Budget reaffirms commitment for waste incineration

Landfills and the export of waste are not viable options to dispose of un-recycled waste

Malta has a long way to go to recycling 50% of municipal waste as required by EU targets by 2020
Malta has a long way to go to recycling 50% of municipal waste as required by EU targets by 2020

The take-up of more land for landfills and the export of waste are not viable options to dispose of waste which is not recycled and in view of this the government has made a “clear choice” for a technology which transforms waste into energy.

The Budget speech claims that this reality was already understood in the waste management plan approved in 2014, which included no commitment for incineration.

But even with incineration taking 40% of Malta’s waste 2020 Malta has a long way to go to recycling 50% of municipal waste as required by EU targets. Malta currently recycles less than 15% of its waste.

The Budget describes waste separation, which is essential for any waste management strategy, as a “moral, civic and legal duty”.

But while the government has already hinted at fines against those who do not separate their waste, the Budget, which is devoid of any fiscal pain, makes no reference to this. Significantly the Budget refers to a new proposal, which will be drafted over the next year to regulate “commercial waste”, but no indication is given on the measures being contemplated.

The most significant measure contemplated in waste management is “a deposit system” for plastic beverages, which was first announced in last year’s Budget and was a subject of public consultation in subsequent months.

The Budget promises more “discussions” which should lead to “an agreement with a consortium of operators and importers”.

The first reference to such a scheme was made in the Budget presented in November 2014. Back then the minister had referred to a financial incentive for consumers “to return plastic bottles and containers in deposits located in supermarkets and petrol stations.”

The Budget also includes plans for the rebuilding of a new Material Recovery Facility instead of the one which burned down in 2017. This will include a “multi-material recovery facility” aimed at recycling more waste.

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