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. This Directive covers all packaging placed on the European market and all packaging waste. Furthermore, it aims:
- To harmonise national measures concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste, in order to prevent any impact thereof on the environment and thus, 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 other forms 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 lightweight plastic carrier bags. The transposition of the said Directive was carried out through the publication of Legal Notice 227 of 2017, which amended the Waste Management (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations (S.L 549.43).
The latter amended regulation 10 of S.L. 549.43 and introduced the provision whereby national measures, which may include the use of national reduction targets, economic instruments and marketing restrictions, 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; or
- 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.
To this effect, regulation 10 of the Waste Management (Packaging and packaging Waste) Regulations, S.L. 549.43, particularly paragraph (b) of sub-regulation (1), is to be amended with the aim to specify the measure that Malta has adopted to achieve a sustained reduction in the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags.
The draft amending Regulations therefore refer to the use of option (b) above, thereby indicating that the measure adopted shall include the imposition of fees and tariffs as provided for by the Excise Duty Act, Cap. 382, depending on the environmental impact of lightweight plastic carrier bags when they are recovered or disposed of, their composting properties, durability or specific intended use.
The draft Regulations amending Subsidiary Legislation 549.43 – the Waste Management (Packaging and Packaging Waste) Regulations may be viewed here.
The Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change and the Environment and Resources Authority welcomes any feedback on the proposed amendments.
The Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change and the Environment and Resources Authority shall take into consideration your concerns and comments.
Waste Management (Packaging and Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations – EN
Waste Management (Packaging and Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations – MT
Post Consultation Brief on the packaging regulations