Interview with MEP Miriam Dalli: The role of recycling in reducing littering


Miriam Dalli, Member of the European Parliament, shares her views on the role of recycling as an enabler of resource efficient and low-carbon economy and as a solution to tackle marine littering:

Research has shown a correlation between the presence of littering and improper environmental behaviour caused by consumers. Installing proper waste collection and sorting systems could result in better recycling of single use items that can be treated at end-of-life. In your view, what is the role of recycling as well as awareness raising in handling the problem of littering and how it can be elevated?

Just think of the waste we produce on a daily basis: from takeaway cups to plastic, paper and foil food wrappers, and the organic waste we generate in our homes. Having the proper waste collection and sorting systems ensure that what can be recycled actually gets recycled. I have worked on single use plastics regulation. Recycling is required to stop the leakage of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gasses into our environment. I believe that the key is to establish a sound material-cycle society, which does not waste valuable goods or materials. 

How can businesses and/or local authorities contribute to the objective of increased recycling and consequently lesser littering in our environment? 

Waste collection schemes help to decrease the high rate of waste that is still being landfilled in the EU. When local authorities introduce reposit-schemes, they contribute funding to a great cause - the protection of our environment and health.

We can all contribute to reducing littering. Printing smarter, using silverware instead of plastic cutlery, eliminating water bottles and increasing the number of fountains, setting up separate collection bins that divide waste at the source, banning straws or replacing them with disposable products made of more sustainable materials, visible bins for cigarette butts, and the phasing out of plastic bags.  

This article has been published in the ACE Newsletter Autumn 2018.