The Environment and Resources Authority is launching a public consultation on the introduction of mandatory waste separation at source for everyone, including government entities, households, businesses and other organisations.

To date, there are no legal obligations to separate waste at source, resulting in a significant share of recyclable waste resources being disposed of as mixed residual waste (i.e. in the black bag). The Waste Management Plan for Malta 2021 – 2030 identifies the establishment of mandatory waste separation as a key measure to increase recycling efforts and the quality of recyclable material, as well as to decrease the amount of waste being landfilled, in line with EU commitments.

The proposed mandatory waste separation regulations will be a major environmental step forward for Malta, in its effort to promote increased waste recycling and to drastically reduce mixed waste to landfills by 2035. Mandatory waste separation will also lead to improved cleanliness in residential areas and commercial districts, by providing the required educational campaigns and legal framework to discourage irregular dumping of waste bags in public areas, such as pavements.

Voluntary waste separation by households has become increasingly popular in recent years, as record levels of separated waste collection were registered in 2021. However, local councils, e-NGOs and other stakeholders have been calling for mandatory waste separation regulations to rapidly boost recycling rates and to consolidate the management and enforcement of waste collection.

Two legal notices are being proposed with the aim of introducing the mandatory separation at source requirements within national legislation, namely the Waste (Amendment) Regulations, and the Abandonment, Dumping and Disposal of Waste in Streets and Public Places of Areas (Amendment) Regulations. These regulations will be introduced in conjunction with a nationwide, six-month educational campaign, to make sure that the public is adequately informed before they come in force.

Enforcement of the new regulations by ERA and other entities will be carried out gradually, to allow for a period of adaptation, whilst also raising awareness about these new environmental obligations.

The draft regulations can be downloaded from era.org.mt. ERA invites all stakeholders to submit their feedback to these proposals by email on era.policy@era.org.mt, by Monday, 5th December 2022.

08 November 2022