Recycling involves processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfill). Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse & Recycle" waste hierarchy.
What used to be defined as waste or garbage is today defined as raw material or a resource for new production. Waste and garbage is nothing but a resource gone awry. Almost everything we use can be reused and recycled. The key is to sort waste in the right way so that reuse and recycling becomes possible. Wrong sorting in the beginning can lead to the impossibility to reuse and recycle waste in its later stages. By recycling and reusing, the need for waste disposal in garbage dumps is greatly reduced which diminishes the risk of soil and water contamination. Waste disposal in waste dumps is also an expensive option not reflected in the price of products as it is part of the municipal taxes we pay to our respective municipalities.
Most important of all is to avoid buying junk in the first place. For instance, how often do you defer from buying packaging which goes directly into the garbage can at home?
The main recycling categories are defined by each municipality independently, and there the most important categories in Iceland are the so-called Fenur categories. It is possible to recycle and reuse much more in the Reykjavik area than out in the rural areas. This can be explained by the fact that waste disposal has to be economical and if recycling and reuse costs more than it saves, it is simply not carried out. However, in many municipalities great advances have been made in reuse and recycling during recent years.
All municipalities in Iceland accept and dispose hazardous chemicals and most of them offer recycling of sorted paper (newspapers, cardboard and corrugated boxes), bottles, soda (PET) bottles and aluminum cans, milk containers, timber, clothing, furniture, garden waste and drugs. You can find where the closest recycling facility near you is, anywhere in Iceland, by looking at our Recycling Map. By looking on our Green pages, under the categorie, Recycling, you can also see which company is responsible for recycling and waste disposal in your area and on the Green Map of Iceland you can see where the respective waste collecting and disposal companies are operating.
By organizing sorting at home the whole process of reuse and recycling can become a joyful experience. All members of the family can contribute. To hoard things in the garage or in the storeroom is generally not a good idea. It is a good idea to mark boxes and containers. Some days should even be called garbage days - maybe 2 or 3 times a month. In this way garbage accumulation can be avoided which can be of great benefit.
Græna tunnan (the Green bin) is only an ordinary container that is emptied less regularly than other garbage receptacles. Thus the fee for garbage collecting becomes less for residents. Bláa tunnan (the Blue bin) in Reykjavík and Árborg and elsewhere accept paper of different categories (newspapers, magazines, mail and other printed matter). Endurvinnslutunnan (the Recycle bin) of Gámaþjónustana and Græna tunnan (the Green bin) of Íslenska Gámafélagið accept the recycling categories: newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, brown paper, milk jugs, plastics ,cans and smaller things made from metal. It is not allowed to put glass or batteries in the Green bin.
Deposit on products returned for recycling
A deposit can be claimed for used cars, paper packaging, plastic packaging, tires, agricultural plastic material, fishing nets and hazardous chemicals. All soda and beverage containers, i.e. aluminum cans and PET bottles carry a recycling deposit. It means that for each can/bottle (and all other deposit categories) produced, the producer has to pay 16 IKR into the Icelandic Recycling Fund. The producer claims this money back, of course, by including it in the price of the product. The Icelandic Recycling Fund then pays back 16 IKR to the person that returns the item for recycling. The deposit is an encouragement to return the item back into the material flow so the material can be reused instead of becoming garbage. Garbage has to become landfill or disposed in another polluting and expensive way, therefore there is a real savings involved in recycling, in addition to (the deposit system) creating less stress on the environment. You can collect, return and get your deposit back at the Recycling Depot (Endurvinnslan hf) that takes care of the process as a whole. Rescue corps and charities also accept for deposit packaging and they sell it as means of obtaining some cash.
There is also a deposit on milk containers (Tetra Pak) as they are a valuable recycling commodity. Individuals cannot, however, presently claim the deposit for single milk containers. The milk containers are collected independently and used as a means of income for rescue corps and charities.
Batteries are accepted at the Efna Waste Disposal & Recycling and at many gasoline stations where they have installed special containers for batteries. It is also possible to get boxes for used batteries at the recycling stations. They help with the disposal of used batteries at home. The batteries can later be handed in for recycling. It is important not to throw away batteries into the ordinary trash because they can be very polluting for a very long time. Rechargeable batteries are much more environmentally friendly than single use batteries. They can be used up to 1000 times.
Guðrún Arndís Tryggvadóttir „Endurvinnsla“, Náttúran.is: June 27, 2013 URL: http://nature.is/d/2007/06/26/gardurinn-endurvinnsla/ [Skoðað:Oct. 3, 2023]Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.
skrifað: June 26, 2007
breytt: Aug. 7, 2015