Fabian Demicoli

Packaging Waste Compliance Scheme Green MT meeting for producer members


Green MT, the National Authorised
Packaging and Packaging Waste Compliance Scheme has held a meeting for its
Producer Members on Friday 25th April 2014. The meeting was addressed by GRTU
President, Mr Paul Abela who outlined how and why GRTU took up this
environmental responsibility for the business community through the setting up
of its own subsidiary Green MT in 2007.

In his opening address, Mr Abela
explained that at the time a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between
four Constituted Bodies to set up a company to take care of the Environmental
legal obligations of producers of packaging waste. This company, named UniGreen
Environmental, however never took off and out of all the Constituted bodies who
had committed themselves to Government on 25th October 2007, only GRTU took up
the responsibility through the setting up of Green MT.  Mr Abela
informed those present that establishing the legislation and the parameters so
that a pilot project for the collection of packaging waste funded by private
enterprises would take off was no easy task. Discussions were held with many entities
and Authorities, including the then Ministry for Finance, Ministry for
Resources and Rural Affairs, Department of Local Government, Wasteserv and
Local Councils Association, amongst others.

The initial pilot project in 2009
covered only 11 producers who financed the Scheme for its logistical operations
as of July 01, 2009. Since then the members have increased to over 1300 and
they continue to finance the Scheme accordingly. Paul Abela thanked the members
present for their continued support to the Scheme.

The meeting was then addressed by Green
MT CEO Joe Attard who firstly outlined that a Press Release issued through DOI
on 5th August 2011 ( PR1497) duly outlined that any insinuations made by anyone
alleging that Green MT reported weight factors which it did not recover were
without basis and the Scheme never included any packaging waste which it did
not recover. Mr Attard further outlined that operational permits were issued to
the Scheme for and up to December 2014.

During a technical presentation he
outlined the figures of market placement by producer members of the Scheme year
by year also what the Scheme was legally obliged to recover. In addition he
further explained that Legal Notice 84 of 2010 and Legal Notice 277 of 2006
were two distinct legal notices, however, a producer member could either need
to comply to one or both legislations accordingly.

Mr Attard outlined that in the year
2010, the Scheme was aware that the obligations of its just 120 members who
stated that they placed on the market 11,659 tons thus a maximum collection of
8161 tons would be effected by end May 2010 and as thus started discussions
with the same Authorities of the day and also the Approving Body to make sure
that an enforcement structure is put in place so that additional tonnage,
(excess tonnage) collected by the Scheme would be funded from such enforcement.
These discussions took until May 2011 when it was made aware that the Scheme
actually collected 14,131 tons. This clearly meant that the Scheme was able to
recruit members to the system who together placed on the market at least 20,187
tons. Since only 11,659 tons were registered with the Scheme in 2010 it showed
that Green MT had to receive a contribution for the additional 8,528 tons not registered
with the Scheme in 2010.

Enforcement through MEPA was agreed and
a MEPA circular dated May 01, 2011 was sent to many producers who were not
complying with the legislation. It outlined that it was providing a six day
time frame for producers to come in line or else face stiffer penalties or
fines. The circular further outlined that those joining an authorised Scheme
during the coming two months would still face penalties or administrative fines
for past non compliance but at €100 per ton of market placement after January
01, 2010. Mr Attard further outlined that on 7th March 2013 Green MT was
advised that in 2011 MEPA issued 1255 penalties amounting to over
€642,000. In the year 2012, 50 penalties were prepared amounting to €96,000 but
were never sent to producers. In addition whilst a good number of these fines
were paid there were others who opted not to pay and face legal action from
MEPA.

Further information requested by the
Scheme in relation to this aspect was never answered by MEPA despite making
these requests under the auspices of the Aarhaus Convention to their
Enforcement Directorate.

Mr Attard informed those present that
Green MT always went to the Authorities with tangible solutions as in the case
of excess tonnage collected in 2010 and never took funds which were not coming
from those producers who never complied with the legislation. The excess
tonnage amounted to a value of €810,065 of which €670,000 has been paid to the
Scheme and the remaining balance should be paid after Price Water House Coopers
checked the financial audit of the Scheme for 2010.

Green MT CEO continued saying that
currently accounts up to end 2010 have been presented to MFSA and Nexia BT is
working on the environmental audits for 2011 and 2012 whilst accounts for year
2011 and 2012 should be finalised by end of June 2013.

Mr Attard continued saying that
enforcement of any sort ceased from 1st January 2012 and to date there seems to
be none in place. He augured that once Environment and Resources Authority
enforcement would be much stronger and will reap the desired results. At this
stage however no discussions of any nature have been held to date.

Green MT's CEO continued saying that
even though some media reports alleged a number of irregularities affected by
the Scheme a collective Board decision agreed not to answer these allegations.
Those present should rest assured that Green MT is there to affect its legal
obligations towards its members.  Every
Compliance Scheme should be treated in the same manner and a fair level playing
field should be ensured.

The meeting closed with the CEO thanking
all members present and those who could not attend, the employees, The Board of
Directors, the Government Authorities and Ministries that Green MT has come
across over the years, the contractors, but last and not least the public in
general, residents of Malta and Gozo who in four and a half years managed to
collect just over 55,000 tons of recyclable waste, instead of sending it to the
landfill.

Green MT is an authorised Packaging
Waste Compliance Scheme duly authorised by the Malta Environment and Planning
Authority. Further information can be obtained by contacting our offices on 21
49 6965/6 during office hours.

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