Landfill waste falls as recycling picks up

The Magħtab landfill. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The Magħtab landfill. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The amount of waste disposed in landfills has fallen considerably over the last 10 years, dropping by an average of 3.7 per cent every year.

Figures issued by the National Statistics Office revealed that disposal in landfills between 2004 and 2010 accounted for 88.5 per cent of the recyclable waste managed in Malta.

The largest amount of waste dumped in the landfill was recorded in 2008, coinciding with the smallest amount managed at the Sant’Antnin waste treatment plant because of refurbishment works undertaken there.

The NSO said that, although the total amount of waste disposed in landfills fluctuated over the years, the decrease became more notable since 2009, with the largest drop of nearly 18 per cent recorded in 2010.

This, according to the NSO, was due to greater waste intakes at the Sant’Antnin plant in Marsascala and the start of a process in 2010 where waste started being diverted from landfilling to recovery.

During 2010, almost 50,000 tonnes were treated at the Sant’Antnin plant and the Għallis landfill separation area.

In 2010, treated recyclable waste increased considerably, attributable to the opening of the mechanical treatment plant at Sant’Antnin. This equipment separates mixed municipal waste into recyclable and compostable fractions.

Between 2004 and 2010, 89.5 per cent of all non-hazardous mineral waste managed in Malta was treated in quarry sites.

The Marsa incineration plant caters mostly for animal tissue waste originating from the slaughter of animals for consumption. In 2010, 81.4 per cent of all waste treated at the Marsa plant originated from such sources. This plant also incinerated certain hazardous waste types, amounting to 364 tonnes in 2010.

The biggest amount of waste collected from bring-in sites, civic amenity sites and the grey bag collection scheme was recorded in 2010. Of these three, the most notable annual increase – 44.4 per cent – was recorded for the grey bag collection scheme.


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