Malta launches deposit return scheme in a bid to increase recycling

MALTA – Malta has launched a deposit return scheme in the country with an aim of increasing the recycling rate and creating awareness around packaging sustainability.

Malta follows the other 12 European countries that have introduced DRS as a tool to significantly reduce littering and increase the collection and recycling rates of single-use beverage containers.

The DRS in Malta is operated by BCRS Malta Ltd., which is the licensed not-for-profit private operator of the national Beverage Container Refund Scheme.

The organization was incorporated by associations of beverage container producers, importers and retailers to assume the collective extended producer responsibility on their behalf.

Sensoneo’s DRS system works as a backbone of the system by integrating all stakeholders and gathering data from all sources within the process chain.

Bringing the DRS to Malta has been considerably influenced by the strong tourism in the country.

Although the population of the island country is only about 517 000, in the summer season tourists often outnumber locals.

This reason, among others, led Malta to involve the hotel, restaurant and catering industry (HoReCa) and also to implement public recycling hubs.

Edward Chetcuti, CEO of BCRS Malta Ltd. explains: “A deposit of €0.10 is added when buying beverages in single-use containers within the DRS scope.

“The scheme covers aluminum and steel cans, glass and PET bottles with a capacity between 0.1 and 3 liters. Dairy, juices, wine and alcoholic spirits exceeding 5.0 % alcohol by volume are not included in the scheme.”

The system will help increase the recycling rate of the Mediterranean country. According to statistics published by Eurostat, Malta has the lowest plastic packaging recycling rate in the EU.

According to most recent statistics, only 19.2% of plastic packaging was recycled in Malta in 2020, less than half the rate of the European median, which averaged at 41.5%.

In seven EU states, more than half of the plastic packaging waste generated was recycled, the highest being Lithuania, which recycled 69.3% of its plastic waste, followed by Slovenia, Bulgaria, Czechia, Cyprus, Slovakia and Spain.

On the lower end of the ranking, Malta is followed by France and Hungary, which only recycled 26% and 30% of plastic packaging respectively.

The newly launched DRS coupled with the ban on importation of single-use plastic in 2021, the country stands a chance to achieving the set of 90% by 20-26.

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