The urban solid waste collection service of the city of Soria, provided by Valoriza Servicios Meodioambientales, has experienced consistent improvement in its recycling rates in the last years.
Out of all the waste fractions, there has been a significant increase in the volume of plastics collected. In 2021, 711 tonnes of light plastic or metal packaging waste and briks were collected in Soria, which represents a 42% increase in only a five-year span, and a 100% increase compared to 2008, the year when Valoriza started operating in Soria.
On average, every resident of Soria recycles 17.9 kg of plastics, above the Castilla y León average (15.4 kg) and in line with the national average (18.8 kg).
Causes for the increase in plastics
The steep increase in the volume of plastic waste collected is due to two main causes. On the one hand, an increase of the use of plastics in homes, as it is used as packaging for most food products. On the other hand, the people in Soria have improved at classifying waste at home, which is proof of our environmental awareness as a society.
In the past few years, the Soria City Hall and Valoriza have developed campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of recycling.
In total, 2,497 tonnes of recyclable materials were collected in 2021, which represents a 20% increase compared to 2008. By waste fraction, 711 tonnes of plastics, 1,108 tonnes of paper-cardboard and 678 tonnes of glass were recycled in Soria.
Thus, in 2021, the collected amount of paper-cardboard waste was 24.3 kg per capita, compared to the 19.4 kg average in Castilla y Leon, and the 19.3 kg national average.
The increase in the amount of textile and footwear and batteries waste in the past few years is also noteworthy. 98 tonnes of textile waste were collected in 2021, 25% more than in 2016, and 4.7 tonnes of batteries (+5%).
As for the ratio of incorrectly classified waste, it was 22.8%, as opposed to the 26% of Castilla y León, and the 29.8% national average. These data demonstrate the dedication, awareness, and environmental knowledge of the people of Soria.
Measures to combat the increase in waste
Both the Soria City Hall and Valoriza have had to adapt to the increase in waste of the past few years with the following measures:
Increasing the number of containers of all selective collection waste fractions. Back in 2008 there were 174 plastics containers compared to the current 241, and 202 paper-cardboard containers in 2008 as opposed to the 278 in 2022.
Increasing the collection frequency of all waste fractions, even doubling the days/week ratio for all paper-cardboard containers.
Upgrade in the container system. The Soria City Hall decided to replace the open top recycling bins with side-load recycling bins, with all the improvements that these changes entail. This system works without the workers needing to operate the containers, it is faster, more efficient, less noisy and will not disturb traffic.
Both entities have contributed to raising environmental awareness in Soria with different campaigns:
Talks in schools including various environment-related topics and different methods: seminars, puppet theaters, visits to recycling plants or workshops to make musical instruments using recycled materials.
‘Senderos del Duero’. Since 2011. Organization of a series of hikes around the city, combining sports, knowledge about nature and recycling.
Recycling campaigns on media, with the involvement of the Soria City Hall, Ecoembes or Ecovidrio.
Other initiatives, such as workshops to make Christmas ornaments with recycled materials from neighbor associations, using reusable glasses in the Christmas race, etc.
Over the years, the Soria City Hall, Valoriza and the citizens of Soria specially, have received recognitions from multiple organizations for their efforts. Some of them are:
"TU PAPEL 21” certification - Since 2014. Every year, the Pajaritas Azules award recognizes the good municipal management, the commitment of the local citizens and the collaboration of the agents involved in paper-cardboard collection.
The 2015 OCU report ranks Soria in the number 9 of Street cleaning satisfaction and number 2 in Waste management.
The 2019 OCU report ranks Soria in the number 12 of Street cleaning satisfaction.
The 2021 OCU report ranks Soria as the province with the least expensive waste management fees.
In 2019, the Soria local police gave the Cruz al Mérito Profesional con Distintivo Blanco to the street cleaning and waste collection staff.
In 2022, the Asociación Jurados de Cuadrilla gave a distinction to the Street cleaning and waste collection service for their efforts during the San Juan celebrations.