CONSULTATION BRIEF ON THE REDUCTION OF LIGHTWEIGHT PLASTIC CARRIER BAGS (DRAFT REGULATIONS AMENDING THE WASTE MANAGEMENT [PACKAGING AND PACKAGING WASTE] REGULATIONS)

1. BACKGROUND TO DIRECTIVE 94/62/EC ON PACKAGING AND PACKAGING WASTE

European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste (hereinafter referred to as Directive 94/62/EC) was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 31 December 1994. Directive 94/62/EC aims:

  • To harmonise national measures concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste to prevent any impact thereof on the environment and providing a high level of environmental protection;
  • To ensure the functioning of the internal market, avoiding barriers to trade as well as averting market distortion and restrictions within the Community; and
  • To prevent the production of packaging waste and at reusing packaging, at recycling and otherforms of recovering packaging waste, thus reducing the disposal of such waste.

Malta has transposed the provisions of Directive 94/62/EC under Subsidiary Legislation 549.43 – the Waste Management (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations, 2007, as published by Legal Notice 277 of 2006 (hereinafter referred to as S.L. 549.43).

2. REDUCING THE CONSUMPTION OF LIGHTWEIGHT PLASTIC CARRIER BAGS

Directive (EU) 2015/720 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 amends Directive 94/62/EC so as to reduce the consumption of light weight plastic carrier bags. Directive (EU) 2015/720 is to be transposed by the Member States by 27 November 2016.

To this effect, The Waste Management (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations, 2007, are to be
amended.

The following amendments to the national Legislation are being proposed:

a) Introduction of new definitions

Amendments to regulations 3 of the principal Regulations, as per regulation 3 of this amendment, aim to introduce new definitions, mainly the definition of “plastic carrier bags”, “lightweight plastic carrier bags”, “very lightweight plastic carrier bags” and “oxo-degradable plastic carrier bags”.

 

b) Introduction of new measures to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags

Amendments to regulation 10 of the principal Regulations, as per regulation 4 of this amendment, introduces the provision whereby national measures, which may include the use of national reduction targets, economic instruments and marketing restriction are to be adopted, with the aim to achieve a sustained reduction in the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags within the territory of Malta. Such measures shall include either or both of the following:-

  • measures ensuring that the annual consumption level does not exceed 90 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person by 31 December 2019 and 40 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person by 31 December 2025, or equivalent targets set in weight; and
  • instruments ensuring that by 31 December 2018, lightweight plastic carrier bags are not provided free of charge at the point of sale of goods or products, unless equally effective instruments are implemented.

 

c) Reporting by producers of packaging or packaging material

Amendments to Part B of Schedule 5 of the principal Regulations, as per regulation 5 of this amendment, requires producers to report on an annual basis the quantity of plastic carrier bags put on the national market, by weight and by thickness.

3. COMMENTS

The draft Regulations amending Subsidiary Legislation 549.43 – the Waste Management (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations may be viewed on http://era.org.mt/en/Pages/Active-Public-Consultations.

The Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change and the Environment  and Resources Authority welcomes any feedback on the proposed amendments.

You may wish to submit any comments by 7th October 2016 on the following email addresses:: contact.waste@era.org.mt or eu.affairs@era.org.mt.

The Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change and the Environment and Resources Authority shall take into consideration your concerns and comments.

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