Local residents are required to keep their neighbourhood and natural surroundings clean and to avoid activities that are dangerous, such as lighting fires, or which could spoil such areas, such as altering the natural environment (cutting branches off trees, disturbing the habitat of animals and plants, etc.) or dumping bags of rubbish or rubble.

It is also important to take measures to reduce the amount of water, electricity and gas you use in everyday life.

Taking such measures is the only way to make it possible to lessen the adverse effects of wasteful power consumption. Obtaining energy resources (which are limited) involves a rising level of public expense and, furthermore, affects the environment negatively due to increased pollution, deforestation, climatic warming, droughts, etc.

There are a number of ways in which you can contribute to preserving the environment in your home:

  • Use low-energy light bulbs (bombetes de baix consum). They are more expensive than conventional bulbs, but they last longer and will reduce your electricity bill.

  • Do not leave lights on in rooms you are not using. You can also save energy by switching off electronic equipment completely instead of leaving it on stand-by.

  • If you need to buy an electrical household appliance, look for one that has a high power-efficiency rating (classificació energètica eficient), i.e. a new model that comes with mechanisms designed to save energy.

  • You can save water by taking a shower instead of a bath, by repairing dripping taps and by turning taps off while you wash the dishes or your hands, or clean your teeth.

Water rate
(El cànon de l'aigua)

The water rate (cànon de l'aigua) is an environmental tax that covers the costs of the services involved in supplying citizens with water (water treatment plants, reservoirs, testing, etc.). It represents between 15% and 25% of your water bill, depending on the town or city in which you live and the amount of water you use at home, meaning that it acts as a penalty for high consumption. Families with more than three members can apply to the Catalan Water Agency for an increase in the amount of water they may use before being charged a higher rate of tax, resulting in the addition of 3 m³ per month and per person to the consumption limits specified by law. You can apply via the website of the Catalan Water Agency, in person or by sending a letter by registered post to the relevant supplier.

Separating your rubbish and using the containers provided for specific types of waste is another simple yet effective way of helping to preserve the environment. The containers in question are organised as follows:

  • Brown, grey or orange containers are for organic waste. Such waste should be placed in properly sealed bags before being left in containers.

It is recommended that organic waste be deposited in containers between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

  • Blue containers are for paper and cardboard, which you should flatten before placing it in the container.

  • Yellow containers are for plastic, cans and milk or drinks cartons. Such waste should be flattened before you place it in the container, to make the most of the space available and so that subsequent handling is easier.

  • Green containers are for glass.

In addition to the containers described above, many establishments have special containers for used batteries. There are containers in chemist's shops for medicines that have passed their use-by date, while many squares and markets have containers for used clothes.

Your town or city council will inform you of the location and opening times of collection centres (public tips) for materials and items that cannot be left in the containers provided in the street, such as oil, batteries, paint, rubble or electrical household appliances. Unless they can be salvaged and recycled, such materials and items are a danger to the environment and to people's health.

Most towns and cities also offer a mobile tip service, which will visit your area regularly to collect the materials and items mentioned above. 

Additionally, a municipal collection service for old furniture passes through each neighbourhood at specific times on certain days. On the appropriate day, you should leave any furniture you want to dispose of outside the front door of your building, preferably between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Penalties are applied to those who leave such furniture in the street on other days.