Door-to-door collection in Sarriá, Barcelona

The historic centre of Sarriá represents an ideal setting for the development of the first door-to-door waste collection system in the city.

Over ten years ago Barcelona, the first among the large cities of the separate waste collection, activated the separate collection of organic waste. The percentages of separate collection achieved are considerably higher than in the rest of Spain, nevertheless the aim is for a further improvement.



Intervention: Separate collection / PAYT pricing
Location: Barcelona Sarriá (ES)
Year: 2018

A challenge that in six months has produced excellent results. Barcelona is now progressively eliminating street containers and has introduced door-to-door collection in the Sarriá district. This initiative is part of a medium-term plan to capillary introduce the door-to-door waste collection system in this 1.6 million inhabitants city.


Separate collection in 2018
Separate collection in 2020

Initial situation

Despite being introduced in 2010, the percentage of separate collection in Barcelona was 35%.

There was no infrastructure that would allow citizens to correctly and easily recycle, like tagged containers and bags and reading systems integrated into the door-to-door collection process.



  • improving separate waste collection, achieving over 60%
  • reducing waste production to less than 1.2 kg per inhabitant per day
  • increasing public space thanks to the removal of street containers
  • encouraging improvement in the separate collection of other refuse, such as bulky waste
  • introducing the PAYT (Pay As You Throw) system which guarantees pricing based on the actual waste production
  • reducing the cost of landfilling waste disposal for the solid fraction
  • increasing revenue from the sale of recyclable materials
  • cleaner streets and squares
  • improving the quality of all the fractions of collected waste and, above all, biowaste
  • improving air quality and reducing noise levels


The implementation of the door-to-door collection system was divided into three phases:

  • information and participation sessions were held from October to December 2017. The city opened a dedicated office and environmental representatives started to work on the territory
  • The communication campaign began in January 2018 with the distribution of information materials. The material necessary for the development of the program (tagged containers and bags) was distributed on the territory
  • The new collection system is operational since Monday 19 February 2018

The Sarriá district, within the historic centre of Barcelona, was chosen to introduce the new separate waste collection strategy.

Since the launch of the new collection system, continuous improvements have been introduced, such as the reuse of organic matter for composting, the distribution of community wheeled containers in buildings with more than five floors, the improvement of information also through immediately understandable stickers placed on containers, and networks between neighbours to help bring the containers of the elderly and people with disabilities to the street.


Since this waste collection system was launched in February 2018, its evolution has been weekly monitored :

Separate collection in 2018: 35%

Separate collection in 2019: 55%

Separate collection in 2020: 57% 

The weekly collection of organic waste in the district had a tenfold increase, from 700 kg to 7348 kg, while contamination in organic waste decreased from 13.6% to 0.9%.

In the first six months after the new system started, separate collection in the district was almost 20 points above the average of the other districts of the city.

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