plastic

The Government has confirmed the banning of single use plastics, including cutlery, plates, and beverage containers, as from the start of next year.

In an announcement on Thursday, the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Ministry explained that as was first proposed during the Government’s Budget speech, a ban on the sale of various single-use plastic products will come into effect in 2022, within two months of the publication of a legal notice enforcing it on Christmas Eve.

“This is being enacted as part of the government’s vision to strengthen our environment, tackle marine pollution and improve the quality of our biodiversity,” the Ministry explained.

The list of items covered under the ban includes plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, balloon sticks, jablo cups and beverage containers, beverage stirrers, and straws.

Malta made headlines earlier this year by becoming one of the first European countries to prohibit the importation of these single use plastics.

The country had drawn criticism for repeatedly falling behind EU standards for the disposal of its plastic waste. According to a report by the EU statistics agency (Eurostat) at the start of 2021, only 19.2 per cent of Malta’s plastic packaging waste is recycled annually. The next lowest proportion was recorded in France, where 26.9 per cent was recycled.

Environmental leaders, including the Ministry, will be hoping that the ban helps to reduce the generation of plastic waste, but according to one industry expert’s comments to BusinessNow.mt at the start of the year, many of the products covered under the ban are already unavailable locally.

While announcing the law, Minister Farrugia explained: “[2021] will be a transitory one for the single-use plastic products already on the market and, as from 2022, the sale and distribution of these items will also be legally prohibited.”

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