Sunday 21 April 2024

Over 4.5 million cans and bottles recycled by BCRS in first 3 weeks

More than 4.5 million bottles and cans have been returned since the launch of the Beverage Container Refund Scheme just three weeks ago, with 800,000 returns being made over the past weekend alone.

A spokesman for BCRS Malta said: “We are encouraged by the public’s participation and are making adjustments along the way to improve the scheme’s operations: around 90 per cent of our 320 machines have been fully functional in spite of huge demand and we believe the response will improve further as people become more accustomed to the scheme.”

Prior to the introduction of the BCRS scheme, Malta was consistently the worst EU performer when it came to recycling, with the island managing to recycle only 10% of plastic packaging – which pales in comparison with the European median of 38% – according to the latest Eurostat figures published last month. (See table at https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/ddn-20221020-1)

Given the country’s consistently dismal recycling levels as well as more stringent EU targets on recycling, the Government decided Malta should switch from a home collection system to a more focused beverage container return scheme.

The spokesman said: “We formed BCRS Malta Ltd to respond to this change and will face legal consequences – including penalties purposely set-up by the regulator – should we fail to meet ambitious recovery and recycling targets.

“Furthermore, BCRS has committed itself to investing unredeemed deposits into initiatives aimed at promoting a circular economy, so claims being made in certain quarters that the company stands to profit from non-returns are entirely without foundation.

“The introduction of fully refundable compulsory deposits has proven to be highly effective abroad and we based our scheme on these successful models. However, this requires a culture change from all of us and, though an element of disruption is inevitable, we believe that ultimately the BCRS scheme will benefit the environment.

“We appeal to everyone to recognise the need to work collectively towards achieving better results. While separating waste may present an inconvenience, it is already showing itself to be a tangible step in drawing us closer to mandatory EU targets and making a real difference to Malta’s environment.