, significantly reducing water consumption and 25% of them are electric.

This in-depth renovation of the vehicle fleet has led to a significant improvement in the collection service, with the incorporation of double daily treatment (cleaning and subsequent maintenance) both in the suburbs and in the city centre.

In addition, the electrical vehicles reduces water consumption and minimizes noise impact without losing efficiency. Most of these units are multi-purpose and are used for disinfecting, removing dog excrement and cleaning graffiti, even on delicate façades.



Telephone: +(00)34 94 662 01 78

Las Mercedes, 8-1ºA
Getxo – 48930
Bizkaia (Spain)