Importation of plastic bags, straws, cotton buds banned from 1 January

Single-use plastic products such as cutlery, straws, cotton buds and plates can no longer be imported into the country starting 1 January, their sale will be banned in 2022

Single-use plastic is the cause of untold pollution on land and sea
Single-use plastic is the cause of untold pollution on land and sea

Single-use plastics will no longer be imported into the country, following a legal notice published on Wednesday.

Malta will be amongst the first countries to ban certain single-use plastic products in the European Union, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said.

The ban will apply to products such as plastic bags, cutlery, straws, plates, cotton buds, food containers, and stirrers.

The sale and distribution of these products will then be legally prohibited as from 2022.

Farrugia said the measure formed part of government's drive to put the environment high on its agenda.

"It is high time that we give answers to our children who ask about all the litter on our beaches, who see photos of washed-up seagulls with stomachs full of plastic products, and injured turtles caught up in plastic bags. We will continue to work to decrease pollution, launch our climate change strategy, improve our health and that of our ecosystems, with tangible results," he said.

He said the new year will be a transitory one for the single-use plastic products already on the market and, as from 2022,  the sale and distribution of these items will also be legally prohibited.

"We are doing this with determination, as families in Malta want the environment at the top of the government’s agenda post-COVID. At the same time, the process is fully transparent in order to provide certainty to industry," Farrugia said.