Incinerator in Zubieta, Gipuzkoa, Spain

After being temporarily cancelled, the plant was resumed in May 2017. Environmentalists, neighbors and political parties say "Erraustegirik ez, ez gure izenean" (no to the incinerator, not in my name)


Zubieta is a rural-type neighbourhood of San Sebastian located 10 Km from the city. For the last years, the landfill capacity in the whole province has been close to filling. In 2006, Odon Elorza, the then mayor of Donostia, accepted a proposal from the Council and approved an incinerator to be built in Zubieta. This new project was processed with great urgency, diverting attention from other possible solutions (reuse, recycling, reduction of waste at source, etc.) and focusing on a calendar created by those who would build the incinerator.

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Basic Data
NameIncinerator in Zubieta, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Incinerators
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details261.000 tonnes of waste/year (from a total of 538,000 tonnes of waste/year) would be incinerated.

The new incinerator will be able to burn 19.6 tones/hour at more than 1,000 ºC.

Both ovens will be working a mínimum of 8,000 horas/year.

Ashes and recovered salt will be 3,5% of disposal waste.

58,700 tonnes/year of aged slag will be produced to use in civil construction Works.

9,300 tonnes/year of ashes will be brought to a controlled dump.

187,500 m3 of fuel gasses will be emitted per hour.

there will be 53 jobs and 5 working shifts.

Expected income from electricity production: 8,600,000 euros /year Expected income from slag production: 199,000 euros/year.
Project Area (in hectares)7.8
Level of Investment (in USD)252,845,107
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population10,000
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesFomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) from Spain
Serbitzu Elkartea, Altuna y Uria from Spain
AE&E Inova from Switzerland
Relevant government actorsBasque regional government, San Sebastian Town Council, Consorcio de Residuos de Gipuzkoa
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGuipuzkoa sin incineradora, Coordinadora de Plataformas contra la Incineración, Ekologistak Martxan, EH Bildu, Greenpeace, GAIA
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Development of Alternatives- Reducing, recycling as much as possible and door to door collection of municipal solid waste.

- Design waste policies to go towards zero waste.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The incinerator project was temporarily cancelled and a door to door domestic waste collecting system has been developed in many surrounding towns.

However, in May 2017 the works were resumed and the plant is currently under construction. It should become operational by 2019.
Sources and Materials

Ley 22/2011, de 28 de julio, de residuos y suelos contaminados:
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Ley 5/2013, de 11 de junio, por la que se modifican la Ley 16/2002, de 1 de julio, de prevención y control integrados de la contaminación y la Ley 22/2011, de 28 de julio, de residuos y suelos contaminados:
[click to view]

LEY 3/1998, de 27 de febrero, general de protección del medio ambiente del País Vasco:
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Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants:
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DIRECTIVA 2008/98/CE DEL PARLAMENTO EUROPEO Y DEL CONSEJO de 19 de noviembre de 2008 sobre los residuos y por la que se derogan determinadas Directivas:
[click to view]


Web: Guipuzcoa sin incineradora:
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Newspaper article. Etxebarria, A. (14/11/2013). La incineradora es historia tras el acuerdo firmado con las empresas. Gara:
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Newspaper article. Orbazábal, M. (17/2/2008). La incineradora de Zubieta, en detalle. El Pais:
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[1] Arrancan oficialmente las obras de la incineradora de Zubieta


[click to view]

Media Links

Youtube clip: ‘Game over. the story of the incinerator of Zubieta’
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Youtube clip: El juego ha terminado. La historia de la incineradora de Zubieta:
[click to view]

Youtube clip: ‘Dancing for clean air’ flsh-mob:
[click to view]

Other Documents

Numerosas personas han participado en la protesta contra la construcción de la incineradora. Foto: EFE
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update14/11/2017