Taking Sustainable Measures
Towards a Healthier Environment
November 6, 2018
IMAGE: Malta Tourism Authority
From encouraging recycling initiatives, to reducing single-use plastic consumption, to educating the public; Valletta 2018 aims at promoting sustainability throughout the European Capital of Culture year and beyond.
Rolling out a sustainability policy for both key events as well as in-house operations throughout the European Capital of Culture year is identified as an important part of the mechanics for the Valletta 2018 Foundation. The Foundation participated in a number of focus groups and brainstorming sessions with both the core programming team and event producers prior to the commencement of the celebratory year. These sessions cultivated the roots of the Foundation’s sustainability policies and identified the key elements of which sustainable initiatives should be supported.
Recycling and Adequate Waste Handling
For Valletta 2018’s key events during the European Capital of Culture year, resource management has been a key focus, through the implementation and management of both effective recycling systems as well as water refill systems. The recycling systems have encouraged the correct collection of waste materials from event attendees and have ensured that all waste was handled by responsible waste collectors.
Local authority Wasteserv from the Ministry for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, has sponsored the relevant bins required to ensure that correct infrastructure was in place for Valletta 2018’s main events. Both the Valletta 2018 Foundation and local supplier General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd, have sponsored collection services of recyclable materials after main events.
According to the results shown in reports by collection contractors, so far over 850kgs of recyclable materials were recovered from seven of Valletta 2018’s main events in 2018 and diverted from landfill. The Valletta 2018 Foundation has taken a proactive approach to managing these resources on site and has had excellent levels of engagement and positive feedback from attendees, as effective recycling systems at events on this scale in Malta are only now becoming more of a priority.
IMAGE: Malta Tourism Authority
Reducing Single-Use Plastic Consumption
Water refill systems onsite at events have encouraged a shift from the single use of plastic bottles. This initiative promotes a focus on the life-cycles of materials by offering complimentary reusable water bottles to production teams and people attending events. For this particular initiative, The Valletta 2018 Foundation paired up with Aquani, a local water dispenser supplier which was fully supportive of the Foundation's efforts to steer away from the single-use culture. Aquani sponsored both dispensers and water at the European Capital of Culture’s key events. Presently, over 812 litres of water has been consumed from dispensers during events, which equates to the avoidance of 1,624 small single-use bottles in circulation in the local waste systems.
In an additional effort to reduce environmental impact and promote responsible consumption, pop-up vendors who are engaged at Valletta 2018’s events are encouraged to eliminate as much single-use plastic from their service as possible and promote sustainable alternatives such as reusable glass jars, paper or bamboo straws and biodegradable disposables as opposed to polystyrene. The use of environment-friendly cups, straws and other materials, as well as the adequate collection and disposal of waste, was also encouraged at the recent event, Mewġa Mużika, held at Mdina Ditch in September. For this event, more than 300 people from local communities came together to create a large orchestra, where people hailing from different backgrounds and age groups, with or without musical experience, gave an open-air performance at Mdina Ditch. Some of the instruments used by the members of this orchestra were created from recycled material and objects commonly found around the house.
The Valletta 2018 Foundation also sponsored ten consultations of local eateries, cafes and bars in which Sustainability consultant Global Green Events together with Valletta 2018’s Environmental Officer reached out to local businesses to encourage some positive changes within their service and operations.
IMAGE: Malta Tourism Authority
Raising Awareness and Promoting Education
Educational initiatives and community outreach have always been a core focus throughout the events and projects supported by Valletta 2018. Event producers are always encouraged to engage local NGOs and incorporate activities that raise awareness on both environmental and social issues.
During the Valletta Green Festival held in May, over 120 school children attended stop-motion animation workshops with Solar Cinema, focusing on upcycling materials to create stop-motion stories, which are then screened by a solar-powered projector. During this event, the public was also encouraged to engage in talks and educational displays held by local NGOs Sharklab Malta, Birdlife Malta, the Gaia Foundation and Żibel.
The Environmental Resource Authority promoted using local plants for landscaping and green roof projects as an effort to cultivate better populations of local biodiversity. In addition, a green roof was installed on the roof of the Main Guard in St George’s Square, Valletta. The public was invited to explore and discuss the concepts and benefits of such projects with local experts.
Solar Cinema stop-motion workshops for children were also held during Mewġa Mużika, encouraging the use of recycled material to create moving images.
IMAGE: Fran Stivala
Contributing towards easing traffic congestion and pollution in the city
A prominent environmental issue in Malta is congestion on the roads due to a rapidly growing economy and a high number of cars per capita. As part of its sustainable event initiatives, the Valletta 2018 Foundation collaborated with local bike-sharing company Nextbike Malta. This initiative involved sponsoring free minutes for all users during the four-day Valletta Green Festival, in an effort to encourage the public to embrace and experiment with emission-free transport to and from the city.
As Malta Public Transport have now also rolled out three new stations of Tallinja Bikes, which are dotted specifically around the capital, another promotion will run for both bike-sharing projects during Orfeo and Majnun: Sfilata fil-Kapitali. The latter is an upcoming open-air parade in the capital, being held on the 27th of October, with the participation of band clubs, musicians, storytellers, dancers and more.
Incorporating these sustainable event initiatives this year has been an exciting journey and very much a collaborative effort between the different entities all working towards shared sustainability goals. With the expert knowledge of sustainable event management of Global Green Events, and the invaluable sponsorship of General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd, Aquani and Wasteserv Malta, the Valletta 2018 Foundation has been able to confidently promote positive behavioural change during its key events. Working towards long-term sustainable impact will remain an important focus for Valletta 2018 during the remainder of the European Capital of Culture year.
To find out more about how the Valletta 2018 Foundation is driving cultural, social and economic regeneration in Valletta and the Maltese Islands through collaboration, exchange and innovative practice, please visit the official website of Valletta - European Capital of Culture 2018:
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