Fabian Demicoli

GRTU Recommends to disregard Chamber of Commerce Recommendation on Waste Packaging Scheme

GRTU, through its fully owned subsidiary, Green Mt Limited would like to clarify the position in relation to its continued commitment to implement environmental legislation in a correct and sustainable manner.

 

GRTU's involvement and commitment goes way back a couple of years when it contested at large the introduction of a national refund scheme which would have burdened the public and retailers at large. However saying this, GRTU was committed to come up with a solution in respect to the collection of waste packaging.

GRTU had over two years ago provided government with national figures detailed in liri and cents in relation to an upgrade in collection of both organic and separate waste.

After long discussions in early 2007, GRTU decided to set up its environmental company, Green Mt Limited with full authority to set up Scheme Agreements that will enable business owners to meet their legal obligations at minimum cost and with the approved EU Directive. The subsidiary was established in mid 2007 and since then the company has obtained an operating permit for a Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Scheme and a permit for Waste Packaging is due by the end of July.

In relation to Waste Packaging Scheme (WPS), Green MT placed an application with MEPA as the Competent Authority in July 2007. Subsequently after discussions with Minister George Pullicino, this was put in abeyance so that the  three other Constituted bodies; Chamber of Commerce, FOI and MHRA, would together with GRTU form a company and hopefully operate a holistic Scheme. We were also advised By the Minister that we are not to reinvent the wheel, and as such the bodies together formed a task force for this project and had discussions with the already authorized WPS operated by GreenPak Ltd.

After a number of meetings, it transpired that Greenpak never placed all their cards on the tables in relation to costs and its operational framework, and that was proof enough to all the bodies then present on the negotiating table that this was not acceptable to our members. Business men were responsible at law for waste and they needed a 100% assurance that if a monopoly was to be created that they had the full confidence of the business community.

The Constituted Bodies, GRTU, Chamber of Commerce, FOI and MHRA were not satisfied that the quarterly and annual reports submitted by Greenpak Limited to MEPA according to their operational permit, up to March 2007, as these showed that these certificates showed that Green Pak had till then only 27 members placing on the market 358tons of Packaging waste. This proved that Green Pak did not have the necessary ability to meet the obligations as required at law and respected by business men.

The annual report for Greenpak ending 2007 shows that the Scheme has 93 members with a total registered tonnage of 2808 tonnes, placed on the market. This is only just over 4.6% of what is placed on the market today. Also to be noted is that the Certification of Recycling Processes and actual receipt of the waste packaging collected by this Scheme leave much to be desired.

GRTU believes from the evidence at its disposal, certificates were issued illicitly by two companies who do not have the authority at law to do so. Further more there is no audit trail of the waste which we are advised went for ‘export/recycling'.  Even worse the certification notes that 62 tonnes of Metal was sold or forwarded to a' local scrap merchant" which is not permitted at law.

It is also to be noted that the annual report submitted by Greenpak shows a collection of 1375tonnes which is just over 47% of the amount its members placed on the market. However it is also to be noted that these certifications show the following:

The facility which issued the illicit certification for the receipt of goods from Greenpak stated that it received 2.49 tonnes from 10thApril to 26th June 07,  599 tonnes on 30th September 07, and remarkably 766 tonnes on 21st December 07, a few days before the close of the calendar year.

Unless the company who actually received these goods forwards to MEPA the audit trail of how these goods were received and a definite audit trail of the goods, i.e. 279 tonnes of glass are mentioned to have been used in local road construction, then we will continue to state that the reports issued by Greenpak are just a paperwork exercise and continue further by saying that they are misleading their members accordingly. Their members would still carry the legal liability if it is found that the Scheme is operating in an irregular manner.

Based with these facts and the continued lack of openness from Greenpak, the Constituted Bodies informed the Minister for Environment that they will be setting up their own company as discussions with Greenpak had come to a halt.

The task force continued discussions until May 2008, when a meeting was held for Presidents and Director Generals of each of the constituted bodies.

During this meeting there was no agreement on the appointment of the Chief executive Officer of the Company and also on whether the Scheme would cater for a curbside collection.

The Constituted Bodies were aware from Day1, that obtaining an operating permit from Government required the inclusion of curbside collection and this involved the waste carriers which are duly represented by GRTU. To the other bodies, this was looked upon as a conflict of interest.

Today, GRTU, through Green Mt Limited is proud to make everyone aware that in coordination with Government, Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs, it takes care of the logistics for Recycle Tuesdays, inclusive of complaints and also recommendations or suggestions. GRTU basis its efforts on facts not on words. Recycle Tuesdays is here to stay and GRTU, through Green Mt will make sure it takes this operation over once it has an operating permit for the Waste packaging Compliance Scheme.

After the halt in discussions, Green Mt, worked on an operational plan for a permit to operate the Scheme on a NOT for PROFIT basis, in accordance with the terms of reference given to it by MEPA in August 2007.

GRTU, through Green Mt Limited has discussed and met all stakeholders involved in order to operate a holistic Scheme. The Local Councils Association has been a tremendous help in this aspect and we will continue to work with all those who have at heart the best of waste collection services for their localities.

We have also met and continue to meet representatives of the beverage sector and the entertainment and hospitality industry. We are on the way to reforming waste collection from a number of aspects.

We have also had continued meetings with Wasteserv as the Scheme to be operated by Green Mt confirms its willingness to use the Materials Recovery Facility at Sant Antnin, which is the only approved facility in Malta of the sort. And it is here that we would like to point out to the Competent Authority that Schemes must operate on alike for like basis.

Schemes need to have the same operational criterias, we cannot be enforced as a Scheme to use the facilities at Sant Antnin and others use facilities with no permit. In real terms this means that we are paying a fee for separation and have an agreement with Wasteserv that they will forward also audit trail of recycling processes of where the waste packaging will be exported, whilst other Schemes would be allowed to use these unpermitted facilities at merely a penny of the cost it will cost our Scheme.

GRTU is totally surprised at recent statements made by the Chamber of Commerce to support GreenPak when it well knows that the operations of the same Scheme leave much to be desired, and they cannot give to Chamber members and other enterprises the guarantees that the Chamber of Commerce, FOI, MHRA and GRTU have been insisting all along; that the scheme operated by GreenPak is accordingly operating its Scheme to EU Directives and infringement will not revert back to the enterprise taking part in their Scheme. This is the commitment that the Scheme operated by GRTU will satisfy.

 

GRTU, through Green MT Ltd, confirms that it will shortly have a permit to operate a NOT for Profit Waste Packaging Compliance so that all producers can join and be in conformity to Legal Notice 277 of 2006 with the security that their legal obligations at law are being taken care of.

 

GRTU's advice to Maltese businesses and enterprises is to disregard the Chamber's of Commerce advice and to await the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs final approval of the GRTU proposed Scheme and then to take a final decision only when two Schemes are available on the market.

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