Establishment of mandatory separation of waste within national waste legislation

Start date:  7 November 2022

Closing date: 5 December 2022

Title of the public consultation: Establishment of mandatory separation of waste within national waste legislation

Ministry: Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise

Entity: Environment & Resources Authority

 

1. Background

To date, there are no legal obligations on households, businesses and government entities alike to separate waste at source, resulting in a significant share of recyclable waste resources being disposed of as mixed residual waste (i.e. the black bag). The Waste Management Plan for Malta 2021 – 2030 identifies the establishment of mandatory waste separation as a key measure to increase recycling efforts and the quality of recyclable material, as well as decrease the amount of waste being landfilled, in line with EU commitments. Two Legal Notices (LNs) are being proposed with the aim of introducing mandatory separation at source requirements within national legislation, namely:

  1. The Waste (Amendment) Regulations, 20XX; and
  2. The Abandonment, Dumping and Disposal of Waste in Streets and Public Places of Areas (Amendment) Regulations, 20XX.

 

2. Overview of the proposed draft LNs

The first LN amends the Waste Regulations (S.L. 549.63) and introduces a new regulation 12A with a duty upon every person to separate the following waste streams at source prior to their separate collection:

  • paper;
  • metal;
  • plastic;
  • glass;
  • bio-waste; and
  • any other waste stream as determined by the Minister.

This would apply to every person – including households, businesses, government buildings, etc., and regardless of whether waste is generated at home, at work, or in public places.

Co-mingled collection of certain waste streams may be allowable if carried out in line with the provisions of Schedule 3 of S.L. 549.40 – at present, this refers to the co-mingled door-to-door collection of recyclable paper, plastic and metal in the grey/green bags.

As regards waste generated in public places (at beaches, walking in the streets, etc), this new obligation will apply where relevant bins for the separate collection are so available to the public.

The second Legal Notice amends the Abandonment, Dumping and Disposal of Waste in Streets and Public Places of Areas Regulations (S.L. 549.40) so as to introduce the obligation to separate waste as a new Regulation 4B, by cross-referencing to the obligation within regulation 12A of the Waste Regulations.

The following applicable fine (ammenda) for failing to separate waste correctly are being proposed:

For waste from commercial establishments:

  • 1st contravention: reprimand and admonition (warning);
  • 2nd contravention: €75
  • Subsequent contraventions: €150

For any other instance/establishment (including households):

  • 1st contravention: reprimand and admonition (warning);
  • 2nd contravention: €25
  • Subsequent contraventions: €50.

Notably, the enforcement of this obligation will be carried out gradually by the respective authorities (ERA, LESA & Police) in a phased approach, so as to allow for a period of adaptation. To ensure transparency and legal certainty, the enforcement plan shall be published in the Government Gazette by the Minister responsible for the environment.

Amendments to the following regulations within S.L. 549.40 are also being proposed in relation to this requirement:

  • Regulation 8(1): to ensure that every hawker or street seller operating in a public place, is to have such number of bins as approved by Government during its operating times, to allow for source separation of waste generated;
  • Schedule 3: to include a cut-off date (i.e. one year from publication of the Legal Notice) by which all mixed waste placed for door-to-door collection must be in transparent bags, as opposed to current black bags.

Other ancillary amendments to S.L. 549.40 being proposed through this Legal Notice include:

  • Amendment to regulation 10(4) to allow for a minimum fine of €400 to be applicable in certain instances relating to unlawful dumping of waste where the amount of waste is considered minimal, as opposed to current minimum fine of €3,000 for dumping of any waste not listed in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of regulation 10(4); and
  • Amendment to regulation 12(1) to make the person dumping waste within certain sites of historical or environmental importance liable of an additional fine (multa).

 3. Consultation

In line with Article 55 of the Environment Protection Act (Cap. 549), the public is invited to make submissions to ERA with their comments as to why and how these draft regulations could be amended.

4. Documents

Waste (Amendment) Regulations, 20XX

Regolamenti tal-20XX li jemendaw ir-Regolamenti dwar l-Iskart

Abandonment, Dumping and Disposal of Waste in Streets and Public Places of Areas (Amendment) Regulations, 20XX

Regolamenti tal-20XX li jemendaw ir-Regolamenti dwar l-Abbandun, ir-Rimi u t-Tneħħija ta’ Skart Fit-Toroq u f’Postijiet jew Żoni Pubbliċi

5. Submission of feedback

Comments will be received by email on era.policy@era.org.mt by 5th December 2022

 6. Further notes

Please be informed that comments submitted, together with the identity of the contributor, may be published online at the end of the public consultation, unless the contributor objects to the publication of his/her personal data. In this case, the contribution may be published in anonymous form.

All comments submitted will be duly considered.