VALLETTA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Malta is to implement a drink container refund system, consisting of 350 reverse vending machines (RVM), which are to be installed by December 2019, the Maltese government announced on Friday.
The system will see producers and importers forced to add an additional 0.1 euro (0.12 U.S. dollar) to the price of drink containers. The additional expense is transferred on to consumers, who will then be able to get back their deposit by returning them to one of the 350 machines.
Addressing the launch of a public consultation on the scheme, Malta's Environment Minister Jose Herrera said the government was determined to see recycling increase.
"We are determined to change people's mentality and to teach them that there is a price to littering," Herrera said, adding that those who understood this and used the system would not incur additional charges.
Malta is currently struggling to meet its EU-2020 targets on recycling, with the island only managing to recycle 14 to 20 percent of PET plastic drink containers, and a measly 5 percent of canned drinks.
Through the scheme, the government intends to increase the rate of beverage container recycling to 70 percent in the first year of operations, increasing to 90 percent by the third year and beyond.
The targets will be imposed on the scheme's operator who will be selected by the ministry by through a tender.
While the scheme is still at the stage of public consultation, the ministry said all producers will be obliged to participate in the scheme and will have to print a Malta-specific logo and barcode, which will specify the type of bottle being deposited.
All shops having a footprint of at least 150 square meters will be obliged to house a RVM, while smaller shops can opt in and will be paid 4 euros for every 1000 containers processed.