Making the shift from single-use to re-use: The introduction of the BYOC

The Ministry for the Environment, Energy, and Regeneration of the Grand Harbour has introduced a new initiative called "Bring Your Own Container" (BYOC).

The "Bring Your Own Container" (BYOC) initiative is a circular economy effort launched by Circular Economy Malta (CEMalta) within the Ministry for the Environment, Energy, and Regeneration of the Grand Harbour.

The initiative aims to reduce single-use plastic and waste by promoting the use of personal containers for refilling and reusing. BYOC encourages customers to bring their own containers to various retail and catering locations, minimising the reliance on disposable items.

This initiative incentivises consumers to use reusable containers when purchasing from local establishments. It covers a wide range of products, including takeout meals, beverages, bulk groceries, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, and pet food. Participants can use travel mugs, food containers, jars, and other reusable items to avoid disposable packaging. In return, they receive rewards such as discounts, loyalty points, and other financial incentives from participating businesses.

Businesses that join the BYOC initiative benefit from recognition, including a Recognition Mark to display at their locations, inclusion on a CEMalta webpage with a map of participating entities, and guidelines for managing the campaign and educating eco-conscious consumers. This encourages the adoption of eco-friendly practices across the community.

Small individual actions, like participating in BYOC, can lead to significant policy changes and foster a cultural shift towards sustainable consumer habits. The environmental benefits of the BYOC initiative include reducing single-use packaging waste, promoting responsible consumption, and fostering a culture of environmental awareness.

A 2023 survey by the National Statistics Office revealed that 62% of respondents actively avoid plastic packaging, and 63% prefer reusable containers when shopping. These promising statistics have fueled the implementation of the BYOC initiative, a collaborative effort involving businesses, consumers, and government support.

CEMalta emphasises the importance of reusing and refilling containers as the most sustainable option, surpassing reliance on recycling or manufacturing single-use plastics. The BYOC initiative offers practical steps for reducing waste in everyday life, allowing consumers to shop with reusable containers and thereby change their habits. The goal is to gradually instil a culture embracing circular economy principles, complementing other environmental initiatives and recycling schemes.

To date, over 235 establishments have registered with BYOC. A list of these establishments is available on CEMalta’s website at, helping customers easily find places where they can use their reusable containers and receive financial incentives. Participating establishments display the BYOC recognition mark, making them easily identifiable to eco-conscious consumers.