The Malta Independent 23 January 2021, Saturday

Environment Minister announces Malta’s long-term waste management plan for next 10 years

Shona Berger Saturday, 5 December 2020, 12:08 Last update: about 3 months ago

Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia announced a long-term waste management plan for the next 10 years for Malta. including 10 key courses of action.

Minister Farrugia said that this plan will be up for public consulation and described it as an ambitious one to take the country to a new era.  This will also help Malta reach that quantum leap that is very much needed, giving a clear vision and certainty to the private industry.

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He explained that the main objective for the waste management plan 2021-2030 is to maximise the resource value for waste through holistic management solutions, and adopt a colloborative approach whilst fostering behavioural change.

This would also lead to Malta achieving its ambitious 2030 targets, Farrugia added.

We must ensure that we reach out national goal by improving our performance and eventually move towards being among the best EU top performer when it comes to the waste management sector, he said.

The 10-year plan is based on the following 10 key courses of action including a number of measures and incentives which will help the country move forward: 

Moving towards a circular economy 

First and foremost, the country must move towards a circuluar economy. For the first time in Malta, the country will be developing new centres for the repair and reuse of products.

Circular economy is the future for this country, and whilst acknowleding 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, he said.

Farrugia added that the use of recycled materials will also be incentivized and that clear measures are put in place for a person to use recycled material, other than new material. 

Waste Prevention 

The second point involves waste prevention. Farrugia explained that for the first time, Malta will have online swap shops which will help people exchange items that they do not need, for other materials that one needs.

In addition, digital apps will also be developed which will publicize best practices and real time information of how and what waste will be collected.

He added that food waste is also something that is being considered as it is very important for a country, and this will be done by facilitating food distrubition that is close to expiry date. 

Waste Separation 

Waste separation is the third point that Minister Farrugia highlighted. This will include the introduction of mandatory waste separation for everyone including all households and commercial outlets. 

A new bag for separate collection of paper will also be introduced, he said. 

Waste Collection 

With regards to waste collection, Farrugia explained that this will involve moving away from a local approach and more towards a regional approach as it will lead to economies of scale, modernisation of fleet and the introduction of a national schedule to harmonise collection. 

Waste Treatment Infrastructure   

Farrugia explained that this particular key action will work hand-in-hand with recent reforms in the waste management, including the largest ever investement in state-of-the art facilities in ECOHIVE.

This will be done to move Malta away from over-reliance on landfilling, once and for all, and drive the country towards a circular economy with all waste streams being re-utilised to their full potential. 

Extended Producer Responsability 

Another incentive includes exploring new EPR systems for disposing oils, tyres and textiles amongst others. 

Commercial Waste 

Moving on the the final points, Farrugia explained that this key action will include provision of additional free collections of organic waste as well as the introduction of an eco-label for commercial outlets. 

Educational campaigns, monitoring and compliance 

This will involve the recruitment of green champions as well as the increase of enforcement to lessen abuses.

Minister Farrugia remarked that the country needs to experience a behavioural change from all citizens in order to move forward. Although educational campaigns are important, they are not enough. 

Data management, research and development 

Minister Farrugia remarked that this will include the introduction of advanced digital systems and artifical intelligence applications in solid waste maagement. 

Stakeholder engagement 

The final key action within the 10-year plan involves stakeholder engagement. 

Farrugia explained that this will involve working hand in hand with residents, local councils and regional government, the commercial sector, the industry and relevant government authorities.

Farrugia emphasised that ‘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.’

He added that 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.

This document will be available for public consultation on 14 December 2020, on the Ministry’s website. Consultation will remain open until 18 January.

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