Keywords: plastic bottles, risk society, environmental sociology, consumer society, Malta, social impacts, liberalisation, returnable bottles, glass bottles, disposable bottles, Ulrich Beck, Michael Cahill, quantitative surveys, local opposition, financial contributions, environmental improvements, waste management, sustainability, sustainable development, consumerism, soft drinks, beverages, consumer attitudes, packaging, Attard, Marsascala, bottling plants, refuse collection, recycling, Europe, green economics
The social impact of liberalisation of plastic bottles in Malta
This paper analyses the social impact of liberalisation of plastic bottles in Malta, wherein the system of returnable glass bottles has effectively been replaced by a system of disposable plastic bottles. The paper applies concepts such as Ulrich Beck's (1992) 'risk society', and Michael Cahill's (1994) 'consumer society' to the issue under research. A quantitative survey administered in two Maltese localities shows that whilst there is a wide-ranging opposition towards the plastic bottles system, at the same time, most respondents are not ready to make financial contributions for a better environment. Such perceptions are compared with those of European counterparts.