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  • Linda Burton

Waste problem - prevention or cure?

Malta is tackling its waste problem. The island state is currently one of the highest waste producing countries in Europe with approximately one third above the European Union average. Simultaneously Malta also ranks last when it comes to recycling. Only 8.9% of Malta’s waste has been recycled in 2019 with the remaining ending up in landfill

Project “ECOHIVE” is Maltas largest investment ever made in the waste management sector and is supposed to drive Malta towards a circular economy. The four waste facilities consist of an “Waste-to-Energy” plant, which will be treating 40% of non-recyclable waste and will produce enough electricity to support Gozo and Mellieha, a “New Material Recovery” facility will automatically sort out paper, plastic and metal, an organic processing plant will convert organic waste into biogas and agricultural compost and finally, the “Thermal Treatment” facility in Marsa which processes hazardous waste will be replaced by a new plant.

There is no doubt that project “ECOHIVE” will improve Malta’s waste management sector and that “ECOHIVE Kids” aims to teach children about waste management and its impact on the environment. However, should one not also ask the question as to why Malta produces so much more waste per capita in the EU?

Generally wealthy countries produce more waste because they consume more and nations with a high tourist frequency also experience more waste but that applies for other member states too. Could it be that is has something to do with societies consume and throw away attitude? If so, should we therefore not also invest in investigating social behaviour and natural resource management to reach the goal of a circular economy? Without these two important systems, Malta might remain one of the highest waste producing countries in the future.

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