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Malta eager to climb up from lowest EU ranking

The member state stuck at the bottom of the EU league for recycling plastic packaging, Malta, says it has had a ‘record-breaking’ year and aims to climb the table in future.

The pledge follows data from Eurostat for 2019 showing that an estimated 41.5% of plastic packaging is recycled by EU member states. The target of 22.5 % recycled plastic packaging waste was met by all member states that year except Malta (11.1% based on 2018 data).

The highest recycling rate in this segment was recorded in Lithuania (69.3%), Slovenia (60.4%, based on 2017 data), Bulgaria (59.2%), Czechia (57.0%), Cyprus (54.3%), Slovakia (51.4%) and Spain (50.7%). The UK, no longer a member, managed around 43%.

In contrast, member states recycling less than one-third of their plastic packaging waste were Malta (19.2%), France (26.9%), Hungary (30.0%), Ireland (31.0%), Finland (31.1%), Denmark (31.5%), Austria (31.9%) and Luxembourg (32.3%).

The newspaper Malta Today reports that Malta has trebled its recycling performance for plastic this year. ‘The current year will go down in the history book as a record-breaking turning point in sustainable waste management,’ the newspaper writes. The country’s environment minister Aaron Farrugia is quoted as being hopeful further advancements will take Malta out of its regular rock-bottom position on EU scoresheets.

The government’s waste management company Wasteserv say it has had its most productive year in terms of recyclable materials processed since it was set up in 2002. The company processes 18 000 tonnes of cardboard, paper, metal, glass and plastic. WasteServ is currently implementing a EUR 500 million investment in four new plants as part of its Ecohive project.

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