Waste collection in the Gulf of Cádiz

Written by: Recycling Waste World | Published:

Waste collection specialist in Mediterranean countries, Tim Byrne examines the waste management system of the Spanish coastal resorts of Lepe, Islantilla and La Antilla on the Gulf of Cádiz and looks at how the municipalities deal with the pressures of high numbers of visitors at the height of the tourist season.

The tourist town of Lepe, along with the resorts of Islantilla and La Antilla, are on Spain’s Costa de la Luz in the province of Huelva. 


The resorts are on the Gulf of Cádiz which is a sunspot in the Summer for holidaymakers.


Due to rising numbers of tourists in these three coastal resorts, volumes of waste have increased over the last 10 years. 


In the early 2000s, Urbaser, Spain’s second largest waste management contractor was given a seasonal, four-month waste collection contract from June to September every year to collect waste in Lepe, Islantilla and La Antilla. 


This helped the Gestión Integral del Agua de Huelva (GIAHSA), the public company who has responsibility for collecting municipal waste from all of the coastal towns along Huelva’s coastline. This was achieved by Urbaser supplying three rear loading waste collection vehicles for the operation. 


These had Geesinknorba GPM II, GPMII or Geesinknorba ‘N’ Series, Ros Roca Cross or Faun Rotopress or Variopress type compaction bodies of varying sizes from 16 cubic metres up to 22 cubic metres in capacity. The types of chassis used were Iveco Eurocargo, Iveco Eurotech, Iveco Stralis, Renault Midlum, Renault Manager, Renault Premium, Mercedes Benz SK and Mercedes Benz Atego types in both two and three axle configurations. 


Providing man and vehicle power


Urbaser provided the three collection vehicles as well as nine members of staff, three drivers and six loaders, to man the collection vehicles over the four-month period of the contract. 


Urbaser also had three additional spare staff, one driver and two loaders, for the four-month contract. 


The collection of municipal waste began at midnight, seven days a week by Urbaser. Their collection vehicles were manned with a driver and two loaders. Their operatives would empty the 1100 litre containers of municipal waste at the communal collection points situated along the streets in the resorts.


The containers’ contents would be emptied into the hopper of the waste collection vehicle using its bin lifting equipment. Each collection vehicle would collect two loads of waste each night. Excess waste placed next to full 1100 litre containers was also collected to reduce the build-up of odours from the waste in the warm climate to maintain high standards of cleanliness for both residents and tourists. 


Waste transfer and treatment


When the waste collection vehicles were full, they made their way to the waste transfer station at La Redondela situated between the town of Lepe and the resort of Isla Cristina. 


The waste transfer station was operational each evening until mid-morning seven days a week. This gave adequate time for the hook lift vehicles to load full hermetically sealed roll-on-off containers at the waste transfer station to be transported for discharge at the waste treatment plant and also time for the empty containers to be returned ready to receive the next night’s waste.  


The waste transfer station was one of three facilities which were operated by Reciclados del Tinto y del Odiel (RETINOD) on behalf of the Diputación Provincial de Huelva - Area de Medio Ambiente - the environmental services division of the county council. 


All three waste transfer stations opened in the evening to receive waste collected through the night by the private contractors and public companies collecting waste for the surrounding municipalities which had varying starting times. 


On arrival, all collection vehicles were weighed so that the waste transfer plant knew the net payload o


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