Spain Explained

Recycling your cooking oil in Spain

Last updated on September 13th, 2019 at 09:10 am.

In many countries recycling your waste has become something of an art form. Certainly in the UK, in some counties, there seems to be a different container for every different type of waste – newspaper and cardboard, bottles and tins, waste food and garden waste. The list goes on.

In Spain, it’s generally much more simple. With rubbish collection still being a communal activity from communal bins, the onus is on the individual to take their waste to the requisite recycling bin. There are a similar range to choose from, including for plastic, glass, paper/ cardboard, clothes and shoes, garden refuse. However, recently, a new one has been added to the list.

A new bin emerges

They’re large, orange and pretty unsightly. You’ll know what we’re talking about if you’ve seen one of the large orange recycling bins that have been placed around Torrevieja. To use them properly it would help if we knew what they were for.

The containers are, in fact, for collecting oil used for cooking and there are now twenty of them spread across the city. There are plans to increase the number to 40 in the next couple of months.

Why? Of all the liquids that end up in the sink, oil might not seem to be particularly special. However, if you give the subject some thought, there is a powerful reason behind it. Oil does not, of course, mix with water and as point out, this means that when pouring oil down the sink, water is contaminated. They report that a litre of oil contaminates 1,000 litres of water.

If you do take advantage of the new recycling containers you are not only helping the environment, you’ll be improving your own home too. Pouring oil down the sink can lead to the clogging up of plumbing and consequently bad odours and health risks. The good news is that the waste oil that finds its way into these bins will be recycled into bio-diesel fuel.

So, if you want to make the placing of the new orange monstrosities worthwhile here is what you do:

  1. wait until the oil in your frying pan has cooled down
  2. use a plastic bottle that previously contained water or other soft drink
  3. pour the oil into the bottle using a funnel
  4. wait until the bottle is full before taking it to the recycling point
  5. only deposit vegetable oil (olive, sunflower, soya) and not other types of oil such as those used for the car

In the end, quite a simple process well-worth carrying out if it helps  preserve the water supply.

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Leave a comment


Georgina Gray

13 July, 2016 7:55 am

Can you empty oil recycling
Can you empty oil recycling container situated on Calle Rio Guadiana Riomar 6 Mil Palmares 03191 it us completely full. The recycling bins have been relocated to a site across the park so your oil container needs to be relocated as well….it is chained to the ground so it cannot be moved.

Suzanne O'Connell

19 July, 2016 11:29 am

Dear Georgina 

Dear Georgina 

Thank you for your question. The responsibility for the recycling bins lies with your town hall and you should contact them. 

Adrian Lopez

18 August, 2021 2:25 pm

Do you pour the oil into the container or chuck the whole plastic bottle full into bin ?

Oscar Paoli

19 August, 2021 8:26 am

Hi Adrian,
You dispose the oil in a container.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Amy Saunders

7 February, 2022 4:25 am

Hello! I’m super glad you mentioned about getting rid of only plant-based oil because it is safer. The owner of my neighborhood diner found out that he has lots of used cooking oil in his store and he doesn’t know what to do with them. I’ll ask him to contact a professional company to handle the items safely later.