Why plastic recycling in Malta is not the answer to the plastic crisis

Plastic pullution in Malta

The Times of Malta published a detailed analysis by David Marinelli of SaveEarth.world of why it just makes sense to stop buying plastic alltogether.

I highly admire anyone who does the research and is an expert to the level that the author obviously is, however for myself as a consumer I am keen to get to the salient points so this short Explainer seeks to provide an executive summary of David's indepth analysis iand some factual bullet points to back up the summary.

It's shocking really - if you are like me and diligently sort your waste, feel good about disposing of your grey bag and think you are doing the planet a favour - think again. It's a myth that we need to realise in order that we can demand different solutions.

Executive Summary

The production of plastic is growing and the crisis is continuing to get worse not better. Plastic is already in our food and water systems and we are ingesting it this toxic material that takes hundreds of years to degrade. Due to cleaner technology and lower demand for transport the oli producers need a new demand for their product and their answer is to get the consumer to use more plastic. But using oil for plastic is twice as harmful in terms of CO2 emmsions than when using it for fuel. The oil industry wants to sell the myth the plastic recycling makes using plastic ok, but this is not true. Economically and practically recycling does not work and 90% of plastic is disposed of and will not go away for hundreds of years.

The only asnwer is to stop buying plastic and fueling the industry.

Quick Facts

  • The plastic poluution crisis is continuing
  • Millions of animals are dying from plastic polution
  • Nano particles of plastic have entered our food and water systems and we are ingesting them
  • Plastic is toxic and takes hundreds of years to degrade
  • Cleaner alternative technology and a drop in demand means the oil industry needs a new use for the oil they cobtinue to produce - plastic is the oil industry answer
  • Plastic production continues to increase
  • From the large investments made in the plastic industry it is expected that production will triple by 2050
  • The plastic cycle from production to disposal releases roughly double the CO2 emmisions that using oil for fuel would
  • There is growing evidence that when recycled plastic is shipped abroad it is either dumped or burnt
  • Plastic waste is not valuable, recyling is costly,  and separation of waste is not feasible
  • New plastic made from new oil is cheaper than new plastic made from recyled plastic
  • Even if plastic is recylced once, after two occasions it can no longer be used and then it needs to be disposed of


As consumers our choices, when we act togeher are what will always drive the oil companies and industrial coorporations decisions. But we must not fall for the myths that are sold to us by parties with agendas to keep us locked into the plastic consumer cycle.

Action we can all take:

  • Notice how much plastic appears everywhere in our lives
  • Avoid the single use of any plastic at all
  • See where we can reuse any plastic we have
  • See where we can avoid getting any more plastic into our lives

Photo by Antoine GIRET on Unsplash

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