The Malta Independent 25 March 2023, Saturday
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28 complaints received by BCRS regulator

Marc Galdes Sunday, 12 February 2023, 09:30 Last update: about 2 months ago

The regulator for the Beverage Container Recycling Scheme (BCRS), Circular Economy (CE) Malta, has received 28 official complaints regarding the scheme as a whole, with most of these complaints being made by the general public.

CE Malta informed The Malta Independent on Sunday that most of these complaints were received during the initial weeks of the scheme.


“All complaints received are addressed appropriately with the businesses concerned, which are then followed up to ensure conformity and compliance with the relative requirements,” CE Malta added.

With the implementation of the BCRS reverse vending machines, a 10 cent deposit has been introduced on beverage containers, which can only be reclaimed by recycling them at one of the BCRS machines.

Following the initial implementation of the scheme, some consumers took to social media to complain that they have been charged the 10 cent deposit at catering outlets but they were not able to redeem the deposit as the catering outlet kept the beverage container.

Last month the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) told The Malta Independent on Sunday that catering outlets that charge the 10 cent deposit fee but keep beverage containers are in breach of regulations and the 10 cent deposit should only be charged in “take-away situations” or if the consumers take the beverage container with them after dining in.

“CE Malta is noting that economic operators are cooperating to resolve issues identified when they are approached by the agency. It will continue working for ameliorated education among economic operators and consumers.”

It added that the public should report any concerns by calling 2226 8200 or by sending an email to [email protected]

“CE Malta will continue working to inform economic operators about these regulations to make sure that they recognise the importance of such schemes for a more sustainable environment.”

CE Malta would not give more details on the 28 complaints that it received.


The scheme

The BCRS started in November last year.

In a statement when the scheme was launched, it was said that the licensed operator installed 320 Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) across Malta and Gozo. Consumers are able to return empty beverage containers to these reverse vending machines and get back the 10 cent deposit on each container, in the form of vouchers redeemable at retail outlets that sell such beverage containers.

This scheme is aimed to incentivise the public to choose sustainable waste disposal and recycling, while discouraging littering of plastics and other polluting waste on land and at sea. It is also intended to contribute to Malta’s efforts to recover 90% of single-use beverage containers for recycling by 2026.

The refundable deposit of 10 cent is charged on each beverage container falling within the scope of the scheme and made available on the market throughout the entire supply chain. The deposit value is not subject to VAT and is clearly indicated as a separate cost from the price of the beverage on all receipts and invoices.

The scheme will collect and recycle plastic, steel, aluminium or glass beverage containers. These bottles or cans, with a capacity ranging from 0.1 to 3 litres, include:

a)         water and flavoured water,

b)         carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks,

c)         ciders, beers and malt beverages,

d)         ready to drink coffee,

e)         flavoured alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic content level which does not exceed 5%, and

f)         dilutables

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