Long-term waste-management plan: 10 key courses of action for the next 10 years

Last Updated on Saturday, 5 December, 2020 at 4:44 pm by Andre Camilleri

Malta’s long-term waste management plan will be up for public consultation to support the government’s vision to transform our country into an EU top performer in the waste management sector.

This was announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia who explained that the main objective for the waste management plan 2021-2030 is to maximise the resource value for waste through holistic waste management solutions and adopting a collaborative approach whilst fostering behavioural change. This would also lead to Malta achieving its ambitious 2030 targets.

“These measures will ensure that Malta makes the much-needed quantum leap in waste management, that includes activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal”, the minister added.

The proposed plan is based on the following ten key courses of action, with measures, amongst others including:

  1. Moving towards a circular economy: Fiscal incentives to promote repair and reuse activities; building of a repair and reuse centre; incentive use of recycled material.
  2. Waste prevention: Online swap shops; digital app to publicise best practices and real-time information.
  3. Waste separation: Mandatory separation for everyone including commercial outlets; introduction of new bag for separate collection of paper. 
  4. Waste collection: A move towards a regional approach which will lead to economies of scale; modernisation of fleet; introduction of a national schedule to harmonise collection.
  5. Waste treatment infrastructure: ECOHIVE – state of the art plants to drastically decrease reliance on landfilling.
  6. Extended producer responsibility: Exploring new EPR systems for disposing oils, tyres and textiles amongst others.
  7. Commercial waste: Provision of additional free collections of organic waste; introduction of an eco-label for commercial outlets.
  8. Educational campaigns, monitoring and compliance: Recruitment of green champions; increase enforcement to lessen abuses; publicly disclose non-compliant offenders by Government authorities.
  9. Data management, research and development: Introducing advanced digital systems and artificial intelligence applications in solid waste management.
  10. Stakeholder engagement: Working hand in hand with residents, local councils and regional government, the commercial sector, the industry and relevant government authorities.

“We need to recognise the situation in the waste sector. The call for sophisticated and innovative waste management has never been higher as Malta’s population will continue to grow. There is no room for delaying the necessary reforms required to make Malta approach the achievement of its targets. Without heavily challenging the status quo, Malta would be in a precarious position in achieving its 2030 waste targets. There is a cost of inaction from both an economic and environmental perspective, and the amount of land which has been lost to landfilling is an indelible marker of the extent of these costs: the current state of affairs will lead to the inevitable take-up of land for landfilling”, the minister explained. 

He said that this plan will work hand-in-hand with recent reforms in the waste management sector, including the largest ever investment in state-of-the-art facilities in ECOHIVE, to drive the country towards a circular economy with all waste streams being reutilised to their full potential, and move Malta away from over-reliance on landfilling, once and for all. 

“Circular economy is the future, and whilst acknowledging that implementing advanced waste management systems requires more investment than the traditional approach to dealing with waste, this plan will provide a business opportunity for companies to lead the way in this growing sector in the world economy”. 

The document will be available for public consultation on 14th December 2020, on the Ministry website.

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