The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry organised an information session on how the proposed Beverage Container Refund System (BCRS) will operate on 4th May. The session was addressed by Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change Jose Herrera and other Ministry officials.
Members present were given a presentation on the system Government intends to introduce to collect and recycle beverage containers. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session.
Below within this article are a series of FAQs which the Malta Chamber has compiled following the information session of the 4th May. Also below, the white paper, the proposed draft legislation and a presentation which was delivered during the same info session are downloadable at the end of this article.
The Malta Chamber will in the upcoming days be finalising its stand on the subject for submission to the authorities. The Chamber therefore asks members affected by the introduction of this new system or any other stakeholder to send any feedback or comments to Mr Andre Fenech – Head Policy Development on email address firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 16th May.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Beverage Container Refund System (BCRS)
What are the objectives of the system?
The objectives of the scheme are to:
- Make both producers and consumers responsible for their packaging waste;
- Create a privately-funded infrastructure for the collection of empty beverages containers;
- Increase national efforts in reaching recycling targets; and
- Reduce littering
What are Malta’s waste targets?
Malta needs to recycle 50% of paper, plastic, metal and glass from municipal solid waste by 2020. The current performance level according to the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change (MSDEC) stood at 16%.
There are also new targets being introduced by the new EU Circular Economy package which will included a 50% recycling rate by 2025, 55% by 2030 and 60% by 2035.
Why do we need a Beverage Container Refund System (BCRS)?
It is estimated that Malta recycles between 14-20% of PET (plastic) beverage bottles and only 5% of aluminium cans. Recovery rates from households remain relatedly low and that a new system is required to transition Malta towards a circular economy.
Why only Beverage containers will be included at first?
- Beverage containers tend to be consumed on the go hence are more likely to be littered or thrown away in residual waste rather than recovered and recycled.
- They also tend to be consumed quickly and soon after they are purchased
- They are more easily cleaned and less likely to contain residue than other types of containers.
Which Beverages will be included in the system at first?
- Water and flavoured water
- Fruit juices and nectars
- Carbonated soft drinks
- Ciders, beers and other malt beverages
- Other alcoholic beverages with an alcohol level not greater than 10% by volume
- Any other beverage, except for dairy products and alcoholic beverages with an alcohol level of at least 10% by volume
Which types of containers will be included?
- One-way glass bottles
- Metal cans
- Plastic bottles
The Design of the proposed system
- The Resource, Recovery and Recycling Council will be the system’s regulator
- The Council will establish and manage a Beverage Containers Refund Fund to administer the system’s funding and financial transfers
- The Council will contract a Repository Operator (RO) through a competitive tender for a 10-year period
Diagram of the system
What are the proposed targets of the new system?
The statutory targets as proposed require the system to achieve a minimum redemption rate of:
- 70% in the first year
- 80% in the second year; and
- 90% every year thereafter
How will the return infrastructure work?
- It is estimated that a minimum of 350 Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) will be required for the system to operate initially. This will allow a coverage of 1 RVM per 1,200 people.
- For those retailers/operators with a floor area of more than 150 sqm, it will be mandatory to have an RVM in place
- Smaller retailers (less than 150 sqm in floor area) will be able to opt-in the system.
- There will be potential additional redemption centres and a repository to serve as counting centre for Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés (HORECA) members.
How will be the system be financed?
- There will be a deposit of €0.10 on each beverage container
- The ROs will reimburse retailers for the deposits they refund, and pay handling fee of €4.00/1000 containers
- There will be a €250 for the one-time registration of producers
- A €100 per unique typology of beverage registered (one-time)
- An administration fee of€ 0.01 per container will be levied by the Producer/Importer to the RRR Council
How the financing will work:
What will happen to the returned containers?
- The Repository Operator (RO) will own the returned containers with the RO being responsible for collecting the containers from retailers via a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) at no additional cost and for ensuring they are properly processed and recycled
- The RO has the option to charge retailers for providing a manual service/collection and the HORECA industry for their specific collections.
- The RO will be able to profit from the sales of the material. There will be an incentive to maximise the return volumes supporting the success of the system
What type of labelling and barcoding will be required?
The RRR Council will provide a deposit refund logo which will be stamped or affixed to all beverage containers within the system.
How will the proposed labelling reduce the risk of fraud?
- Labels will include a barcode which will be specific for the Maltese Islands to reduce the risk of cross-border fraud.
- These barcodes will be scanned by the RVM to verify if they are registered with the RRR Council, and cross referenced again with the container size, shape and material.
- There will be a different logo for refillable bottles
How will the system be implemented?
- Government will launch a competitive tender to find the operator or consortium which will be running the system.
- The infrastructure namely the RVMs, central plant and other operational costs will be borne by the selected Repository Operator (RO).
- The bid will be based on either:
- An operational fee that the RRR Council will pay to the RO out of the fund calculated per thousand containers they take back and process; and/or
- Retaining a percentage of the unredeemed deposits for the first two years
- The Government will provide the land for the central sorting and baling plant and will rent it out to the chosen RO.
- The RO will be responsible for setting up the plant and purchasing all the necessary equipment.
What are the proposed time lines to introduce the new system?
- By June 2018 – Government is to launch a request for proposals (RFP) for the selection of the Repository Operator (RO).
- By September 2018 – The Government will launch the registration process for all the producers/importers of beverage containers included in the system.
- By December 2018 - The Government will announce the successful RO bidder.
- By September/October 2019 – It is estimated that 40 weeks will be required to establish the central plant.
- By December 2019 – The System becomes operational
What will be the penalties if they do not abide the new proposed system?
- It will be a criminal offence (a fine from €5,000 to €50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months) for beverage containers placed on the market without the appropriate deposit.
- Individuals failing to comply with the regulations or caught making a false declaration relating to the Beverage Container Refund System (BCRS) could face a minimum fine of €2,500 and/ or a prison sentence of up to three months.