30 June, 2023

BCRS hits 100 million recycling mark in major milestone

Consumers have successfully recycled 100 million beverage containers in just over seven months from the introduction of the Beverage Container Refund Scheme (BCRS).

This milestone was reached today when the 100-millionth container was deposited, making this scheme a success story in Malta, which is the only country in the Mediterranean to have introduced such a deposit return scheme.

June has also seen the scheme reach another record for the most containers collected in one day, when consumers returned 768,000 bottles on Saturday, June 24.

A BCRS Malta spokesperson said: “Since January, the collection rate has steadily remained at around 74 per cent. We are pleased to see that the majority of people have embraced this new practice of recycling.

The average daily collection  is now up to almost 675,000 containers, placing Malta well on track to achieve its  projected target of retrieving 70 per cent of the beverage containers placed on the market by the end of 2023.

The scheme, operated by BCRS Malta, a not-for-profit private operator made up of the island’s beverage producers, beverage importers and beverage retailer associations, was rolled out last November and the management attributes its success to the fact it remained attentive to people’s feedback and adapted accordingly.

This is the first summer for BCRS and as temperatures soar it is gearing up for an anticipated spike in sales of beverages by rolling out large scale reverse vending machines depots for beverage containers.

 Five such high-capacity machine depots are already up and running: at the BCRS Clearing Centre in Ħal Far, Luxol’s Park-and-Ride in Pembroke, the Marsa Industrial Park, the former Belleview area in Mellieħa and the San Gwann Industrial Park.  A further two will be switched on in the coming days at the Bulebel Industrial Park in Zejtun, the Xewkija Industrial Park in Gozo.

The last three of 10 large scale hubs are awaiting permits from the authorities and will be installed in the coming weeks.

These 10 hubs include high-capacity machines that can take 9,000 plastic containers, allowing consumers the convenience of depositing their plastic bottles all at once.

These high-capacity machines only accept plastic beverage containers, so single-feed reverse vending machines are also being installed on site to cater for glass, cans as well as plastic and will continue to be operational 24/7. The high-capacity machines are manned by a BCRS representative to guide consumers and are operational seven days a week, between 5am and 9pm.

Meanwhile, the company is also collaborating with festival and events’ organisers to install temporary reverse vending machines to provide increased convenience for consumers.

The feedback so far has been extremely encouraging with 18,500 containers collected for recycling during this month’s Earth Garden Festival, and another 14,000 containers recovered during the week of the Żebbuġ feast celebrations. BCRS is currently set up at the Malta Trade Fair and is planning to be present at next month’s Farsons Beer Festival, among others.

The scheme is also benefiting the local communities as people are donating their vouchers or beverage containers to the Malta Community Chest Fund; animal foundations and other NGOs. These different altruistic practices have all contributed to making the scheme a success, the spokesperson said.

“The collaborative spirit which brought the business community, government and the public together has enabled the success of this scheme, which ultimately benefits the Maltese environment,” the spokesperson said.

“Recovering 100 million containers is a major achievement and we look forward to building on this milestone and seeing these numbers increase in the future.”