Climate change has pushed our unsustainable practices to the limit and it is about time that our island takes the necessary steps to try and save this planet. It comes as no surprise that plenty of initiatives are being introduced all around Europe in order to comply with the 2030 Climate Target Plan that was proposed by the European Commission a few months ago.
Therefore, Malta has had to strive to fulfil this objective, particularly when it comes to the use of plastic, especially after statistics published late in 2021 by Eurostat found that just 11% of plastic packaging was recycled in the country, the lowest out of the whole European Union.
As a result, Malta became one of the first countries to completely ban the sale of single-use plastic (SUP) products in 2021.
This was part of the SUP strategy and Waste Management Plan, that started in 2021 and will be finalised in 2030.
The first phase of this strategy, which started in January 2021, saw a ban on the importation and production of several single-use plastic products, like plastic plates, cutlery, straws and food containers.
Following this, the government proceeded with the second phase of the strategy, starting in January 2022, which sees a complete prohibition on the sale and distribution of such items.
This follows several other initiatives that the Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia and the rest of the government are formulating in order to tackle the steady rise in waste generated in the country, especially when it comes to the management of plastic waste.
Additionally, Farrugia announced in 2020 that 350 reverse vending machines will be stationed around Malta and Gozo, allowing people to return used plastic drink containers in exchange for €0.10 per bottle.
Farrugia had claimed that the main aim was for 85 % of the plastic bottles used in Malta to be recycled by 2026.
This initiative, named the Beverage Container Refund Scheme (BCRS), is set to launch in April 2022, after the BCRS signed an agreement with Envipco in November 2021 for the supply, installation and servicing of the reverse vending machines.
With the management of waste constantly being at the forefront of national debates, these two initiatives could be two massive steps towards Malta hitting the 2030 targets.
What should be done to make our way of living even more sustainable?
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