Ibiza Environment Special Report on Recycling.


  • Why are we so rubbish with our rubbish?
  • Ibiza’s recycling statistics show no noticeable improvement over a four year period.
  • Formentera surpasses all 5 of Ibiza’s municipalities with recycling levels three times better than Ibiza’s poorest performing municipality, San Antonio.



Ibiza’s Five Municipalities & New Initiatives in San Jose

San Jose town hall have reported bullish statistics of a 57% increase in their recycled waste for the first quarter of 2016 compared to the previous year. With ever increasing concerns at the pressure on the Ibiza Environment, we thought it time to look at how all of the municipalities are performing.

We are sorry to say the statistics make for very poor reading.

San Jose certainly has most reason to be positive in their performance. Having risen from approximately 11% in 2012 to 14.3% in 2015 their efforts are worthy of credit. It has to be noted however, that the borough has hugely increased the availability of recycling containers.  The availability of separated waste disposal locations almost doubled in 2015 from 132 to 244. In that context it would surely be reasonable to expect a far greater rise in the proportion of rubbish sorted for recycling than has actually been achieved?

For once, we cannot lay the blame here with the government. Clearly San Jose is putting in place the tools for the job, but it seems evident we the public are still not using them.



Indeed San Jose has initiated many additional environmental facilities and resources. These are available to residents via their dedicated website and include online collection requests for bulky items. They also offer, what must be in environmental services a ‘state of the art’ green app. Users are invited to photograph any problems located in the borough such as vandalised public furniture, street lights not working, or fly-tipping etc. These images are then submitted directly through to the town hall for their attention.


It seems the four remaining municipalities are making little to no progress in their recycling efforts. Only marginal improvements have been made over the past 3 years.

Ibiza Town comes in second highest on the island but has made no real improvement in four years.

Santa Eulalia has held top spot throughout, but again only shows an improvement of 0.05% in four years.

San Juan has improved by just over 1% but with its level of recycling still at under 10% it is the second worst on Ibiza.

San Antonio has also achieved a 1% increase but both San Antonio and San Juan actually slipped backwards from 2014-2015.


Of course the figures in isolation do not give the full picture necessary to accurately compare one area to another. For example if one area has half the number of recycling stations and additional commercial considerations, such as a high level of tourist accommodation, these factors will have an effect.

But that said, even setting aside any issues of comparison, the figures being achieved and particularly the level of change over the period has to be considered truly appalling.

Year Ibiza Town San Antonio San Jose Santa Eulalia San Juan Formentera
2015 15.27% 7.97% 14.31% 16.27% 9.86% 23.69%
2014 15.87% 8.22% 12.38% 16.44% 10.20% 21.49%
2013 15.65% 7.66% 10.75% 16.38% 9.26% 20.97%


Recycling our waste is a direct way we can help preserve the Ibiza Environment. Next we take a look at how Formentera are working to protect theirs.



Special Report: Formentera’s Success In Waste Recycling

We contacted the Consell de Formentera for some further information regarding their waste policies and procedures. So what can we learn from Formentera? We asked:

How has Formentera achieved such a high percentage of recycled waste compared to its Ibizan neighbours? 

  • Answers have been provided by Councillor Daisee Aguilera

There are several factors that have contributed to improving the recycling rate:

At a practical level all waste bins have been removed and replaced with “ecological islands”. At these waste collection points citizens have the option to separate waste divided into packaging, cardboard, glass and general waste.

  • Awareness campaigns:

Since then there have been numerous awareness campaigns under the slogan “Naturally Formentera” encouraging different changes in the behaviour of citizens and businesses.

Formentera Necessita the costat teu Green
Formentera Necessita the costat teu Green

For example, the campaign “Formentera without plastic naturally” was a pioneer in Spain. It was phasing out plastic bags for single use in Supermarkets and replacing them with biodegradable and composting bags. This was regularised in 2009 to join the municipal solid waste ordinance requiring retailers to deliver biodegradable bags and at a cost of 10 cents per unit.

  • Summer 2016

The awareness campaign for Summer 2016 is “The Image of the island depends on everyone”. It aims to promote the idea that we must all work together to make  recycling work, and that it is to everyone’s benefit, individuals and businesses, to do so.

We are issuing information to every establishment on Formentera and reviewing the proper management and  procedures for waste disposal. We have also hired an environmental reporter during the 6 summer months.

See awareness campaign “Formentera Necessita the costat teu Green” (screenshot above)


And a video to stop people leaving cigarette butts on beaches

Formentera needs your green side: cigarette butts from Turisme de Formentera on Vimeo.

  • Direct Aids to Recycling

In addition we have been continually delivering recycling bags, recalling the importance of separating waste.

We have held special days of recycling, composting courses, beach cleaning with schools, school visits to the waste transfer plant and the new municipal deixalleria (dump).

  • Special Waste Facilities

Finally, we have introduced the treatment of vegetable oils and hazardous waste such as asbestos and cement. All these campaigns have been accompanied by environmental monitoring of informants and monitored inspection work.

  • Replacement Beach Bins:

In 2012 a campaign to collect beach packaging waste , separated for recycling, began by installing new compartmentalised bins to encourage that main form of beach rubbish to be separated at the point of disposal.  This campaign was accompanied by promotional videos

Respecta els operaris de Formentera! from Turisme de Formentera on Vimeo.

  • Collection of Commercial Cardboard:

Since the start of the contract we have increased door to door collection of commercial cardboard. Each establishment can benefit from individualised collection of cardboard.

Currently many establishments are embracing the convenience of the service. From 8pm to 2am you can leave folded and strapped commercial cardboard at the door of each establishment preventing the improper maintenance of this type of waste.

  • Restaurant Collections:

A big breakthrough in 2013 came into force with the door to door collection of waste to 40 stores in the centre of Es Pujols. This service is provided between June 1 and September 30 to make it easier for restaurateurs to separate waste and deliver it in a controlled manner.

  • Financial Incentive

Finally, there is a big incentive for the Formentera Consell to make recycling work in reducing the cost of waste transportation.

The transport cost for non-separated waste (the black/grey bins) sent to landfill Ibiza (Ca Na Putxa) is 1 million euros a year or so.

Transportation of separated waste, packaging, glass and cardboard, is free of charge to the public purse with the cost covered by the recyclers.

El més important és reciclar! from Turisme de Formentera on Vimeo.



It does seem that Formentera holds some secrets to success. Many may consider even their 23.7% recycling percentage in 2015 as modest, but at 3 times the level of Ibiza’s worst performer they are at least worthy of whatever credit is available in the Pitiuses.

Ibiza’s landfill is struggling to cope with the demands of the islands overpopulation however on this issue there are clearly steps we can all take to improve the situation. On the issues of street crime, publicity corruption and many more of Ibiza’s much debated ills we can of course all hide behind the protection of blaming those in power for mismanagement of the situation.

What can we do?

In recycling, the fault is nobody else’s but our own. To show that we care for the island we have chosen to call home, we need all attend to the simple domestic task of dividing our waste onto the four basic categories and using our local facilities provided for the purpose.

For many of us recycling is not an issue of whether we should or should not, it is simply a case of changing our habits. This is particularly true for the many people living in apartments with limited space where it is often just finding a practical way to sort their waste.

We are guests in a very beautiful foreign land. The very least we can do is help keep it that way. Recycling our waste is a step we can all take to do our bit to protect the fragile Ibiza Environment.


San Antonio Issues  Free  Recycling Bags

As the lowest of Ibiza’s recycling municipalities San Antonio has a long way to go to catch up. The Town Hall has made a step in the right direction by making available a stock of colour coded recycling bags for residents.

They are free of charge and available at the town hall reception.

For residents in other areas, one simple and very low cost solution that also takes up very little space, Ikea sell recycling bags at just 2.50€ each.

A very simple, easy solution that once dumped, just fold flat for you to carry on about your business.