Fabian Demicoli

Waste of Electrical and Electronic EquipmentGRTU insists on Exemption from Eco Contribution






GRTU insists on Exemption from Eco Contribution – The Malta Chamber of Small and Meduim Enterprises continues to insist that if Government really wants to implement this Directive or as transposed in Maltese Law by Legal Notice Ln 63 of 2007, then the producer placing the product on the market has to be exempt from the payment of Eco Contribution. This is the one and only condition that remain a cardinal stalemate between the Authorities and the producers today. The Malta Environment and Planning Authority, MEPA, has recently set a plan for the implementation of this WEEE Directive.

Whilst it is indeed a step in the right direction, there will be no implementation of  any sort unless this matter is taken on board.

There are of course other restrictions for a country the size of Malta, mainly economies of scale. Whilst the Directive in the past obliged us to recover 4kg per capita the current recast of the WEEE Directive  will shortly change this to 65% of market placement. This will increase Malta's current obligation of a recovery of 1700 tons to over 8000 tons which is a very demanding figure. Not only demanding but the cost of recovery , dismantling, treatment processes and final recycling will be exorbitant.

This is a case in point where EU Directive s cannot continue to be placed on member states with the onus of one size fits all' . In real tangible terms we are looking at exorbitant end of life cycle costs which will be burdened on the end consumer. It is the end customer who will eventually bear the brunt. There are limits and limits as to how far the business community can internalise a cost factor and eat out of its current dismal profits, if any.

At a time when Governments all over the European Community are taking austerity measures to make sure that they keep their incomes and expenditure in check, we wake up to the realities of a Directive which if implemented will surely increase the costs of products to the end consumer.

Whilst we are firm believers in environmental obligations, we also see our limits. Our economies of scale cannot allow us to build new recycling plants for such materials. It is as such a fact that most of these articles recovered at civic amenity sites and through the present bulky refuse system, can be dismantled and partially treated locally, but in respect to final recycling , this has to be done at facilities outside Malta at a  very high cost, this without mentioning the cost of shipping which is also restrictive.

Placing all this together GRTU does not want to wake up to a scenario where the sales of a large household appliance becomes restrictive due to this implementation.

Of course we are committed towards a better environment but we need to make sure that we can actually sustain our commitments be they large or small. This is definately large.

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