Pictured above: San Ġwann Executive Secretary Kurt Guillaumier, Luqa Mayor John Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Government Dr Stefan Buontempo, Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Leo Brincat, GreenPak Coop Society CEO Ing Mario Schembri, Kalkara Mayor Speranza Chircop, Attard Executive Secretary Marica Mifsud and Għaxaq Mayor Darren Abela.
The Local Councils of Luqa, Attard, Għaxaq, Kalkara, San Ġwann and Xagħra, Gozo were officially recognised as winners of the recycling awards during the 2015 Annual GreenPak Local Council Awards organised by GreenPak Cooperative Society. These awards serve to recognise those local councils that have striven most to improve their green credentials for the betterment of their locality and their respective environment. Three local councils were nominated as finalists in each of the six categories.
This year’s edition saw the introduction of a new award ‘Waste to Recyclables Award’ which is intended to stimulate the diversion of waste away from the mixed waste collection (black bag) and towards recycling (green bag). This first award was won by Luqa Local Council. The ‘Best Overall Performance’ which measures the performance per capita of how much recyclables are collected from the door-to-door separate waste collections and Bring In-Sites, was awarded to San Ġwann Local Council with an annual collection rate of 50.5 kg / capita. Attard Local Council scooped the ‘Most Supportive Locality’ award for continuously motivating the locality to recycle more. The awards of ‘Best Performance: Glass Recycling’ and ‘Most Improved Locality’ were adjudicated to be the localities of Kalkara and Għaxaq respectively.
For the second consecutive year, Inspire Foundation sponsored ‘The Inspire Foundation Award’ as a token of appreciation to those local councils participating in the used clothes collection campaign held during the past year. The award was won by Xagħra Local Council whose residents collected an average of 2kgs of used clothes per household.
Ing. Mario Schembri, GreenPak Coop Society CEO, said: “With satisfaction, one notices that amongst the runner ups and winners are local councils who have joined GreenPak in recent years for the purpose of improving their environmental credentials. In the space of a few years, these local councils have improved so much that they are now enjoying both benefits and rewards and are an example for others to follow. ”
The award ceremony was attended by more than 80 local council mayors, executive secretaries and councillors. The Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Leo Brincat and the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government Dr Stefan Buontempo congratulated the local councils and encouraged them to keep improving on these results in order to reach Malta’s recycling targets set out by the EU.
Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Leo Brincat, said “When we look back at the results achieved by GreenPak along the years, together with innovations introduced in Malta in the waste management sector, we are convinced that newly introduced WEEE system will achieve similar success as that achieved in recycling of waste packaging.”
“In this regard, we augur success to scheme operators such as GreenPak together with the Local Councils because, although it is the government who drafts policies, they cannot be obtained without their direct input and collaboration,” added the Minister.
Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government Dr Stefan Buontempo, said: “The increase generated in waste in Malta shows that we are victims of our success as a country, because this is intrinsically linked with an increase in economic activity. GreenPak’s scheme, which brings together 41 local councils and translates into about 70 per cent of the country’s population, has collaborated fully with Local Councils. This collaboration is key to success in this sector, because Local Councils have a crucial role as strategic partners for all those involved in the sector, to widen the awareness of separation and recycling among the people. We augur all success both to GreenPak, as well as to the Councils which are taking seriously the commitment for waste separation, so that we can pass on this country to our children better than we found it.”
“Looking forward, GreenPak is well aware of the new challenges being faced by local councils. In view of the recent announcement of the pilot project for the separate collection of organic waste, GreenPak is well positioned to help and support its local council members. Furthermore, GreenPak will soon be introducing a separate collection for electrical & electronic goods to further sustain the current efforts being enacted to increase recycling, stimulate the circular economy and safeguard the environment,” added Ing Schembri.
“As we mark our 10th anniversary, GreenPak has been instrumental in changing the mentality from one geared on taxation to one based on producer’s responsibility. The next major challenge is to convince authorities not to allow any further fiscal immorality in this sector. For transparency’s sake, it is essential to ensure a level playing field. In turn, this process will provide both peace of mind for Local Councils and residents, and smoother operations with much better results in terms of recycling,” he said.
Besides receiving the trophy and certificate of achievement, the winning local councils were each awarded a cash prize of €1,000 to support ongoing environmental projects within their respective locality for the benefit of its residents.
GreenPak, a MEPA authorised scheme, is the largest waste recovery scheme in Malta. The organisation is a founding member of EXPRA, a not-for-profit international organisation promoting the concept that it is industry itself that should take up recycling and let recycling be a burden on Government or Local Authorities. GreenPak has for the past decade been one of 35 national producer responsibility systems operating under the PRO Europe umbrella.