In Spain Demand Fell, Waste Program Spread


In Spain Demand Fell, Waste Program Spread
A truck collects used engine oil at a truck servicing facility in Navarra, Spain. Photo courtesy of Sigaus

Spain’s lubricant consumption dropped 13% to 397,074 metric tons in 2020, according to Sigaus, a non-profit entity that manages used lubricants in the country. The organization attributed the decline to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A study conducted for the organization by Pricewaterhouse Coopers found that 86% of that volume is subject to national waste rules assigning “extended producer responsibility” for collection and disposal – up from 82% in 2019. The remaining 14% – including greases, process oils and lubricants such as marine oils that are consumed in use – are not subject to EPR.

Of the 325,609 tons of EPR oils, about 308,321 tons were marketed on the national market as lubricants – also down 13% from 2019. This excludes oils destined for foreign markets – mainly in vehicles whose first filling takes place in Spain and that are subsequently exported – which accounts for 17,288 tons. 

Lubricant manufacturers that are members of Sigaus contribute fees for the lubes that they market in the country – €0.06 (U.S. 7 cents) per kilogram – to subsidize the collection and recycling of waste oils. By agreement, members also covered costs for volumes marketed by “free rider” manufacturers that do not contribute to that fund.

In total, Sigaus was responsible in 2020 for about 88.1 percent of the waste oil generated in Spain and subject to EPR.

In 2020 the free rider portion that manufacturer members paid for constituted 2.21 percent of total lubricant volume, 0.6 percent lower than in 2019.

According to its website, 242 member companies currently adhere to Sigaus. The organization has 195 collectors and 199 management facilities, and has collected close to 2 million tons of used oil since it was founded in 2007. Over 834,000 tons of lubricants has been produced with base stocks rerefined from that waste oil.

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