One of Malta’s major challenges is that of reducing the amount of waste produced and managing that which is inevitably generated more efficiently. A report published in March by Eurostat shows that a shocking 600 kilograms of waste was generated by each person in Malta in 2014. Our small size, where land is consequently at a premium, and a high population density make the case for reducing the amount of waste generated and recycling that which cannot be avoided stand loud and clear. The primary reason behind the national campaign DON’T WASTE WASTE (TAĦLIX L-ISKART) is to raise awareness about waste management. The campaign also aims to showcase the positive aspect of good waste management practices by highlighting the fact that waste must be seen for its resource value.
A major source of waste is packaging. This refers to boxes, plastic bags, plastic film, aluminium or polystyrene trays and other materials that products we buy are wrapped in, as well as bags in which they are placed for the consumer to take home. Visiting a supermarket or other outlets selling food products, one increasingly notices that many of them are pre-packed. Ideally we should prefer purchasing unpacked items.
Many fruits and vegetables are found packed in polystyrene and plastic. Often, however you find local farmers’ produce in loose form from which you may pick that amount you actually need. Fresh fish and meat can also do away with a certain amount of packaging such as the presentation boxes they are often displayed in. And they are fresh and local! Always carry a reusable shopping bag for all your shopping needs.
Sometimes you cannot avoid buying packed items. That’s when individual discipline must kick in as all elements of metal, plastic, glass and paper should go in the recycling bag and not in the black bag. Remember to lightly clean these items first if they are soiled – this way the bag won’t smell. For larger items such as TVs and other electronics the packaging may be big enough to be classified as bulky waste and may be collected free of charge from your doorstep by the local council service. Alternatively pop in to the nearest civic amenity site on your way to work or when doing errands.
With Christmas just round the corner it is important to remember that the amount of packaging waste will undoubtedly increase with all the presents and wrapping paper we will be using up, making it all the more essential for us to redouble our individual and collective efforts to recycle all that packaging waste. Think about ways by which you can reduce waste this Christmas – giving an experience is a way in which to avoid physical giftware. And if giving a physical gift is inevitable, wrap it up by securing wrapping with a ribbon or string so that it may be reused again.
So be proactive and make a difference. Waste will not manage itself – it requires that you do your bit. Visit http://www.dontwastewaste.gov.mt for more.