The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) of Malta organised the first of a series of WINPOL public communication events. During this event local stakeholders from the civil society, specifically environmental NGOs and organisations, were provided with an overview of the project and the current intelligent waste management equipment which has already been implemented in partner regions. Current technology and innovation in the waste sector allow container-systems to provide information in real-time, about various parameters including their remaining available capacity to waste collectors; and temperature, amongst others. Such systems are linked to ICT-based solutions which can be used to analyse usage trends, and identify critical groups of waste producers.

Participants highlighted that implementing a legal framework targeting municipal waste through intelligent waste storage units, within new development areas is important to tackle waste separation at source. The Earth Systems Association put forward the notion of underground waste storage units, and indicated that it could be ideal for the local scenario given the limited space available within urban areas.

Furthermore, the attendees emphasised the importance of awareness-raising campaigns for the proper functioning of smart technologies in waste management. In fact, EcoGozo has organised sessions, whereby activities targeting waste separation were organised for children on blue-flagged beaches in Gozo, providing rewards as an incentive to participate. Ultimately, participants identified the main issues within the sector, particularly the generation of food waste in large quantities and the concerning amounts of single-use plastics being generated during concerts, festivals and village feasts. ERA believes that these discussions were rather fruitful and participants offered a number of valuable ideas, which may be incorporated into the Project Action Plan.