More Maltese families are recycling their municipal waste, NSO data shows

Green and grey bag collection form households increased by 14.7% between 2015 and 2016

While more are recycling their waste from home, less people are using the public bring-in sites
While more are recycling their waste from home, less people are using the public bring-in sites

The use of the grey bag for recycling has increased by almost 15% over 2015, and black bag mixed waste has now gone down by 5.8%.

The figures, issued by the National Statistics Office, are a sign of growing recycling habits by Maltese families.

Almost all of Malta’s treated waste was landfilled in 2016, namely 92.2 per cent of the 249,711 tonnes of municipal waste that was treated.

In total municipal waste amounted to 282,709 tonnes, up by 13,049 tonnes over 2015. On a per capita basis, this amounted to 642 kilograms, which is 3.4 per cent higher when compared to 2015.

Mixed municipal waste comprised 62.8 per cent (177,464 tonnes) of the total municipal waste generation in 2016, decreasing by 2.9 per cent over the previous year.

Bulky waste, which is also another mixed waste stream, made up 15.4 per cent (43,653 tonnes) of the total waste generation, an increase of 35.6 per cent over 2015.

The data breakdown by waste origin shows that the black bag collection from local councils constituted 48.3 per cent (136,619 tonnes) of the total municipal waste generation in 2016.

The equivalent figure for the green/grey bag and glass collection from households was 6.1 per cent (17,113 tonnes). In comparison to 2015, the black bag collection from local councils decreased by 5.8 per cent whilst the green/grey bag and glass collection increased by 14.7 per cent.

But for the third year in a row, municipal waste that was disposed in bring-in sites has seen a decrease which in 2016 amounted to 4.7 per cent.

Municipal waste treatment

In 2016, the total amount of municipal waste that was landfilled went down by 10,603 tonnes when compared to 2015. The share of landfilling from the total municipal waste treated stood at 92.2 per cent, down from the 92.8 per cent that was recorded in 2015. In 2016, a shift in the composition of waste that was disposed at the landfill occurred due to the commencement of operations at the Malta North Mechanical-Biological Treatment plant.

The share of mixed municipal waste decreased from 59.0 per cent in 2015 to 36.3 per cent in 2016, while rejects from the mechanical treatment of waste increased from 16.2 per cent to 30.3 per cent.

During the year under review, the share of material recycling advanced from 6.9 per cent to 7.6 per cent. At 56.0 per cent (10,555 tonnes) paper and cardboard made up the bulk of recycled amounts, followed by metals standing at 16.0 per cent (3,022 tonnes).

In 2016 there was a threefold increase in the difference between municipal waste generation and treatment mainly resulting from the increase in sorted material that was held in storage prior to being exported for final treatment.

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