Fabian Demicoli

Compliance to Environment Legislation Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

Green MT, is a
National Waste Packaging Compliance Scheme authorised by the Malta Environment
and Planning Authority. Its aim is to provide legal compliance to its producers
with the best technology at the lowest of cost.

The legal
obligation of an importer in relation to the above legislation lies with Legal
Notice 277 of 2006. Every importer or local manufacturer who places packaging
waste on the market, the market being Malta or Gozo, is obliged to comply to
the above legislation. There are two ways as to how an importer or a
manufacturer placing packaging waste in the Maltese waste stream can comply,
either by joining an Authorised Scheme or by Self Compliance.

If an importer
joins a Scheme it will be the Scheme that will have the obligation to comply on
his behalf in respect to the legislation. This is done against a related
payment to the Scheme. Should the producer opt for self compliance he is duty
bound to cover his obligation by collecting 60% of his own packaging, using an
authorised handler who complies to Legal Notice 106 of 2007, who in turn
delivers the material to an authorised waste management facility, who then
issues certification of receipt and eventually a final certificate that the
material has been sent to an authorised recycling facility abroad. Self
Compliant members also need an attestation from their auditors that shows a
full audit trail of this procedure.

In Malta, in 2010
there were 766 producers who claimed that they were self complaint. These
producers placed over 15,700 tons of packaging waste on the market.
Collectively these 766 recovered 566 tons of packaging waste from the market,
when their legal obligation was 7850 tons. Less then 8% of producers complied.

In 2011, MEPA
advised that there were now 559 producers who were still declaring self
compliance. The weight of market placement of these producers was not available
as at 7th March 2013.

In 2012, the
National Waste Register shows that the amount of self compliant producers has
decreased to 159 producers. This means either of both of the following
scenarios. Either both existing Authorised Schemes increased their membership
base by 400 or else 400 ‘self declared, self compliant producers' did not renew
their annual registration with MEPA. From the Annual Reports issued by both
Authorised Schemes to MEPA there was nowhere near an increase of 400 member
producers. In fact there were a sizeable number of deregistrations, meaning a
number of producers who instead of renewing informed MEPA that they no longer
place packaging waste on the market. These amounted to around 260.

So the
situation is that these 400 have become free riders on the system, meaning that
whilst those known to MEPA are either Scheme members and paying a Scheme
financially, these 400 are known to MEPA or were known to MEPA and have been
allowed an easy escape channel out of compliance to this legislation.

Importers and
local manufacturers placing packaging waste on the market are reminded that
compliance to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Legislation remains a must.
MEPA had issued a stern warning way back in 2011 stating that every producer is
liable to administrative and other legal proceedings unless the producer
complies. This means that escaping from the system and not paying now to any
Scheme, and not self complying does not mean that an importer or producer can
take it for granted that all is well. The producer continues to shoulder the compliance
liability and MEPA can one day take the related action and they would be made
to face the liabilities.

We say this
with the full responsibility that we are not in favor of any type of
environmental lack of compliance. There needs to be a fair and level playing
field for all producers, as it highly unfair that a number of producers pay the
Schemes or self comply, (although self compliance is only done in reality by an
honest few), whilst other make sure they do nothing about their legal
obligation and in turn continue to destabilize a number of sectors?

A tangible
example, why should importer A who is a Scheme paying member, actually finance
the operation of a Scheme while his competitor B runs havoc, imports from the
EU or any other country and does not self comply to the legislation or become a
Scheme member?

Of course,
these situations are not acceptable, and this is a call to all those who have
their own businesses at heart to make sure that they become Scheme paying
producers as soon as possible or else face the consequences of enforcement, if
they are free riders or even declared as self compliance but produce no
evidence of self compliance.

Some might at
present think that since there is a lack of enforcement, this will never come
into being and as such, they could continue and evade compliance. This is not
the case at all. Once the demerger issue at MEPA is settled, enforcement will
surely be there, and it will be smarter then ever before. This is the correct
way forward as only such actions by the Authorities will lead to a level
playing field. But never think that because enforcement is not on the ball
today, that it will never creep up to you. If you are a producer and you
currently think in this manner, then think twice! In time enforcement will
catch up on you.

GRTU and Green
Mt call on one and all in bona fede to comply to the Environmental Obligations
currently in place in respect to Packaging and Packaging Waste Legislation. Not
doing so now, could mean facing penalties or legal action from the Competent
Authority, today or tomorrow. Sooner or later this will have to be the case if
we want to continue to move on in the direction of the polluter pays principle
and the extended polluter pays principle.

about joining an Authorised Scheme or self complying can be obtained by
contacting MEPA or by contacting Green MT on 21496965 or by email on

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