Fabian Demicoli

Waste Compliance Penalties – The lies, the innuendoes and the responsibilities

It is an outright lie that Green MT is responsible in any way for the current penalties being placed by MEPA, the Competent Authority, on producers/importers who have not complied with Waste Packaging Regulations, legally binding since 2006.

 

MEPA was fully aware that in 2006 alone, 1700 producers registered with the same Authority as producers of Packaging Waste in the market. At the time they stated that these 1700 producers place 60,000 tons of packaging waste on the market. However despite registering with MEPA, only a handful went any further and registered as members of Authorised Waste Packaging Compliance Schemes.

It was only recently that MEPA decided, based on the figures that it had in hand, that those who did not comply to the legislation, should not only be made further aware, but also set up a penalty procedure for those who continue to be free riders, by not joining an Authorised Waste Compliance Scheme following registration with MEPA.

Let us be very blunt. An importer is responsible for placing his packaging waste in the market. It is not only a legal obligation but also a moral one. Those who think otherwise are guided wrongly. At GRTU we have been insisting with all sectors of the business community that the responsability and the legal obligations are both there. We have not only stressed this, but have worked hard to make sure that importers and producers both register with the Competent Authority and also join Authorised Waste Packaging Schemes.

And yes we are proud to state that Green MT has the largest amount of producers registered today, over 1000 who declare that they together place over 16,000 tons of packaging waste in the market. This is the tip of the iceberg. Green pak have also increased their membership base and their respective volume of tonnage placed on the market by their members. However when one adds the volumes of both Schemes, the figure currently does not exceed 30,000 tons. So somewhere out there, producers and importers are placing a further 60,000 tons of packaging waste which is neither reported or registered with the Competent Authority, MEPA, and thus neither contributing in any way to the financial burdens of the system. It is estimated that 90,000 tons will be placed in the market in 2011.

Of course, MEPA stood up to be counted. Someone might say it was quite late in the day, but better late then never. And yes some producers were strictly let off scott free for the years 2006 to 2009! Just a €50 penalty per year for not complying. For 2010 MEPA decided to charge a €100 per ton for any packaging placed in the market as an administrative penalty for non compliance.

For those who registered after May 2nd 2011, this penalty applies. For those who are registering with MEPA and a Scheme as from July 01, 2011, a penalty of Euro 120 per ton is in place. And yes, this penalty will continue to increase until MEPA decides it is fair and reasonable for all producers to come on board.

The message is loud and clear, comply now and respect your obligations to the Environment. If a producer is caught as a free rider six years down the line from now, he will be liable of administrative penalties back to 2006.

On another perspective to these penalties, GRTU is perplexed by those who should know better. And even more perplexed when we realise that a member of Parliament who of course has a right to own a business, continues to blatantly state that he is paying the salary of Green mt staff, because MEPA imposed penalties for his non compliance to the legislation since 2006. It is disgraceful, to say the least, that a prominent member of Parliament has the audacity to literally phone the Scheme and state such words.  

The members of the highest institution in the country have a responsability to shoulder. They should shoulder it without fail and not be the prime movers of insinuations of the sort.

The legal and moral obligations in respect to Waste Packaging Legislation is here to stay. GRTU is proud that through its subsidiary, Green mt, this responsability is being shouldered for the good of both the members of the Scheme and also the community in general, on a not for profit basis.

Taking care of our environment is not only our responsability, but also the responsability of each and every member of Parliament too. Let those who have ears listen!

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