Waste Statistics

Relevance

The NSO collects data about waste, primarily in response to Regulation (EC) No. 2150/2002 of the European Parliament as amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No. 849/2010 on waste statistics (WStatR).  This Regulation stipulates that member states should report the following data:

  • ​Waste generation by EWC-Stat waste category and economic activity (including households);
  • Waste treatment by EWC-Stat waste category and waste treatment type; and
  • Number and capacity/remaining capacity of waste treatment facilities.

Methodological description

Data is collected from all legally operating waste brokers and waste management facilities by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), and WasteServ Malta Ltd.

Additional sources of data are used to compile statistics on waste generation and treatment.  Data on the production of minerals from quarrying, as an indicator of waste which is generated by the soft-stone industry, is available from the results of the ‘Questionnaire on Minerals Production’ which is carried out by the NSO every two years.

Data on licensed motor vehicles, indicating waste generated by vehicles during their lifetime is sourced from the quarterly ‘Motor Vehicles’ news release. Data on scrapped motor vehicles is sourced from the ‘out-of-action’ database of Transport Malta.

The figure of the per capita household waste generation for organic and recyclable waste is derived from the ‘Household Waste Generation Survey’ carried out by the NSO in order to determine the generation of mixed waste from households.  The most recent survey was carried out for the reference year 2011/2012.

Accuracy and reliability of data

The NSO verifies the data submitted by ERA and WasteServ Malta Ltd, for implausible combinations, year-on-year inconsistencies, data gaps, and inconsistencies across facilities.  Queries are then sent to the data providers to update or verify the figures.  Such checks ensure that the overall quality of waste statistics is good.

Timeliness and punctuality of data

On a national level, two news releases related to waste statistics are produced and disseminated on the NSO’s website as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar, on a yearly basis.  These are the ‘Solid Waste Management’ and ‘Municipal Waste’ news releases, disseminated in year t+2.

Every two years, for each reference year, WStatR data is transmitted to Eurostat within 18 months following end of reference year.  Municipal waste data is transmitted annually to Eurostat within 11 months following end of reference year.

Accessibility and clarity of data

Waste statistics feature also in ad-hoc publications about environment statistics and sustainable development indicators which are available on the NSO’s website.

Quality reports of the WStatR and Municipal waste data collections are compiled according to established template and sent to Eurostat with every data delivery.   A similar report is produced at a national level and is available on the NSO’s metadata website.   

Coherence and comparability / consistency of data

Countries that report data for the WStatR and Municipal waste in general, use common definitions and classifications and so the comparability between countries is fairly high.  However problematic issues with the definition for municipal waste are still unresolved leading to different coverage of waste streams from one country to the next.  Another area of concern is the waste generation by economic activities as countries do not use common approaches to produce these figures.

In general, data for waste generation from 2004 onwards is comparable.  However, due to the revision of the WStatR in 2010, some data is only comparable from 2010 onwards.

The waste treatment dataset is only comparable from 2010 onwards.  Between 2004 and 2008, data about waste treatment was collected in three different data sets covering waste incineration, recovery, and disposal.  Data had to be reported according to aggregates of waste categories which were specific to each of these datasets.  Moreover, the revision of the Regulation has split up the waste treatment categories ‘Recovery’ into ‘ Recovery other than energy recovery - Except backfilling’ and ‘Recovery other than energy recovery – Backfilling’, and ‘Incineration’ into ‘Incineration’ and ‘Energy Recovery’.

For municipal waste data, the comparable time series covers data from 2004 onwards. For the compulsory variables (municipal waste generation, recycling, composting and digestion, incineration for disposal, energy recovery, and coverage of the collection system) the comparable time series goes back to 1999.

All published or reported waste statistics are produced with the same source data.  However, the different methodological guidelines which are applied limit the comparability of results across different reporting obligations and published data.

Malta does not use statistical units to link waste generation to economic units, and so there is a lack of comparability with other statistical domains. 

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