The fight against climate change is closer than we imagine. One of the simplest and easiest things to do to reduce your environmental impact is to compost. Currently 40% of the solid waste generated in an average home corresponds to the organic fraction. In other words, all those biodegradable residues that can easily be turned into compost, into a nutrient-rich fertilizer for the soil.

That is why city councils have been incorporating the fifth container in towns and neighborhoods for years, to collect this fraction separately. But despite the fact that more and more municipalities are facilitating composting and families are joining to participate voluntarily, certain questions arise. Is the use made of it sufficient? Is there enough knowledge about its use? Is the importance of its use known?

Since the installation of the brown containers, the collection of organic matter has been increasing to the detriment of the gray or waste container. In Bilbao, from January 2018 to October of the same year, the increase was 150%. However, this translates into less than 23,000 inhabitants, of the almost 350,000 inhabitants who live in the town. Starting from a situation of non-selective collection, the figures will always be positive, but are they enough?

It must be taken into account that the organic matter of all those families that do not use compost bins or the brown container (fifth container) is deposited in a landfill or incinerated. Both options are bad for the environment and contribute to global warming. That is why removing up to 40% of the waste that reaches the waste containers is an indisputable benefit for the environment.

Thanks to the selective collection of organic matter, through the fifth container, or even more successfully through the door-to-door system, several municipalities are already complying with State Law 22/2011 that transposes the Union Waste Framework Directive European. This law establishes the objective of recycling 50% of the waste generated by 2020. Once again, the fifth container becomes a fundamental ally for compliance with said law.

That is why efforts have to be redoubled and carry out more awareness campaigns to get more families to participate. The benefits of using the fifth container are multiple, both for society and for the environment:

  • Payment of garbage collection fee is reduced
  • Citizen participation is encouraged
  • Jobs are created
  • Citizens become aware of environmental issues
  • The fraction of remains is reduced (waste that goes to a landfill or incinerator)
  • Air, water and soil pollution is reduced
  • The effect of climate change is mitigated
  • Biogas and energy are obtained
  • Natural fertilizer is obtained