The Silver-T transportation service, enabling senior citizens to run errands without relying on family or friends, can now scale up its operations to cover all of Malta and Gozo after BCRS Malta donated six electric cars towards its fleet.
Cognisant of the difficulties some elderly were facing to take part in the Beverage Container Refund Scheme and return their empty drinks containers, this not-for-profit consortium sought ways to address this.
BCRS Malta has now teamed up with the government’s department for Active Ageing and Community Care so that Silver-T can extend its free service to transport citizens over 60 to one of the BCRS public hubs or local stores to return the empty containers and get their 10c deposit back.
A press conference addressed by Active Ageing Minister Jo-Etienne Abela was held today, in collaboration with BCRS Malta, at Siġġiewi to roll out the newly extended service.
BCRS Malta chairman Pierre Fava said: “This collaboration is a win-win for all of us as Silver-T can now more than double its services to cover all 68 localities in Malta and Gozo from the present 25.
“It also extends the service to include BCRS, in turn addressing any mobility issues elderly people may face in reaching one of over 50 public hub locations in the villages, or a local store next to them that can take their bottles either through an RVM or via manual collection,” Mr Fava said.
Rolled out in 2018, the Silver-T Service processed more than 700 requests monthly from senior citizens seeking to carry out their daily errands within the community.
“By donating these fully electric cars to Silver-T, BCRS is adding yet another method to facilitate the public’s efforts to return empty containers to protect our environment and step up Malta’s recycling efforts,” Mr Fava said.
Dr Abela added: “It is our duty to strive to help the elderly by ensuring that the services provided by the entities under our remit help facilitate their lives.”
BCRS Malta, made up of the island’s beverage producers, importers and retailer associations, was rolled out last November with the main objective being to reverse Malta’s low recycling rates and meet its EU targets.
The goal is to recover 70 per cent of the 230 million containers placed on the market each year by 2023 and 90 per cent by the end of 2026, for onward recycling in line with the principles of the circular economy.
The public has quickly adjusted to BCRS and to date over 75 million empty containers have been collected through the reverse vending machines located at retail outlets and public hubs; through manual collection from stores; and those returned by hotels, restaurants, and catering establishments.
Another positive outcome is that more than 3,200 tonnes of recyclable materials have been exported to fully certified recycling companies in Europe.
Mr Fava said: “The feedback of the past months has been extremely positive and once we complete the roll out the recently announced jumbo PET machines — which allow people to deposit the containers all at once — we aim to remain well on track to meet our targets of recovering 70 per cent of containers placed on the market by the end of this year.”