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EXPLAINED: How to get rid of old furniture and appliances in Spain

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EXPLAINED: How to get rid of old furniture and appliances in Spain
Here's how to properly dispose of old junk in Spain. Photo: Simon Hurry/Unsplash

Although you may see some fly-tipping in rural Spain, there is a system in place to safely - and legally - dispose of your old furniture and appliances free of charge. Here's what you need to know.


What is a punto limpio?

Puntos limpios (or clean points, in English) are facilities where household waste is collected and stored temporarily, free of charge, either due to its size or potential danger, and therefore cannot be put into the public rubbish containers on the street. There are around 2000 puntos limpios across Spain, with Catalonia having the most, and Castilla la Mancha in second. On average there are 24,445 inhabitants per punto limpio across Spain.The main types are:

Fixed puntos limpios

Probably closest to what is known in some parts of the world as a ‘tip’, fixed punto limpios are larger sites on the outskirts of urban areas.


Mini or neighbourhood puntos limpios

Usually located closer to residential areas, they are smaller and more accessible, but therefore don’t accept all types of waste like the larger fixed sites do.

Mobile puntos limpios

Collection trucks that serve a district or neighbourhood.

Where is my nearest punto limpio?

Spanish consumer watchdog Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) has a handy search engine where you can find puntos limpios across Spain. Find it here. 

What are the regulations?

Puntos limpios are regulated: they will be signposted and easily identifiable, with opening hours, and be easily accessible for vehicles. The sites must be kept clean, and you must not leave debris on the floor.

All puntos limpios must identify each deposit area, and which type of waste must go there, and there should be a member of staff to assist users. Crucially, puntos limpios are free - do not pay anything to anyone (staff or otherwise) who offer to get ride of something for you for a fee. 

Electronic devices

For electronics, you should first consider if they still work, and prioritise reusing or recycling them if so. If they aren’t in working condition, they must be deposited in specific areas for electronics clearly identified on the site.  

What can I bring to a punto limpio?

Simply put, puntos limpios are for all household waste that cannot be discarded into public trash points, but only from individuals or households and not industrial waste. 

Many people discard batteries, electrical appliances, paint residues, oils (both kitchen and motor), halogens or fluorescent lamps, furniture and other bulky objects, aerosols and chemicals, medicines, debris, junk, and mattresses, among others.

At each punto limpio, there should be a member of staff there to advise on what is and isn’t acceptable, and where to deposit it.


What should I avoid?

Note that not all puntos limpios accept the same objects, so it is advised to look into the rules at your local point. You can do this at the town hall or by talking to staff at your nearest site. Banned materials include organic waste, radioactive materials, infectious waste, tires, and explosive materials.

What happens to my waste?

Puntos limpios are important component in Spain’s recycling system. Most of the waste that is collected is then moved to existing recycling facilities. Stuff that cannot be recycled is treated or disposed of.

What happens if I don’t use a punto limpio for my waste?

Be careful, the consequences of flytipping can be severe: failure to dispose of household waste at punto limpios can result in a fine of up to 30,000.


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