European Week for Waste Reduction

A waste product is something which has no further use, something very rare (if not non-existent) in nature. Most refuse contains items that can be used further, saving resources, time & money and the environment in the process.

This week is European Week for Waste Reduction and several initiatives are going on around Malta. However one week of initiatives by green minded people is not enough to bring down the ‘Bastille’ of littering mentality so commonly found in the Maltese population. Malta imports most its products resulting in an accumulation of packaging material, which many consumers, including government entities, businesses and households discard as waste. Most of this material can be recycled or used further, but too often this fact is overlooked, resulting in landfills being filled up with material which should not be there.

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The plastic bottle is a hot-potato with regards to waste management. First off, most bottled drinks are simply products which can do without. The health aspect of sugary drinks namely sodas, is something I will avoid, because for one I don’t know where I should start and further, I doubt that there is enough place in this blog to enlighten sugar-loving souls of the dark-side of sugary-drinks. Secondly, bottled water is another product which we can avoid, by using refillable bottles, and opting for water dispensers which also incorporate reusable materials. And finally, we should all be responsible enough to tolerate our waste and find a suitable place to recycle our waste.

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One last thought is that we don’t have much time until we can continue this way. Other European countries are at the forefront of waste efficiency, yet we are still struggling with littering! Education especially to families with young children needs to be a top priority of the government. Whilst this investment may not provide immediate economic gains, in a few years time recoverable material may even become a currency on its own. Climate change and resource depletion are ticking time bombs, so what are we waiting for?

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Whilst the overall trajectory is towards waste reduction, we as a state need strict regulation and much more importantly ENFORCEMENT of waste limits. It is unacceptable that government authorities, schools, businesses and other influential entities are left with the choice to waste outstanding amounts of recoverable material. This reality highlights the need to instil efficiency in our economy, minimising waste, creating green jobs and involving the public in the process.

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James Gabarretta – ADZ Member

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