Fabian Demicoli

WASTE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT DIRECTIVE

The business community led by GRTU continues to be baffled by Government‘s laissez faire attitude in respect to the implementation of the WEEE Directive in Malta. Would this attitude be just because it cannot afford to lose an income of 8million Euros from Eco Contribution receipts?

Or is it because the Authorities are somehow aware that Malta being so small will not face any infringement notice from the EU? Or is it because once it does receive an infringement notice it would ask the producers to fork out the bill, because this WEEE Directive is a direct producer responsibility and not the Government's?

The current MEPA WEEE register shows an amount of producers who have registered as WEEE producers but as yet have not taken any further steps because they are paying Eco Contribution heftily for all EEE products they place on the market.

And now the WEEE Directive has been amended drastically by the EU Commission and whilst we priorly had an obligation to recover 4kg per capita , our next obligation is recovery and recycling of 45% of any EEE goods placed on the market The 4kilos per capita represented approximately 12% of market placement. At 4kilos per capita Malta did nothing about this Directive, we failed miserably, and so GRTU is baffled and what the next step would be!

 Again, is it one of those Directives that can wait till after an election? If so, we are living in pitiful times. Environmental issues have no elections, they proceed day in day out and continue to be a hazard to our health. And strangely enough whilst well aware we can do much better, Authorities continue to linger?

There is one answer to all this. Minister Demarco should stand up and be counted. He knows that the policy in respect to this WEEE Directive is blatantly wrong. He has been told a million times over. Maybe some bright guy from Ministry of Finance has advised him that although producers are paying Eco Contribution, they are also legally liable to comply to the European Directive transposed into Maltese Legislation by Legal Notice 63 of 2007.

If this is the case then, once again we are in a sorry state. The stark reality is one, Government has not been able to come up with Euro 8 million income which he will lose if producers become exempt of payment of Eco Contribution due to their participation with a WEEE Compliance Scheme. 

It is all about lack of ideas, and lack of taking up challenges. It is all about beating round the bush. It is all about adding beaurocracy to beaurocracy. GRTU and other members of the business community have spend thousands of hours discussing implementation of the WEEE Directive. To date we have not come to terms…its been six long years….only one word can describe this…utterly disgusting from any point of view

To go one step further GRTU visited the EU Commission Environment Directorate on 17th November 2010. They were very surprised that Malta has legislation in place which impedes the swift introduction of this Directive. They also said they would take action. They never did or do we have an infringement notice hidden in someone's drawer. Time will tell.

The Business Community led by GRTU is only left with three options now…

1. Operate a WEEE Compliance Scheme at the expense of having to increase the retail price of all Electrical and Electronic Equipment being sold to end customers, and in doing so evading any future penalties. But this would mean an increase in all consumer prices.

2. Instruct all producers who are today paying Eco Contribution to deposit the Eco Contribution due at the Maltese Courts, and in doing so placing Government under further pressure to come to terms with the Business Community.

Government is failing miserably in this issue.

It is failing in its moral obligations towards society. It is failing in its obligation towards the Business Community led by GRTU that has worked hard to set up a Compliance Scheme, Green MT to logistically implement such a Directive. It is failing on the European front since it is nowhere near the past 4kg target!

GRTU asks one question? Does the Government really care?

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