Thursday 12 December 2019

First prize for GreenPak at Sustainable Enterprise Awards 2019

GreenPak’s network of 800 smart iBiNs installed in 41 localities won the first place in the fifth edition of the Sustainable Enterprise Awards organised by the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses (MEIB).  GreenPak Cooperative Society was awarded the overall prize for its efforts to increase the social, environmental and economical sustainability pillars.

The use of these attractive containers increased sharply, registering a sharp rise in the collection of post-consumer products including plastic, paper, glass, and metal waste for recycling during 2019. Fitted with smart technology, the iBiNs provide citizens with a simpler and more convenient way to recycle 24/7.  

Looking ahead at future trends in the Maltese society and steering the need to recycle more as a country, GreenPak invested in smart bins to address current needs and be ready for the future Smart Cities. The iBiNs project utilizes the emerging latest technology of IoT (Internet of Things).  It has the capability to monitor waste levels and feed information back to a central system using real-time data which enables GreenPak’ recycling service to prioritise and customise collection routes in the localities it serves across Malta and Gozo. 

Using the iBiNs interactive web app, ibins.greenpak.com.mt, and selecting the colour-coded image of the iBiN, the public is directed via a Google Map interface to go straight to the nearest iBiN that has sufficient empty space to take their recycling materials. This app is avoiding unnecessary traffic movements, including a reduction of collection truck trips on the road, resulting in lower exhaust emissions. 

“The public’s feedback on their experience using the iBiNs’ app has been very positive. People find the app very user-friendly and supported by a 24/7 service. The iBiNs project is contributing in a meaningful way towards the environmental, economic and social pillars of society,” said Ing Mario Schembri, GreenPak’s CEO. “Following the public’s endorsement and support, GreenPak welcomes the official recognition by the MEIB who have adjudged the iBiNs project as the best sustainable project for 2019 implemented voluntarily by private enterprise.”

GreenPak’s line of business is to provide the community with post-consumer recycling services and is the largest waste recovery scheme in Malta, servicing 70% of the Maltese population. The financing of these services comes from around 1,300 companies that form the GreenPak Cooperative Society. GreenPak operates on a not-for-profit basis and is a founding member of EXPRA, an organisation promoting the concept that it is industry itself that should finance recycling. For the past 15 years, GreenPak has been one of 35 national producer responsibility systems operating under the PRO Europe umbrella.

Environmentally The iBiNs project has led to an increase in yield and quality of collected packaging waste from street containers. Compared to 2018, the collection rate of plastic recyclables has doubled, while during the first five months of 2019, the equivalent of 3,162,500 plastic bottles has been collected. Both paper and glass registered an increase of 39%. While there is a marked decline in illegal dumping around the iBiNs, the increasing demand for iBiNs by several Local Councils encourages more recycling and less littering. 
Economically The materials coming from the iBiNs are of a better quality than those coming from the door-to-door collection systems. As the former are already pre-sorted by the public, there is less contamination resulting in less need for mechanical sorting at the waste treatment facility. As the scheme becomes more cost-effective, businesses will be charged less by GreenPak for their EPR compliance and hence this will reflect on the end price being charged by businesses to consumers. 
Socially The present Maltese community is becoming more diverse with various types of family structures, with different beliefs, and increasingly having a multitude of varied life patterns. On top of all this, GreenPak is encouraging the community towards changing its habits and increasing the domestic waste recycle. While pre-defined door-to-door waste collection services collection are not suitable for an increasing number of persons, the iBiNs service provides a 24/7 solution for non-organic waste, as they find these sites more suited to their lifestyle as they are now able to ‘Recycle Anytime, Anywhere’.  New technology infrastructure stimulates the public to be more conscious hence improving the quality and performance of recycling. iBiNs are also equipped with a helpline system where the public may enquire on any difficulties relating to recycling and the usage of the iBiNs. 

The iBiNs project is an investment of €700,000, of which €200,000 has been financed by the European Regional Development Fund under Operational Programme I 2014-2020 ‘Fostering a competitive and sustainable economy to meet our challenges’, supported through the Business Enhance ERDF Grant Schemes Initiative.

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