Malta: The Single-Use Plastics Products Strategy For Malta 2020-2030

The Maltese Government issued the Single-Use Plastic Products Strategy for Malta 2020-2030 (the 'Strategy') in May 2019, just before the Directive 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (the 'Directive') was brought into force. The Strategy's stated aim is to aid Malta's move towards a more circular economy in the light of the work carried out by the European Commission towards this end. It highlights measures to be taken to eliminate plastic pollution and details alternatives to the use of single-use plastic products.Its ambit, like that of the Directive, extends well beyond plastic beverage containers and plastic packaging to cover even sanitary products and tobacco filter products. The Strategy was open to feedback and comments until June 2019; the idea is to update and review the Strategy periodically to ensure that changes in societal attitudes and items made from single use plastic are addressed.

Malta's first Single-Use Plastics Strategy

The main scope of the Strategy is to reduce the amount of single-use plastic products that are consumed, as well as to simultaneously increase the amount of single-use plastic products that are collected to be recycled, and to, therefore, reduce the negative impact plastic pollution has on both the environment and human health. This comes in the wake of the increase in plastic waste being generated in Malta, whilst recycling rates have remained stable. In particular, the Strategy seeks to promote and facilitate the process leading to end-of-waste status of single-use plastics, thereby promoting the circular economy.

The Strategy is concerned with the following single-use plastic products: beverage containers and beverage bottles; tobacco product filters; cotton bud sticks; packets and wrappers; sanitary items; plastic carrier bags; disposable plates and cutlery; straws; beverage cups and stirrers; pizza lid supports; balloons and their sticks; food containers; containers for toiletries; lollipop sticks; plastic kebab sticks; plastic toothpicks; plastic confetti; plastic wristbands; detergent containers; and fishing gear. The Strategy focuses on these products on the assumption that these are the most commonly found littered single-use plastic items – this list includes the top ten single-use plastic products identified by the European Commission in its Impact Assessment on the use of single-use plastic products.

The Strategy contains a list of proposed measures, with reference to specific target products.For instance, by 2022 carrier bags will not be distributed for free at the point of sale and a return or refillable system is to be introduced for detergent containers and containers for toiletries.

On an altogether larger scale, the Strategy indicates that the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change is currently finalising the introduction of a Beverage Container Refund Scheme. This scheme is designed to increase the collection rates of single-use plastic beverage containers, reduce littering, and enhance Malta's efforts in reaching EU recycling targets. Much like other deposit refund systems, this system is expected to facilitate the separation of waste streams at source.The Strategy also indicates that by 2024, only beverage containers with plastic caps and lids attached to the container will be placed on the market.Even more imminently, by 2021, the placement of, among others, plastic lollipop sticks, straws, cutlery, plates, beverage cups and stirrers on the market should be restricted.

Another measure to be adopted is marking requirements. By 2021, it will be mandatory for sanitary items, wet wipes, tobacco products, and beverage cups to bear legible markings on their packaging or the product itself highlighting the presence of plastic in the product's composition, and informing consumers on waste management options. Besides enabling Malta to fulfil its obligations under Article 7 of the Directive, such marking requirements will also create better awareness among the general public, especially considering the lack of knowledge regarding the presence of plastics in these single-use products. Through marking requirements, the public would, thus, be educated on the proper way to dispose of single-use plastic products as well as their more sustainable alternatives where available.

Most of the single-use plastic products falling within the scope of the Strategy will see their presence on the market restricted. Products made from oxo-degradable plastic will be prohibited by 2021.

The Strategy also seeks to encourage the introduction of a number of voluntary measures, such as the promotion of reusable and refillable toiletries, bottles and cups in hotels, hostels and other holiday premises, as well as introducing benefits to students who take reusable and refillable containers when purchasing items from shops on campus, or consumers who use refillable beverage cups.This incentivises the use of reusable and refillable containers to help lessen the generation of plastic waste and the consumption of single-use plastic packaging.

The presence of chemicals in sanitary products

Aside from the presence of plastic in sanitary products, the potentially hazardous chemical composition of sanitary products was emphasised in Recital 19 of the Directive.The Strategy does not extend its scope to the reduction of the use of harmful chemicals in sanitary products since its scope is restricted to the reduction of plastic pollution. However, subsidiary legislation enacted under the Product Safety Act (Cap 427 of the laws of Malta) deals with this issue through its implementation of Regulation 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC.

By virtue of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation And Restriction Of Chemicals (REACH) (Implementation) Regulations, the Technical Division within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority is designated as the competent authority. It is therefore entrusted with ensuring that the goods being placed on the market conform to the relevant product safety regulations and that no azocolourants and azodyes are used in detectable concentrations in, inter alia, sanitary products since these come into close contact with human skin for a prolonged period of time.

Concluding remarks

While the Strategy contains several short to medium term measures, the intention is for its beneficial effects to be felt in the long term. It is designed to create a circular economy where plastic will not reach its end of life status after its first rotation round the market. To achieve its socio-economic benefits, the Strategy will have to be periodically reviewed and updated accordingly.Given that a number of measures are proposed for the next couple of years, it remains to be seen how the stated objectives are achieved, and to what extent. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions