Birgu could become first zero-waste locality as town’s litter study kicks off

Zero Waste Future programme launched to study waste disposal in Birgu while promoting recycling and strengthening public knowledge

Birgu will try to become a zero waste city
Birgu will try to become a zero waste city

An initiative which aims to turn Birgu into Malta’s first zero-waste city has kicked off with a study of the type of litter the town generates.

The initiative, called the Zero Waste Future programme, has the goal of creating a framework for Zero Waste Cities and Zero Waste Campuses in Malta, and will address the serious issue of land and marine litter through a waste characterisation study.

Such a study focuses on findingout how much waste, such as paper, glass, and food, is discarded in a waste stream.

The programme, which is being led by Cypriot NGO ATKI Project & Research Centre and funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation, will also involve on-the-go recycling, educational campaigns in schools, and the setting up of a mobile zero-waste stall that will engage citizens through an information campaign about the importance of responsible waste disposal and recycling.

The Zero Waste Future programme is being billed as a true "golden triangle" programme, involving and engaging local authorities, environmental NGOs and businesses. 

The ambitious plan of action aims to accelerate the behavioural change required to make the circular economy and recycling part of people's hearts, minds and everyday routines. 

Birgu was identified as Malta’s first potential zero waste city following a preliminary assessment. The Zero Waste Future programme kicked-off in September with an ongoing characterization study of waste generated by Birgu’s households and businesses. 


Birgu commercial establishments not separating waste

The preliminary results of the waste characterisation study – which is the first of its kind in Malta – show that most households in Birgu are separating waste correctly, while on the other hand, most commercial establishments in the same locality are still not separating waste. 

AKTI chairperson Xenia Loizidou said that the NGO was impressed by the rate of recycling in Birgu households.

 “We selected Birgu to do the first waste characterization that was ever done in Malta. As for the results of inspections done in the waste of households we are really impressed,” Loizidou said. 

“The households of Birgu are really recycling well, and we are looking forward to the upcoming waste characterisation will continue to confirm this trend,” she added.

Birgu Mayor John Boxall said he was very satisfied with the waste separation results in his locality. 

However, taking heed of the study’s initial results, Boxall stressed the need for action so that even business owners understand the importance of the civic duty that is waste separation and recycling. Mr Boxall said 

“The notable efforts of households are being counteracted by the lack of similar legislation for businesses. This situation needs to be rectified sooner rather than later,” Boxall highlighted.

Stephen Bonnici from GSD Marketing Ltd., local bottlers of The Coca-Cola Company described the project as another important investment by the Coca-Cola Foundation in Malta. 

“The approach of this project is a holistic one and is composed of a research aspect through the waste characterisation, an intervention aspect through the installation of on-the-go recycling bins and frequent clean-ups, and finally an educational element which will be carried out by Nature Trust in Malta’s primary and secondary schools,” Bonnici said.

The Zero Waste Future programme will also be working towards the establishment of Malta’s first ‘Zero Waste Campus’ through numerous initiatives to reduce waste and increase recycling on the MCAST main campus. 

Besides the ongoing studies in Birgu, the Zero Waste Future programme will be present at Science in the City being held in Valletta on 27 September. Be sure to visit the stand to learn more about how you can contribute to a zero-waste future for the benefit of all present and future generations.

More in Business News