Environment Minister Jose Herrera claimed that he was unaware of who the private sector would choose to provide reverse vending machines. When replying to questions by Newsbook.com.mt, Herrera stressed that the private sector would be investing some €10 million in the Beverage Container Refund Scheme. Asked if the provider of the reverse vending machines was already set, Herrera replied that now everything would fall into place since the memorandum of understanding was signed and tenders will be issued. Herrera remarked that given it was a private investment, and that he was of the opinion that the government should not interfere on who would be chosen to provide the reverse vending machines.
Herrera stressed that the Ministry’s role would be to regulate through the newly set up agency, the Resource, Recovery and Recycling Agency (RRRA) which is chaired by Inġ. Mark Muscat. He explained that as a Ministry they could lay out the conditions such as the amount of bottles it could take.
When asked who would be operating the scheme, Herrera replied the private sector and mentioned the GRTU, the Chamber of Commerce, and big players such as Farsons and General Soft Drinks.
‘I haven’t heard of Malcolm Scerri’
Media reports earlier this year had said that Malcolm Scerri, the business partner of the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri was eyeing the plastic bottle return system. His company, Acumen Projects Ltd, was Malta’s representative of Tomra, a Norwegian multinational recycling solutions corporation. The Environment Ministry had categorically denied the reports as “unfounded allegations” and said that the report aimed to prejudice the environmental initiative.
Herrera told Times of Malta that he had not heard of Scerri in any relation to the project on which a memorandum of understanding was signed on Wednesday.