Collection of organic waste will start on Wednesday October 31, and will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Separately organic waste will mean that less waste is sent to our landfill and its processing will yield clean energy which will be used to make a greener energy mix, Wasteserv said.
The intention is to produce compost from this waste which can be given to farmers for use in agriculture.
It is government’s intention to eventually include waste separation as a legal obligation.
“A carefree attitude is no longer sustainable when landfill space is at such a premium and when millions of euros are being invested in the waste management sector,” the company said.
Projections from WasteServ show that 16,000 tons of organic waste will be collected in 2019.
Households can use the organic waste bags for all cooked and raw food including bones, fish and shellfish, bread and pasta, rotten fruit and vegetables, fruit and vegetable peels, tea bags and ground coffee, egg shells, napkins and soiled papers, leaves and flowers.
Environment Minister Jose Herrera said that for the first few months, any breaches of the new regulations would only be punished by warnings rather than fines.
Wasteserv CEO Tonio Montebello pointed out that in order for the Sant Antnin plant to be fully operational, there needed to be a “critical mass” of at least 30,000 to 35,000 of tonnes of waste per year. Consequently, in the beginning some of the waste from the black bags from southern localities will be added to the white bags to boost the volume being collected. Eventually, this practice would be phased out.
While the white bags scheme has been commended from all quarters, concerns have been raised on the enforcement aspect, particularly to trace the owners of bags taken out on the wrong day or containing the wrong waste.
Asked on the matter, Dr Herrera this morning expressed himself optimistic that the majority of residents would be law-abiding citizens who would respect the law.
The minister was rather evasive when asked what measures would be in place to catch offenders red-handed or to identify the owners of bags found with the wrong type of waste.
The Environment Minister was also questioned on the legal aspect of this scheme since a recent legal notice outlining collection times and days, omitted the majority of localities from the white bags collection roster.
Dr Herrera refuted criticism that this was an oversight, saying that by October 31, the law would be amended. However, he was non-committal when asked on certain collection times which clashed with an obligation to take out the waste bag not earlier than four hours before collection.
It transpires that in certain localities, like Dingli collection takes place at 6pm, which would make it impossible for people who are not back home from work by that time to take the bag out.
Asked if this was going to be amended, the Environment Minister insisted that it was up to the councils to regulate such matter and that he could not impose his decision on such matter.
However, he expressed himself in favour of having common collection times at least by region to make matters simples for households.
Meanwhile, during the news conference Local Councils Association President Mario Fava called on fines on the spot, especially in areas inhabited by foreigners. He backed his argument on the grounds that having lengthy proceedings to punish offenders would result in the foreigners leaving the island by the time the case would be decided.
More information is available at www.wasteservmalta.com or by calling the freephone number 8007 2200.