The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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TMID Editorial: Recycling and the waste collection issue

Friday, 24 November 2023, 10:27 Last update: about 8 months ago

The importance of recycling cannot be stressed enough.

Dumping plastic rather than recycling it has extremely damaging effects on the environment. The move to eliminate certain single use plastics on the island was also welcome. We had all read stories about wildlife and sea life getting caught in such plastic and either dying or having to be rescued.

The amount of litter plastic creates on beaches and in public spaces was also an issue, and is still an issue today, as can be seen from the cleanup sessions that are organised around the country.


Just this week, it was announced that BCRS Malta Ltd, the licensed operator of the national Beverage Container Refund Scheme, celebrated one year of the scheme. It said that, in total, 204 million beverage containers were collected.

“In its debut year of operation since November 2022, BCRS Malta collected 79% of the single-use beverage containers in circulation. The collected containers have been forwarded to an approved operator for effective recycling, achieving a 72% recycling rate,” a company statement read.

Fantastic news indeed, but we can and should do better.

The scheme had its problems at the beginning and, speaking frankly, there are still problems today. But nobody could question just how good for the environment such a scheme is.

Something that needs improvement, for instance, is the scanning process, another point to raise is the need to ensure that the machines are emptied more frequently as sometimes one still finds the machines full.

We also need more machines around the islands and in more locations, to ensure people don’t have to travel far.

But overall, the scheme has proved to be successful.

When talking about recycling, however, one must also mention waste collection in Malta.

It is disgraceful to have to walk down the road in the middle of the day and find garbage lying about. In a number of localities, this has amplified the rat problems. Better pickup times are needed to ensure that this problem comes to an end. Despite various campaigns by the authorities to instil discipline and knowledge about collection times and separation of waste, there are still unfortunately several occasions where the wrong bags are taken out. This has been highlighted as being a problem when it comes to short-let apartments for instance.

Changing the collection schedule across the board, not taking locality size among other things into consideration, was also a mistake. If more days are required for a particular kind of waste bag to be collected in a particular locality for instance, then that should take place.

There are some serious waste collection problems on the island, and while fines are a deterrent to taking out the wrong bag on the wrong day, it’s not working well enough.

Moving forward, when it comes to plans for future apartment buildings, the authorities should consider introducing regulations that would require the construction of a room where waste could be disposed of in separate containers. That could be part of the long-term solution.

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