BCRS Malta has succeeded in recovering 76 per cent of the total beverage containers placed on the market in the first quarter of 2023.
Since its launch in mid-November until April 30, a total of 64,444,421 empty drinks containers were collected, with momentum picking up in the first quarter of this year with over 36 million containers of the 48 million placed on the market recovered during the quarter.
BCRS Malta noted that this result is remarkable for a small nation like Malta, while cautioning that these figures were just the first snapshot emerging from the first quarter of the year.
“We have just closed the first quarter of 2023 and all the indicators are showing we’re on track to meet the collection targets of 70 cent by the end of this year… however, it is still too early to predict the months ahead based on Q1 data alone,” the company said.
The introduction of a beverage container refund scheme, which saw Malta introduce a 10c deposit on drink bottles and cans, aims to reduce littering, while drastically increasing the collection and recycling rates of single-use drink containers in plastic, metal and glass placed on the market.
The company attributes the success of the scheme also to the accessibility of placing public hubs across Malta and Gozo, reverse vending machines (RVMs) in supermarkets, as well as manual collections from catering establishments and smaller retail outlets in different towns and villages.
With the roll-out of the jumbo-sized machines for PET plastic starting this week, the total number of machines spread across Malta and Gozo will reach 348 over the summer months.
According to the first quarter figures, 79 per cent of PET plastic placed on the market was recovered; 73 per cent of cans; and 74 per cent of glass meaning that all three material types are being successfully collected at high rates.
Of the total 36,352,157 beverage containers collected between January and March 2023, the bulk (91.6 per cent) came from the RVMs split between supermarkets (51 per cent), and public hubs (49 per cent).
Manual collection amounted to 3,045,282 containers (8.4 per cent), with the majority (73 per cent) recovered from catering establishments and 27 per cent from retail outlets.
The localities were most containers were collected were those in the northern and eastern regions followed closely by the south region.
The company said the biggest vote of confidence was the scheme’s ability to have cleared the environment of practically every errant beverage container that normally litter the island’s beaches, countryside and seas.
“Looking back, the past five months have been highly challenging, as we had to adapt the typical Deposit Refund Scheme model used predominantly in northern European regions to fit the local typical mix of drink containers as well as adapting fast to the realities encountered on the ground during the rollout; but also incredibly rewarding given the performance attained in just a few months,” BCRS Malta said.