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Frequently Asked Questions

REMOVAL OF ECO-CONTRIBUTION FROM ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT 

1. What exactly is the Budget Measure 2015 regarding the removal of eco-contribution on electrical and           electronic equipment (EEE)?   
2. What do I do if I have questions about the implementation and working of the revised WEEE                         regulations?
3. From which date is the eco-contribution on EEE products being removed?
4. Who are the producers of EEE?  
5. Shall the eco-contribution be removed from other (non-EEE) products? 
6. What are the legislative amendments that have been introduced to implement this first phase of the             eco-contribution reform? 
7. Where can one access the regulations? 
8. Was public consultation undertaken about these legislative amendments?
9. Are any new legal obligations being introduced on producers? 
10. What are the collection targets for WEEE that self-compliant producers and Schemes are obliged to               achieve? 
11. Why is a financial guarantee or waste recycling insurance required? 
12. What form shall the financial guarantee or waste recycling insurance take? 
13. Are producers obliged to join a Scheme? 
14. During the consultation process for the reform a capping of €50,000 on the bank guarantee was                   being proposed but has been removed from the final version of the legislative amendments.  Why? 
15. What is the expected level of bank guarantee or waste recycling insurance for producers who join a               Scheme and for those who opt to be self compliant? 
16. Is there a minimum level for the bank guarantee for those producers who place a small anount of EEE           on the market? 
17. There is a marked preference in the amended regulation towards those producers who join a scheme.           Why? 
18. Are authorised WEEE Facilities impacted by the regulations? 
19. What will happen to WEEE collected by Local Councils and by WasteServ Malta (WSM)? 
20. Why was it considered necessary that Government agencies (WSM and Local Councils) hand over                   WEEE collected by means of publicly funded schemes to the WEEE Schemes? 
21. What fee will WSM charge for the WEEE it distributes to WEEE Schemes? 
22. Will WSM take over the work presently carried out by WEEE Facilities? 
23. Are producers expected to indicate whether they will be self-compliant or whether they will be                     particpating in an authorised WEEE Scheme? 
24. What are the repercussions for producers who fail to register/renew with the regulator (Mepa)? 
25. How will a level playing field be ensured particularly because of defaulting free-riders? 
26. Will Scrap Metal Facilities be allowed to operate WEEE Schemes? 
27. Considering that in the case of producers who are ISO14001 and/or EMAS certified, the lifecycle of               EEE is checked during environmental audits mandated by such standards, is it possible to exempt such          producers from the need to install a bank guarantee or recycling insurance?
28. Once the eco-contribution on EEE is being removed, is there a legal obligation for producers to                     reduce EEE prices? If some producers reduce prices will not an unlevel playing field be created against           those who get caught up with a large EEE stock on which eco-contribution was already paid and will             therefore be unable to reduce prices?
29. Are as musical instruments and audio equipment exempted from the recovery obligations of the WEEE          regulations? 
30. How is distance selling and online shopping catered for in the WEEE regulations?
31. Do you have any further questions?

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1. What exactly is the Budget Measure 2015 regarding the removal of eco-contribution on electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)?
(i) In terms of the Budget 2015, “the Government is committed to reform the eco-contribution mechanism so that local businesses compete on a level playing field with foreign ones. The first phase of the reform will entail eliminating eco-contribution on electronic and white goods classified as WEEE items, by September 2015”.
(ii) This is fully in line with Government’s electoral manifesto as well as the Waste Management Plan for the Maltese Islands, 2014 – 2020. 
 
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2. What do I do if I have questions about the implementation and working of the revised WEEE regulations?
(i) In the first instance you should review the series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are presented below to see whether an answer to your query is already provided.
(ii) In the event that the FAQs do not provide the required information, you may contact directly the regulator either:
(a) Via email at weee@mepa.org.mt  or
(b) Via telephone on +356 2290 0000 / 2290 7240.
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3. From which date is the eco-contribution on EEE products being removed?
As from 01/09/2015.
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4. Who are the producers of EEE?
(i) The WEEE regulations are applicable to producers of EEE.  
(ii) Producers are all those who manufacture electrical and electronic equipment in Malta or import EEE into the customs territory of Malta (including by means of distance selling) and place it on the market in Malta on a professional basis, irrespective of the amount of EEE placed on the market.

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5. Shall the eco-contribution be removed from other (non-EEE) products?
(i) As announced in the Budget 2015 the removal of eco-contribution on EEE is the first phase of the reform. 
(ii) The second phase of the reform shall be carried out in the future. Discussions with the Ministry for Finance are being held in this regard.
(iii) Any proposals will be subject to discussion with all the stakeholders in the relevant sector.
6. What are the legislative amendments that have been introduced to implement this first phase of the eco-contribution reform?
The following legislative amendments have been introduced:

6.1 Amendments to the Eco-Contribution Act (Chapter 473 of the Laws of Malta)
(i) The First Schedule of this act has been amended to delete the product codes applicable to electrical and electronic equipment - as per Regulation 2 of the draft Eco-Contribution Act (Amendment of First Schedule) (No. 1) Regulations, 2015. 

6.2 Amendments to the Waste Management (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulation, 2014 (S.L.504.75)
(i) A new regulation 13A, as well as two new Schedules 13 and 14 to the principal Regulations have been introduced whereby each self-compliant producer or third parties acting on their behalf shall provide a guarantee or a waste recycling insurance when placing EEE on the market showing that the management of all WEEE will be financed. 
The level of guarantee/insurance is calculated on the basis of a flat rate per tonne of the average weight of EEE placed on the market in Malta in the three preceding years.
The bank guarantee or waste recycling insurance is intended to ensure that in the eventuality that a producer fails to achieve his/her obligations, ceases to trade or goes into liquidation, it would provide cover against the costs required for the management of that producer’s WEEE and thus limit the Government’s exposure to resultant liabilities.
(ii) Amendments to Regulation 16 of the principal regulations have also been introduced to ensure that any person who fails to register as a producer of EEE or renew his/her registration with the competent authority would be liable to a fine at a flat rate of €750 per tonne of EEE placed on the market in those years for which the individual should have registered or renewed his/her registration.

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7. Where can one access the regulations?
The regulations can be accessed through the following links:
8. Was public consultation undertaken about these legislative amendments?
Yes, extensive consultation was undertaken as follows:
(i) A number of meetings were held between the Minister for the Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change with Chamber of Commerce, the General Retailers and Traders Union and key stakeholders. These meetings were also attended by Ministry representatives, MEPA as the waste regulator and also, in some cases, the Ministry for Finance;
(ii) A special session was also held with the Malta Council for Social and Economic Development;
(iii) A public consultation session was also organised on the 05/05/2015 conjointly between the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC), MSDEC and MEPA;
(iv) The draft regulations were also published online on the websites of MSDEC, MEPA and the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs, and Civil Liberties (MSDC), inviting the general public and the relevant stakeholders to submit their comments via email by 8 May 2015;
(v) The feedback from the public consultation was largely taken on board by the Government and a final round of consultation was carried out with the Chamber of Commerce and GRTU on 24/06/2015.
 
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9. Are any new legal obligations being introduced on producers?
(i) No, no new legal obligations are being introduced.
(ii) All the key obligations that are the subject of this regulation are already in fact in place through the existing WEEE regulations (SL 504.75).  
(iii) The revised regulations seek to make compliance more effective through the implementation of stronger administrative measures.
(iv) On the contrary and as promised in the Budget 2015, rather than introducing new obligations, these regulations together with the amendments to the Eco-Contribution Act are in fact removing eco-contribution from EEE, thereby removing what Government and the relevant stakeholders considered to be double cost to producers.
(v) As a result the effect of these regulations should be at worse cost neutral and at best result in a cost saving - certainly so for the compliant producers.  
 
10. What are the collection targets for WEEE that self-compliant producers and Schemes are obliged to achieve?
Producers or Schemes acting on their behalf will be obliged to achieve the following collection targets, in line with the WEEE Regulations:

In 2015, 12% of amount placed on the market (translated from obligation of MS of 4 kg/capita/year)
In 2016, 42% of amount placed on the market 
In 2017, 45% of amount placed on the market 
In 2018, 50% of amount placed on the market 
In 2019, 55% of amount placed on the market 
In 2020, 60% of amount placed on the market 
In 2021, 65% of amount placed on the market 

For the purpose of the collection rate in a particular year the placement on the market is calculated as the average of the three (3) preceding years. 
 
 11. Why is a financial guarantee or waste recycling insurance required?
(i) This requirement stems from the WEEE Directive itself.
(ii) The bank guarantee or waste recycling insurance is intended to ensure that in the eventuality that a producer fails to achieve his/her obligations, ceases to trade or goes into liquidation, it would provide cover against the costs required for the management of that producer’s WEEE and thus limit the Government’s exposure to resultant liabilities.

12. What form shall the financial guarantee or waste recycling insurance take?
(i) The bank guarantee/insurance shall be drawn in favour of the Regulator (Mepa) and shall be one that provides the right level of guarantee/insurance in the event that the producer/Scheme defaults on its obligations.  In such event the Regulator shall be able to unilaterally withdraw such bank guarantee/insurance.
(ii) Producers/Schemes shall coordinate with the Regulator to ensure that the bank guarantee/insurance meets the requirements of the regulation.
(iii) It is acknowledged that there may be some iteration until a final model that is acceptable is formulated.  This is why producers are expected to register their intention to either self regulate or alternatively to participate in a Scheme by end August 2015. This will allow a period of 4 months for the producers/schemes and the regulator to agree on the form of the bank guarantee/insurance which shall be mandatory as from 01/01/2016.

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13. Are producers obliged to join a Scheme?
(i)     No, there is no such obligation.  In line with the EU WEEE Directive, producers may opt to be self-compliant or otherwise join a Scheme.  
(ii)    Producers are also obliged to register and annually renew their registration with the Competent Authority and to submit a financial guarantee to cover their obligations.
(iii)  Upon renewal, producers shall submit the information set out in Part B of Schedule 9 of the WEEE Regulations and are also obliged to ensure that a percentage of WEEE is collected and later recovered (or exported for recovery). Producers shall submit documentation/proof that the WEEE has been 
indeed sent to a recycling/recovery facility.
(iv)   Producer shall use the services of waste management undertakings in compliance with regulations 19 to 24 of Subsidiary Legislation 504.37 – the Waste Regulations, 2011, duly authorised by the Authority.
(v)    Producers shall use the services of an independent auditor, approved by the Competent Authority, to certify all of the information reported to the Authority.
(vi)  Those producers who join a scheme are exempt from part of the obligations laid down in the WEEE Regulations provided that they provide evidence, to the competent authority, of participating in an authorised WEEE Compliance Scheme.”

14. During the consultation process for the reform a capping of €50,000 on the bank guarantee was being proposed but has been removed from the final version of the legislative amendments.  Why?
(i) The original draft regulations provided for a capping of €50,000 on the bank guarantee as well as to differentiated levels of bank guarantees between self-compliant producers and those who join a scheme with the latter being given more favourable rates with the precise intention to induce participation in Schemes. 
(ii) During the public consultation most stakeholders highlighted the concern that capping the bank guarantee to a maximum of €50,000 would create an unlevel playing field in favour of the larger players as well as act as disincentive to producers to join a collective recovery. 
(iii) There was a minor segment that argued that the guarantee for self-compliant producers is too high and favours those who participate in a Scheme.
(iv) Considering that participation in a scheme is considered as more effective to induce higher recovery rates and considering that the majority lobbied for no capping it was decided to remove the capping.

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15. What is the expected level of bank guarantee or waste recycling insurance for producers who join a Scheme and for those who opt to be self compliant?
(i) The bank guarantee/waste recycling insurance is based on the declaration by a producer or a scheme about the amount of EEE placed on the market so that the level of the guarantee will be proportionately higher for larger producers. 
(ii) Self-compliant producers are obliged to provide a guarantee of €210 for every ton of the average EEE placed on the market in 2016 increasing to €325 per tonne in 2021 to reflect higher collection targets imposed by the WEEE Directive. By way of example therefore, a producer  who places an average of 50 tonnes of EEE on the market would require a bank guarantee of about €10,500 in 2016 increasing to €16,250 in 2021.  
(iii) On the other hand for those producers who opt to join a collective WEEE management scheme the proposed bank guarantee will be paid by the Scheme based on the EEE placed on the market by members. But the guarantee will be comparatively less than that required from self-compliant producers.   For example, for a producer with an average of 500 tonnes of EEE the Scheme would be required to submit a bank guarantee or insurance of about €10,500 in 2016 and increasing up to €16,500 in 2021.

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16. Is there a minimum level for the bank guarantee for those producers who place a small amount of EEE on the market?
Yes, for self-compliant producers, any amount of EEE placed on the market that is less than one (1) tonne shall be taken to be equal to one (1) tonne for all years..

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17. There is a marked preference in the amended regulation towards those producers who join a scheme. Why?
(i) Yes, there is a marked preference in favour of producers who join a scheme as opposed to those who opt to be self-compliant in that the level of financial guarantee required is much lower for the former.
(ii) Schemes are considered to offer the best overall approach to maximise mandated recoveries with obvious positive effects both from an environmental perspective and also from the perspective of the targets Malta is bound to achieve under the EU regulations
(iii) Schemes will have a large number of producers with them and therefore need to manage large amounts of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).  In this manner Schemes should be able to achieve economies of scale that would ensure that WEEE is managed in an environmentally sound manner and in the cheapest way possible.
(iv) In addition from a risk perspective, there is a greater risk of a self compliant producer defaulting and not managing to achieve his/her obligations, than all the producers in a collective scheme defaulting at the same time.  

18. Are authorised WEEE Facilities impacted by the regulations?
(i) For purposes of clarity one can distinguish between authorised WEEE Facilities that are mainly involved in on-the-ground operations to handle WEEE for purposes of recovery, recycling or storage for eventual export. These are distinct from authorised WEEE Schemes that are largely intended to take over the responsibilities of producers under the WEEE regulations.
(ii) WEEE Facilities are not directly impacted by these regulations in that they will still be able to continue their operations within the remit of their operational permit
(iii) WEEE Schemes on the other hand can either undertake recycling/export activity themselves or else subcontract it to authorised WEEE Facilities;
(iv) WEEE Facilities are therefore indirectly effected in that WEEE Schemes can offer competition unless they enter into mutually agreed arrangements to benefit from each other’s comparative advantage, whereby WEEE Facilities provide their services to Schemes and process part of the value chain. 

 
19. What will happen to WEEE collected by Local Councils and by WasteServ Malta (WSM)?
(i) Under existing arrangements Local Councils operate a bulky refuse system that could typically include WEEE.  This WEEE is normally transferred to WSM.  Likewise WSM operates Civic Amenity Sites that are also a depository of WEEE placed there by individuals.
(ii) The regulations provide that such type of WEEE shall be distributed amongst WEEE Schemes in proportion to the amount of WEEE placed on the market by the members.  
(iii) The regulations empower the Minister to designate a local agency to distribute such waste with the intention being that, to the extent that WEEE collected by Local Councils as well as that deposited at Civic Amenity Sites is managed by WSM.  It is intended that WSM be designated as the local agency to distribute such WEEE to the Schemes.
 
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20. Why was it considered necessary that Government agencies (WSM and Local Councils) hand over WEEE collected by means of publicly funded schemes to the WEEE Schemes?
(i) In the first instance, in terms of the requirements of the WEEE directive the financing of WEEE recovery should be borne by producers and this is why the WEEE collected by WSM/local councils shall be distributed to the WEEE Schemes at a price equivalent to the cost of recovery.
(ii) Secondly, it is not the intention of Government to compete with WEEE Schemes.  
 
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21. What fee will WSM charge for the WEEE it distributes to WEEE Schemes?
(i) The regulation empowers the designated local agency (WSM) to charge a fee that reflects the total cost of collection and storage. 
(ii) The cost to be charged to WEEE Schemes by WSM is however subject to the scrutiny and approval of the Minister.  This is to ensure that it is based solely on cost recovery. 
(iii) For the period 01/09/2015 to 31/12/2015 the fee to be charged by WSM has been established as €50 per tonne of WEEE.
(iv) The fee will be revised as from 01/01/2016 on the basis of cost recovery calculations by MSDEC that will be discussed with the WEEE Schemes.
 
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22. Will WSM take over the work presently carried out by WEEE Facilities?
(i) As stated earlier it is not Government’s intention for WSM to compete with the private WEEE Facilities or Schemes.
(ii) WSM will not be taking over the activities undertaken by WEEE Facilities. 

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23. Are producers expected to indicate whether they will be self-compliant or whether they will be particpating in an authorised WEEE Scheme?
(i) Yes producers are required to notify the regulator (Mepa) their intention to either participate in a WEEE Scheme or otherwise be self-compliant. Such notification shall be made on weee@mepa.org.mt.  Producers who are already registered with MEPA are to quote their respective WME reference number. 
(ii) They must do this by the end of August 2015. 

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24. What are the repercussions for producers who fail to register/renew with the regulator (Mepa)?
(i) Any producer or authorised representative who fails to apply for registration/renewal shall on conviction be liable to a fine of €750 per tonne of EEE placed on the market until s/he applies for registration/renewal.
(ii) This fine shall be chargeable to defaulters as from 01/09/2015. 

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25.
How will a level playing field be ensured particularly because of defaulting free-riders?
(i) Government has made it publicly clear that effective enforcement is kingpin to ensuring that Malta reaches its waste recovery targets and more so to ensure a level playing field amongst market players.
(ii) MSDEC is committed to recruit the right level of resources to strengthen the enforcement of the WEEE regulations and ensure compliance by all producers.
(iii) A penalty of €750 per tonne is chargeable to convicted defaulters as from 01/09/2015.
(iv) On a wider context Malta cannot afford to fail to reach its established waste collection, recovery and recycling targets since at EU-level this will have a very deleterious effect.
(v) Free riders will not be tolerated and the whole enforcement regime shall be enhanced to ensure Malta does not lose out.
 
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26. Will Scrap Metal Facilities be allowed to operate WEEE Schemes?
(i) Like all other operators in the Maltese Market operators of scrap metal facility are allowed to operate WEEE schemes subject to being able to demonstrate a feasible plan on how to operate and subject to them securing an operational permit from the Regulator. .  
(ii) Government, through the regulator, shall however monitor closely the situation to ensure that no practices that go against operational permits are undertaken.  It will also ensure that there is a clear demarcation between the scrap metal facility and the WEEE operations.

27. Considering that in the case of producers who are ISO14001 and/or EMAS certified, the lifecycle of EEE is checked during environmental audits mandated by such standards, is it possible to exempt such producers from the need to install a bank guarantee or recycling insurance?
(i) The guarantees are required pursuant to Article 12(3) of the WEEE Directive and thus cannot be waivered.

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28. Once the eco-contribution on EEE is being removed, is there a legal obligation for producers to reduce EEE prices? If some producers reduce prices will not an unlevel playing field be created against those who get caught up with a large EEE stock on which eco-contribution was already paid and will therefore be unable to reduce prices?
(i) No, there is no legal obligation to reduce prices.  The market is free to react according to market forces.
(ii) One must bear in mind that the regulation imposes recovery obligations that have a cost attached to them.  Eco-tax has been removed because it was considered by all to constitute a double burden.  It is to be expected that once ths double burden has been removed producers shall have a greater incentive to undertake (at a cost) measures to ensure recovery of WEEE.
(iii) The EEE reform was announced way back in 2014 and so producers had a good advance notice that should have enabled them to plan ahead.
(iv) The rules apply across the board to all EEE producers and hence there is no question of unlevel playing field.

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29. Are musical intruments and audio equipment exempted from the recovery obligations of the WEEE regulations?
(i) No exceptions for musical instruments are catered for in the WEEE Directive and the local regulations that transpose it. 
(ii) In terms of the WEEE Directive, as trasnposed locally by virtue of SL 504.75, musical instruments fall under EEE Category 4.  This means that any person placing suxh EEE on the market shall be considered as a producer and shall fulfill the obligations laid down in the regulation.
(iii) Regulation 22 of SL 504.75 gives the producer the option of exempting himself/herself from the obligation of collection if s/he joins a WEEE compliance scheme.
 

30. How is distance selling and online shopping catered for in the WEEE regulations?
(i) The WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU obliges each Member State to ensure that a producer who sells EEE to another Member State in which it is not established, appoints an authorised representative in that Member State as the person responsible for fulfilling the obligations of that producer.  This is transposed into local legislation by means of SL504.75.
(ii) Moreover, SL 504.75 stipulates that where the above mentioned provision is not complied with, the EEE introduced in the Customs territory of Malta may be seized until the producer complies with the provisions laid down in the WEEE Regulations. 

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31. Do you have any further questions?
(i) Please be reminded that if you have any further questions related to the new WEEE legislation, you may contact directly the regulator either:
(a) Via email at weee@mepa.org.mt​; or
(b) Via telephone on +356 2290 0000  / 2290 7240




 
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