Within the next four years Malta aims to recover 90% of the plastic bottles put into the market through the reverse vending machines. The scheme would start operating within the next year. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated that while at present one in every four plastic bottles was retrieved, the Government is aiming at three in every four bottles, with only one being unaccounted for.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the Resource, Recovery and Recycling Agency and the consortium, Joint Venture signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the Beverage Container Refund Scheme.
Present for the signing, were Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Environment Minister Jose Herrera, the signing took place at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Muscat stressed that over the past years, the problem of waste was not really addressed with long-term measures, describing the measures as “piecemeal” he said these were short-termed. According to Muscat, no one predicted the challenge that waste would present. He also explained that with economic growth and more consumption, more waste is generated. According to the Prime Minister, Malta is running out of space were to deposit this waste.
In his address, Herrera stated that the Government would like to make a difference and would like to set ambitious targets. He stressed that the aim was to change from linear to circular economy and regard waste material as a resource.
Herrera stated that 200 million plastic bottles end up in the valleys, oceans and food chain annually. He then explained that the operator would set up vending machines around Malta and Gozo in which a person could deposit their plastic bottle. Herrera explained that an increase of 10c on each bottle would be refunded every time one makes use of such reverse vending machine.
“Scepticism proved wrong” – Muscat
Regarding the newly launched scheme on the separation of waste, the Prime Minister said that albeit people were doubtful whether the scheme would be a success, he said that according to the figures he received shortly before, the same amount of organic waste collected in 2017 was collected in a period of six weeks since the launch of the scheme.
He said that the only thing left in their strategy was to start using waste to generate energy.