Fabian Demicoli

Phasing out of the Eco Contribution and Implementation of the WEEE Directive

GRTU has this week held a consultation meeting with the private operators interested in the new measure announced in the Budget that announced the phasing out of the eco-contribution on electrical and electronic equipment and the implementation of the Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive on all such goods.

In general the WEEE Directive covers all products that are plugged to the electricity supply or work with batteries. These are grouped under 10 categories: Large household appliances, Small household appliances, IT and telecommunications equipment, Consumer equipment, Lighting equipment (with the exception of household luminaires), Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools), Toys, leisure and sports equipment, Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products), Monitoring and control instruments and Automatic dispensers. A full list of products can be found on page 17 of the following link: http://bit.ly/1zT54V3. The measure as announced in the Budget requires that all operators introducing such products for a commercial purpose in the Maltese market register with a compliance scheme that will take care of the collection of such goods and their further handling (dismantling, recycling, etc…) as required by the Directive. Such operators are also given the option of presenting a detailed plan of how they intend to comply with the requirements of the Directive on their own. This must be done by end June 2015. Government is committed that only once everything is in place and working correctly will the eco-contribution be removed as of 1st September 2015.

The shift from eco-contribution to WEEE is however very complex. For one it will introduce an environmental contribution on many products that were not subject to eco-contribution, therefore this effects hundreds product types. Also to consider is the fact that the implementation of the Directive will on average reduce the environmental contribution on products that were subject to eco contribution but it might also increase such contribution on a few of the products. An additional element that requires assessment is the level of preparedness of local service providers carrying out the requirements of the Directive and the role our limited economies of scale (cost advantageous linked to size), in comparison to other larger countries, plays in the level of prices for a particular service.

During the meeting various options were discussed and members were asked for their feedback on a number of ideas presented by the GRTU of how the Directive could be implemented.

An area of great concern is the lack of faith of members in enforcement by the Authorities. While members have all the good intentions of adhering to the requirements of the Directive they are very concerned about free riders and the lack of enforcement by MEPA in this case. Our experience with the Waste Packaging Directive is not a very positive one and the biggest issue is lack of enforcement by MEPA. Unless MEPA is serious in its enforcement efforts and guarantees are put in place in this regard, the implementation of the Directive will not be a successful one and as frequently happens the few will end up carrying the burden for the rest.

This was the first of many meetings and consultations to be held as GRTU wants to give its members the full opportunity to participate. GRTU wants to make sure the new system is a fair one, does not overburden operators and does not negatively affect their competitivity.

Members can obtain a more detailed set of minutes of the meeting by sending an email on .

 

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