Last Updated on Saturday, 10 June, 2023 at 9:07 am by Andre Camilleri
Significant increase in recycling obtained but much more effort required
Malta is committed to continue implementing its waste management plan for 2021-2030 at a fast pace, as measures being put in place are already yielding positive results.
In reaction to a report based on pre-2020 data published on Thursday by the European Commission on waste management performance of member states, the Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise explained how, although Malta still needs to register a massive shift in waste management, in the last two years it registered significant improvements across the entire waste management spectrum, which change is encouraging towards reaching its long-term goals.
“The government acknowledges the Commission’s report and precisely for this reason it committed half a billion euro to set up the greatly needed waste management infrastructure and also introduced significant policy changes to stimulate the drastic behavioural change that is required,” the Ministry said.
The introduction of mandatory waste separation, regionalisation, and educational campaigns have already resulted in extremely good results over the last months, and are paving the way towards the fulfilment of the ECOHIVE strategy.
For instance, just as of January 2023, a consistent 25% increase in separately collected organic waste was registered. This also follows the record-breaking outputs registered by WasteServ in 2021 and 2022 with over 19,000 tonnes of recyclables exported annually. Such record results yielded significant percentage increases on the data years used by the Commission in its report.
|Waste Stream||% Increase 2021 over 2020|
Figure 1 – % increase in quantities of recyclables collected and put on the market by WasteServ (2021 over 2020).
The above positive trends continued to be sustained with the introduction of the deposit refund scheme which yielded around 84 million beverage containers, with preliminary reporting by the scheme indicating a collection rate of over 70%. Such data will also contribute to further increases in Malta’s overall performance.
The opening of the Reuse Centres by WasteServ across Malta and Gozo last year also resulted in positive figures, whereby around 10,000 items were diverted away from landfill and given a new lease of life in less than a year.
“The government’s work remains incessant as it continues to roll out initiatives, awareness-raising campaigns, incentives and enforcement to ensure waste separation at source for the achievement of the country’s targets,” the Environment Ministry said.
According to the report published by the European Commission, based on 2020 data, Malta is one of 18 member states at risk of missing the 2025 targets. Moreover, to meet the 2035 landfilling target of just 10%, an astounding effort is required. The Waste to Energy facility will be diverting 192,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill, whereas the new organic processing plant will turn a further 74,000 tonnes into agriculture grade compost. However, infrastructure alone will not be sufficient to meet these targets, and the general public and Malta’s commercial sector at large have a very important role to play to drive the significant culture change that is required in how waste is managed.