New larger machines will allow people to deposit all their bottles at once

The BCRS larger machines, which will not replace the old ones, allow people to deposit all their containers at once making the process much more efficient

The BCRS reverse vending machines
The BCRS reverse vending machines

BCRS will be installing 10 new machines which will allow consumers to deposit all bottles at once, making the service more convenient.

“These machines will be installed in strategic areas across the country, and will make the process much easier for those looking to participate in the scheme,” Circular Economy Malta CEO Jason Vella said.

The scheme, is a modern-day reincarnation of a similar one that used to exist on re-usable glass bottles up until the early 2000s, and is intended to minimise waste.

Consumers are able to deposit the empty containers in reverse vending machines installed around the island to obtain a refund in the form of a voucher.

Vella was speaking during a media briefing on the country’s waste managment strategy, which was organised by the Ministry for the Enviornment.

Circular Economy Malta CEO Jason Vella
Circular Economy Malta CEO Jason Vella

He said the 10 machines are much larger than the ones currenlty in use – around 5 metres by 12 metres – and will be manned by personell. The machine will allow people to dump all their recycable bottles at once in the machine.

“The start was somewhat challenging, but in collaboration with the company charged with the scheme, we have been able to make large improvments,” he said. “We were and continue to remain vigiliant about the issues facing people.”

One machine has already been installed in Hal-Far, and the remaining nine will be installed by the begining of summer. The new machines will not be replacing existing ones.

Amount of construction waste recycled more than what was dumped – ERA CEO

Speaking during the media briefing, Enviornment and Resource Authority (ERA) CEO Kevin Mercieca said the authority has implemented a number of strategies aimed at streamlining the country’s waste managment.

He said the country was able to successfully implement the successful ban of single-use plastics through legislation and proper enforcement.

ERA CEO Kevin Mercieca
ERA CEO Kevin Mercieca

Mercieca said preliminary figures show that in 2021, the amount of construction waste which was recycled was more than what was dumped in landfills. “We were able to incentivise this shift through a proper educational campaign and enforcement.”

The ERA CEO also stated that in 5,000 inspections carried out by personnel, 700 contraventions were issued.

“We are still concerned that despite the positive figures we have recorded, the illegal dumping of waste has remained the same,” he said.

Gate fees crucial to cultural change – Wasterserv Chief

Daniel Tabone, Chief of Circular Economy at WasteServ said the introduction of gate fees has been crucial to incentivise waste separation.

“The country needs to move towards a more circular economy in order to maximise the potential of waste,” he said.

Daniel Tabone, Chief of Circular Economy at WasteServ
Daniel Tabone, Chief of Circular Economy at WasteServ

Tabone said 8,000 tons of glass, 120 tons of milk cartons, 115 tons of mattresses and 5,000 tons of cardboards were collected by WasteServ.

He also said that 50,000 tons of waste was collected from open skips. An infrastructural investment will look to also start separation of open skips waste.

Waste management a government priority – Miriam Dalli

Addressing the briefing, Environment Minister Miriam Dalli said while previous governments put waste management on the back burner, this administration has made it a priority.

“We have launched a revolution in waste management, shifting policy from landfills and rubbish dumps to using it as a resource,” she said. “We still dump around 80 to 90% of our waste in landfills, and this has to change.”

She spoke about the introduction of mandatory waste separation for residences and businesses by April, with a six-month educational period before fines are issued.

Environment Minister Miriam Dalli
Environment Minister Miriam Dalli

“This will incentivise a cultural shift among people,” she said.

Dalli said a preliminary NSO statistic for the year 2021 shows almost half of residents are using reusable bags for their shipping, rather than single-use plastics. “But we still have to do more.”

The minister said before the pandemic, an average of 683kg of waste was produced by every person living in Malta, and preliminary figures show that in 2022 it was 10% less.

“There is still room for improvement,” Dalli said.