Recycling myths

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Separating waste correctly, as well as recycling it, is key in the fight against decarbonisation and climate change. By doing so, we not only give a new life to objects we no longer use, but also save natural resources and energy, reduce CO2 emissions and prevent waste from ending up in landfills. However, as interest in recycling grows, so do the hoaxes about the practice. There are many people and organisations that, in their eagerness to discredit it, misinform people and create false myths about recycling. In this article we debunk them.

Recycling myth 1: Recycling is not so important for the planet

Fact: Recycling plays a key role in conserving natural resources, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and thus preserving the planet. By recycling, enormous amounts of energy and water can be saved, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, waste recovery fosters the circular economy, creating green business opportunities and green jobs. Every time you recycle a product, you are actively contributing to a more sustainable future.

Recycling Myth 2: Why recycle if all waste ends up in the same truck?

Reality: The origin of this hoax is to be found in the bi-compartmental refuse lorries. As the name suggests, these vehicles have two compartments that allow for the collection of different types of waste. However, despite the fact that they accept different fractions, the waste is never mixed and is treated separately at the plant.

Recycling myth 3: All waste is mixed at the plant

Reality: Recycling plants are usually separated by fraction and therefore the possibility of waste being mixed is minimal. This does not prevent improper waste from being found as a result of bad practice on the part of the public. Despite the fact that more and more people are recycling, there are still some who are reluctant to do so or who lack the necessary information to separate waste selectively.

Recycling Myth 4: Recycling pollutes more than creating new products.

Fact: Making products from recycled materials always pollutes less than producing them from new resources. Doing so reduces the CO2 emissions involved in sourcing raw materials or disposing of waste that ends up in landfill. And not only that. As we have explained, every time we recycle we reduce the use of energy, water and natural resources. So much so that, since 1998, Spain has saved 408 million m3 of water and avoided the consumption of 26.6 million MWh of energy thanks to recycling.

Recycling Myth 5: Recycling is always more expensive than disposing of waste.

Reality: While recycling is not without costs, they are certainly lower than creating products from new materials or destroying them once they have ceased to function. Efficient and well-organised recycling can reduce waste disposal costs and save money – and environmental impact – in the medium to long term.

Recycling Myth 6: Recycled products are of lower quality than new ones.

Fact: One of the most common misconceptions about recycling is that products made from recovered materials are of lower quality than those made from scratch. This is a false belief when you consider that materials such as glass and aluminium can be recycled indefinitely and retain their characteristics. Others, such as plastic or paper, can be recovered several times without losing quality or properties.

Recycling Myth 7: Recycling is only the responsibility of governments and big business.

Fact: Recycling is a shared responsibility between governments, businesses and citizens. We can all actively contribute to recycling by adopting sustainable practices in our homes and workplaces. Separating recyclable materials, shopping responsibly and choosing products made from recycled materials are simple actions that make a difference.

Recycling Myth 8: Recycling is only about paper, glass and plastics

Reality: While it is true that paper, glass and plastic are commonly recycled materials, recycling extends far beyond these. Metals such as aluminium and steel, building materials, electronics, textiles and even food can also be recycled. It is important to find out about local recycling programmes and where to dispose of waste so that it can be properly managed and treated.


Just as there are people who believe that climate change is a fabrication, there are people who believe that the benefits of recycling are not such and create hoaxes to discredit the practice. Knowing this, it helps to explain what separating waste correctly consists of, why it is necessary to recover it and how this action helps to reduce the environmental impact. Plastic recycling, like paper and glass recycling, plays a crucial role in the circular economy and in the preservation of natural resources. If we shed some light on this situation, we are one step closer to building a more sustainable future for generations to come.

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