1 Jun 2021

El Boalo – Cerceda – Mataelpino

9 impactful zero waste projects on the road to becoming a Zero Waste Certified City

In March 2021, after the development and implementation of several zero waste projects, the Town Hall of El Boalo Cerceda and Mataelpino officialised its commitment to become a Zero Waste Certified City, with the guidance and support of the Mission Zero Academy.

Located in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of Madrid, El Boalo is a Spanish municipality of around 8000 inhabitants. The municipality includes three main population settlements: El Boalo, Cerceda and Mataelpino.

El Boalo’s commitment to zero waste principles and circular economy implementation dates back to July 2016. Conscious that the current waste management system is no longer sustainable, El Boalo changed its urban waste management system to ensure that waste collection became a municipal responsibility, as well as to include a road cleaning service. Since then, the town built up upon this systemic change through additional zero waste projects, becoming a role model and a source of inspiration for the nearby municipalities.

“La Estrategia de Residuo Cero que está llevando a cabo el municipio de El Boalo, Cerceda y Mataelpino se articula a través de diferentes proyectos municipales que están creando sinergias y reforzando las potencialidades de los diferentes recursos naturales y humanos del territorio, que se interconectan entre sí estableciendo redes de colaboración y desarrollo que redundan en una serie de beneficios ambientales, sociales y económicos.”

“El Boalo’s zero waste strategy is carried out through different municipal projects which create synergies and strengthen the capabilities of its various natural and human resources. These collaboration and development networks result in several environmental, social, and economic benefits”

said Miguel Ángel García Marquet, Environmental Advisor, at the municipality of El Boalo.

These 9 projects are:

  • Municipal herd of guadarrameña goats. Among its various functions, there is the clearing of green areas to prevent fires, and the prior management of municipal pruning, collected separately through the Door-to-Door system, before being used as a structuring agent for the composting process. Using this endangered species contributes to its conservation.
  • Household and community composting.
  • Vermicomposting in municipal buildings.
  • Door-to-Door separate collection of domestic waste in 4 areas: light packaging, paper and cardboard, organic.
  • ¡Gallinas en acción!: avicompost with the participation of the municipal schools
  • Reuse BOCEMA: diverting waste from landfill through reuse.
  • Buena Compra BCM: online market to buy and sell local products. For home delivery, reusable materials such as traditional boxes and baskets are used as well as electric vehicles to avoid waste generation and CO2 emissions.
  • Social gardens.
  • Agrocomposting in collaboration with IMIDRA (Instituto Madrileño de Investigación y Desarrollo Rural, Agrario y Alimentario).

As collaboration is key when it comes to implementing ambitious change, these projects were carried out with the significant support of Amigos de la Tierra, a Spanish ecologist non-governmental organisation.

“En Amigos de la Tierra tenemos un objetivo muy claro: lograr una sociedad respetuosa con el medio ambiente, justa y solidaria, lleva implícito apostar por políticas que impulsen la economía circular y caminen hacia el residuo cero, dejando atrás la incultura de “usar y tirar”. (…) Con esta premisa, apoyar y acompañar en este cambio a municipios que, como El Boalo, Cerceda y Mataelpino están convencidos de que este es el camino y se implican en ello, es para nosotras una tremenda satisfacción y una vía que deseamos seguir transitando con cuantos municipios estén dispuestos.”

“ At Amigos de la Tierra we have one clear goal: accomplish an environmental-friendly, fair and solidarity-driven society. It goes without saying that we support policies promoting zero waste and circular economy principles, leaving behind the current throwaway culture. (…) With that in mind, it is a pleasure for us to support and guide in this journey all the cities which believe in the urgency of this systemic change and decide to firmly commit to it – like El Boalo, Cerceda and Mataelpino did. Looking forward to getting many more Spanish municipalities onboard in the future!”

Marian Lorenzo Quintela, Head of Natural Resources & Waste at Amigos de la Tierra Comunidad de Madrid.

Besides environmental preservation and local jobs creation, the most evident results of these zero waste projects were achieved in the education field.

“Desde el consistorio creemos que la llegada del cambio en la gestión de los residuos municipales ha supuesto un antes y un después en nuestros centros escolares. Dado que han sabido incorporar en sus rutinas, multitud de acciones encaminadas al residuo cero y al cuidado del medio ambiente, utilizando alguno de los proyectos en el aprendizaje en las aulas con el alumnado. Los niños y niñas representan el futuro, por lo que se les debe enseñar a desarrollar prácticas sostenibles que sean generosas con el medio ambiente, para poder preservar nuestro entorno.”

“The systemic change in municipal zero waste management marked a “before” and an “after” to the whole community but especially to the children in schools. Several zero waste and environmental-friendly actions were promoted and became part of the students’ daily routines, including projects that are now part of the school’s educational programmes. Children are our future, and as such, we need to teach them how to develop sustainable practices, so that we can preserve our planet.”

said Soledad Ávila Ribada, Environmental and Education Councilor.

El Boalo’s ultimate goal is now to spread the knowledge and expertise acquired to other Spanish municipalities in order to encourage a zero waste and circular economy implementation – not only at the local level but also at the national one.

El Boalo, Cerceda and Mataelpino’s commitment to zero waste management, separate collection, reuse and repair might seem a “small grain of sand” (“un pequeño granito de arena” as Spaniards would say), but it rather represents an important contribution to a bigger movement leading Europe’s transition towards a circular economy implementation.

Would you like to become one of the first Zero Waste Certified Cities in Europe? Find out more!

Scroll to Top