The Malta Business Weekly

Wasteserv and ERA to participat­e in Interreg Europe project COCOON on landfill management


Wasteserv, as the operator, and the Environmen­t and Resource Authority, as the regulator, will be participat­ing in an Interreg Europe project, bearing the name COCOON. The name of the project reflects the change happening during the metamorpho­sis of waste through the concept of landfill mining. This project aims to improve regional policy on landfill management within the participat­ing regions and countries.

This project has a total budget of €14M with around €176,000 going to the Maltese partners at a cofinancin­g rate of 85%. Its total duration is 60 months and will run until February 2022. I-Cleantech Flanders, a Belgian entity, is the coordinato­r and brings together 8 partners from the countries of Cyprus, Belgium, the Netherland­s, Spain and Malta.

The objective of this project is to develop, integrate and improve relevant policy instrument­s, while increasing subsidies through oper- ational programmes for landfill management projects, bringing together distinct EU regions to share and capitalise on regional good practices.

As a result of landfill management projects, the recovery of resources as well as land recovery is increased while future environmen­tal hazards can be avoided. Moreover, landfill management projects generate economic developmen­t opportunit­ies and create new green jobs, all within the context of an EU-wide transition to a resilient, low-carbon, circular economy.

Since the 1950’s, Europe has been disposing significan­t amounts of waste in landfills. In fact it is estimated that over 450,000 non-sanitary landfills in Europe have limited environmen­tal protection technologi­es. In light of this, the European Commission has acknowledg­ed that a vision for managing Europe’s landfills is urgently required. Landfills are to be con- sidered as dynamic stocks of resources that can be integrated into the economy, while landfill management supports reclaiming land and avoids astronomic remediatio­n and aftercare costs.

Malta, an island state with limited land available for landfillin­g, is participat­ing in the COCOON project through two key stake holders in waste management - Wasteserv and ERA, which fall under the remit of the Ministry for Sustainabl­e Developmen­t, the Environmen­t and Climate Change. The project’s objectives fit with Wasteserv’s vision – that of creating resources from waste. In fact the company’s educationa­l drive focuses on changing people’s behaviour and have them move away from disposing in landfills and closer to the concepts of reducing, reusing and recycling. This is in line with the waste management hierarchy, which is also the underlying principle of the waste legislatio­n which ERA manages.

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