Successful organic waste collection increases eight-fold

Malta has collected 8,888 tonnes of organic waste between the end of October and the end of February, up from just 959 tonnes in the same period in the previous year, an increase of 827%

Statistics show that since the introduction of the organic waste collection, the collection of other waste streams has also increased dramatically
Statistics show that since the introduction of the organic waste collection, the collection of other waste streams has also increased dramatically

The introduction of the organic bag collection has spurred an increase in separate collections of glass and grey bag collections. But the volume of organic waste is still insufficient for the production of compost which can be used by the general public.

Malta has collected 8,888 tonnes of organic waste between the end of October and the end of February, up from just 959 tonnes in the same period in the previous year, an increase of 827%.

Moreover, statistics also show that since the introduction of the organic waste collection, the collection of other waste streams has also increased dramatically.

For example, the amount of collected glass has increased by 80% from 517 tonnes to 932 tonnes in the same time-frame. The amount of recyclable waste collected in the grey bag has also increased by 41%. On the other hand the amount of mixed waste thrown in black bags has been reduced by 11,200 tonnes, a decrease of 25%.

But the increase in collected organic waste is still not enough to generate compost, which can be used by households.

When asked whether this possibility is being considered, a spokesperson for the national waste agency Wastserv said that although the response from the general public was positive and encouraging, at the moment certain volumes have not yet been reached.

“The required volumes to ensure that Wastserv facilities only process organic material collected through the organic bag collection still have to be reached.

It is only when such levels are achieved, that WasteServ will be in a better position to test the material for contaminants.

“Once there is the level of assurance that the material is free from contaminants then one will be able to look at other different solutions”.

But while organic waste is not being used to produce compost WasteServ is still treating the organic material for harmful gases and also recovers energy in due course.

Apart from the creation of a byproduct in the form of energy, treating the organic material means that harmful gases are treated and contained in a way which ensures that these are not being released into our environment.

“These gases are detrimental to the general environment, apart from the fact that through such a process one is able to generate energy”.

The digestate i.e. the residue left after gases are treated and recovered as energy is also being presently used as a landfill cover i.e. the layer of compressed earth which is laid on top of a day’s deposition of waste in the engineered landfill in Maghtab.

Moreover, the separate collection of different waste streams is also considered crucial for effective waste management.

“While waste reduction is always promoted as the ideal scenario, waste generated still needs to be treated in some form of process or another, hence in real terms the more waste is separated at source, the less the risk of contamination. This will enable us to be able to recycle more material”.

For Wasteserv the organic bag collection is also essential to bring about what is considered as the most critical element in any waste policy: “changing the mentality”.

“In order for us as a nation to improve our waste management we need to collectively work towards the segregation of the different waste streams”.

Waste collected in tonnes

Malta & Gozo (Tonnes) 31/10/2017- 28/02/2018 31/10/2018/ - 28/02/2019 Difference Percentage Change
Black Bags 44,275 33,055 -11,220 -25%
White Bags 959 8,888 7,929 827%
Glass Collection 517 932 415 80%
GreyGreen Bags 6,684 9,404 2,720 41%

 

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