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Facing the challenge of Malta’s waste

Organic waste can be converted into clean energy, recyclable material can be exported as raw material to manufacture new pro­ducts, and electronic and electrical equipment have many precious metals which can be recovered if disposed of properly.Organic waste can be converted into clean energy, recyclable material can be exported as raw material to manufacture new pro­ducts, and electronic and electrical equipment have many precious metals which can be recovered if disposed of properly.

Malta generates one of the highest levels of waste per capita in the European Union. A Eurostat report published last March showed that a shocking 600 kilos of waste was generated by each person in Malta in 2014. This makes Malta the sixth largest producer of waste per person in the EU.

Waste is one of the major challenges that Malta faces today and its small size alone makes the immediate need to reduce waste even more acute. With land availability finite and a high population density, Malta’s challenge and responsibility is to manage waste properly. By the year 2020 these are a few of the challenges that Malta needs to achieve the following targets:

• Recycle 50 per cent of paper, plastics, metal and glass waste from households;

• Divert 65 per cent of biodegradable municipal waste from landfills towards recycling and recovery;

• Collect up to 65 per cent of the average weight of electronic and electrical equipment placed on the national markets with a view towards recycling and recovery;

• Increase the collection of batteries to 45 per cent of the number that are placed on the market and ensure achievement of recycling efficiencies.

The main aim behind the national campaign Don’t Waste Waste (Taħlix l-Iskart) is to highlight this and raise awareness about the need for waste reduction and good management practices. The campaign also strives to highlight how waste is a valuable resource.

Organic waste can be converted into clean energy, recyclable material can be exported as raw material to manufacture new products, and electronic and electrical equipment have many a precious metals which can be recovered if disposed of properly.

Malta’s infrastructure and services make it easy for people to manage their waste. In all localities there is at least a weekly collection service for recyclable items, including plastic, paper, cartons and metal, which should be placed in the appropriate green/grey bags for collection, sorting, baling and export.  Not doing so and placing them in black bags means they will be landfilled, consuming precious space and increasing pressure for a new landfill to be created.

Civic amenity sites are open seven days a week for householders to dispose various items free of charge such as electrical and electronic equipment, white goods and hazardous household items such as spent paints and thinners, expired medicines and syringes as well as light bulbs.

Residents in nine localities in Malta and all of Gozo are currently also separating their organic waste, which is collected up to three times a week.  With an eventual national rollout, such waste will be diverted away from the landfill and the country’s waste processing plants at Marsascala and Għallis will be able to operate more efficiently, generate more renewable energy and divert.

The least that people can do is to commit to managing their own waste properly. Everyone’s help and collaboration is essential.  If everyone does their bit this will reduce the need for new landfills and contribute to a better environment for all to enjoy.

www.dontwastewaste.gov.mt

This article was prepared by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Don’t Waste Waste Campaign.

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