Current Affairs
Plant fire incident was the greatest blow to recycling – Wasteserv

Major waste management operators described the accident at the Sant Antnin plant , which was engulfed by fire three years ago, as the biggest damage that Malta suffered in the management of recycled waste.

Speaking to Television Malta, WasteServ chief executive said that the company is working on a new plant at the Ecohive complex which will re-facilitate the new waste separation process so that environmental targets will be achieved.

Meanwhile, Minister Aaron Farrugia announced the recruitment of more inspectors to monitor that waste entering the WasteServ facility is properly dumped and with the least risk of accidents.

Reusable material that will be recycled, such as paper, plastic and tin should be placed in the grey bag. However, almost half of the waste dumped in these bags is not good for recycling. This was revealed to TVM by WasteServ chief executive, Richard Bilocca, who said that despite that significant progress was made, Wasteserv still receives a large amount of dirty and non recycable waste.

“This is the iron from preserves containers. At the last sales call, this surpassed €100, when previously it was less than €50. It is not a question of money, but the most important is that more money will be used for a better aim”.

Reacting to observations made by the Auditor General that Malta will not meet the national and European targets in waste management especially in plastic, Mr Bilocca said that many of the NAO recommendations are being implemented.

“Operations were affected in the past following the fire damage at the Sant’Antnin plant….in fact various measures are being implemented, such as the NAO recommendations. In 2020, we had an increase in the amount of material sent for recycling, that is we are near 80% and plastic performance increased three-fold”.

GreenPak chief executive, Mario Schembri, said that the report dealt with the current practices in waste management and remarked that the problem is in material treatment. “One valid reason is the Sant’Antnin accident, but not only this. There is the problem of material quality – the system of collection in bags where three materials should be disposed of, however its comfort leads to mixing everything together”.

Wasteserv chief executive said that investment is being done on various new systems to compensate for the effects of the Sant’Antnin accident. Until work is completed in the Ecohive complex which has new plants, he added, the country will continue to achieve its targets in waste recycling.

Asked about the Auditor’s remarks that those who pollute most should pay most, Mr Bilocca said that this is an integral part of the waste management plan, however Green MT chief executive Joe Attard said that this principle needs great political will.

“We need to explain the polluter pays principle….if one buys 10 plastic bottles and will consume 10 bottles, he has to pay the price for their recycling. Now it is not that simple to tell people that the initiatives will cost him money”.

See also:

PN says waste management targets were not met