The first two of 10 jumbo-sized reverse vending machines for plastic beverage containers have gone live at Pembroke and Ħal Far today, as BCRS Malta invests a further €2.5 million to brace for a peak in operations over the summer months.
Located at Luxol’s Park-and-Ride and at the BCRS Clearing Centre, these high-capacity machines can store up to 9,000 containers, while allowing consumers the convenience of depositing their plastic bottles all at once instead of one by one.
BCRS Malta Chairman Pierre Fava said: “These jumbo machines will render the Beverage Container Refund Scheme more efficient, and the timing of their installation will also cater for the expected increase in the number of plastic drinks containers during summer.”
Over the coming months, BCRS Malta will be installing further 28 new machines, including the 10 jumbo machines, which will see the total number of machines spread across Malta and Gozo reach 348. Since the jumbo machines will only handle plastic (PET), single-feed reverse vending machines operating 24/7 will also be set up alongside the jumbo machines to cater for glass bottles and cans.
BCRS Malta CEO Edward Chetcuti explained that the jumbo machines will be also manned by specialised personnel to guide consumers accordingly while remaining operational seven days a week, between 6am and 10pm.
“The jumbo PET Machines have a ‘basket’ where several empty containers can be thrown in simultaneously. While the processing time is more or less the same as when depositing one by one, this time the machine does most of the work instead of the consumer.”
Mr Chetcuti said that BRCS is enabling a fundamental shift in consumers’ mentality, and it was rewarding to see such a rapid adjustment to the scheme, where the consumer returns the container to get the 10c deposit back.
To date, in just five months, more than 60 million beverage containers have been returned with 2,581 tons of plastic, glass and metal exported for recycling.
“At the moment we are collecting 500,000 drinks containers a day, every day, which is quite remarkable for such a small island, and this is something we should all be proud of. Historically our country was recycling less than 20 per cent of beverage containers, and currently it is about 70 per cent, which is a giant leap forward,” Mr Chetcuti said.
The remaining jumbo machines will start to be rolled out across Malta and Gozo from the end of this month and BCRS is currently processing the necessary permits.
BCRS is encouraging consumers or operators with more than four bags to go during off-peak hours or else to use the jumbo machine, which has been temporarily located at the BCRS Clearing Centre in Ħal Far.
It reminded the public that the only beverage containers accepted by the RVMs are: water (still, sparkling and flavoured), soft drinks, energy drinks, beers, ciders, dilutables, flavoured drinks with less than five per cent alcohol, and ready-to-drink coffee. The machines do not accept the following containers: juices, dairy products, wines, alcoholic spirits, cartons and pouches which should be returned for collection through the existing grey / green bag and/or glass collection schemes.