Recycling is to become compulsory for companies and discarded paper and cardboard will eventually be disposed of separately, according to the waste management vision presented in a 10-year strategy announced on Saturday. 

The strategy, which will be published on December 14 and opened to public consulation, stretches to 2030 and is based on 10 key pillars which range from waste reduction to separation and collection. 

Key among its provisions is a stipulation that recycling be made compulsory for all, including companies. Businesses have so far been exempt from recycling laws introduced in 2018. 

Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said that law-breakers would be fined, though he declined to offer an indication of how high fines would be set. 

“Let’s wait to see what emerges from the public consultation period,” he said.

Minister Aaron Farrugia speaks. Video: Giulia Magri

Farrugia said that at the beginning the government will be collecting organic waste for commercial entities in touristic areas, such as restaurants and eventually such entities will have to separate the waste accordingly.

Through such holistic waste management solutions and fostering behavioural change, the waste management plan is set for Malta to achieve its 2030 waste targets. 

Other key proposals included in the strategy are: 

• Introducing a new waste stream for discarded paper and cardboard. Currently, these are part of a mixed recyclables waste stream.

Grouping waste collection services into regions and introducing a nationalised schedule for waste collection 

• Increasing collection of organic waste for the commercial sector 

• Introducing an eco-label to promote commercial outlets which use best practices in waste management 
 
• Fiscal incentives to repair and reuse items and to use recycled material

• Creating online swap shops to make it easier for people to exchange items rather than discard them 

• Building the ECOHIVE waste management plants planned for Magħtab 

• Finding new ways of disposing of oils, tyres and other problematic waste 

Naming and shaming waste abusers 

• Increasing enforcement and education efforts

• Introduce AI-powered data management systems for solid waste 

“These measures will ensure that Malta makes the much-needed quantum leap in waste management, that includes activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal,” Farrugia said.

According to EU-established targets, Malta must recycle 65 per cent of municipal waste and 75 per cent of packaging waste by 2030 and cut landfilled waste to just 10 per cent.

Malta remains a laggard with very high levels of waste going straight to landfill and one of the EU's highest levels of waste generated per capita. 

Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia announces the strategy on Saturday. Photo: Environment MinistryEnvironment Minister Aaron Farrugia announces the strategy on Saturday. Photo: Environment Ministry

Farrugia acknowledged the need for change. 

"There needs to be behavioural change, and that does not come about just from educational campaigns, but now we believe change must be done mandatory, such as the collection of recycling, as such a change will improve the quality of life of our country," he said. 

The consultation period will begin on December 14 and will run for six weeks. The strategy document will be published on the Environment Ministry's website. 

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