On Monday, September 12, 2016 MEUSAC organised a consultation session on an amending directive in relation to lightweight plastic carrier bags which would lead to its transposition. Initially, Directive 2015/7 20 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 was introduced to reduce the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags.
It is now in the hands of all Member States, including Malta, to transpose the amending directive after having heard feedback from stakeholders present during today’s session.
During the session, Mr Sergio Tartaglia from the Environment and Resources Authority explained that Member States will have to adopt new measures and by the end of 2018 should ensure that lightweight plastic carrier bags are not provided free of charge from points of sale of goods or products unless equally effective instruments are implemented in order to continue reduce the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Worthy of note is that very lightweight plastic carrier bags may be excluded from those measures.
Another proposed measure is to ensure that annual consumption level does not exceed 90 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person by December 31 2019 and 40 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person by December 31, 2025, or equivalent targets set in weight.
Mr Kevin Mercieca from the Environment and Resources Authority said that the EU looked at Malta’s case in relation to eco tax contributions so that it can implement the same mechanism in other Member States as well.
Concerns over the lack of data in terms of statistics in relation to the use of plastic bags across the EU, including Malta, were raised. But Mr Mercieca said that importers and producers were now being asked for as much information as possible so that more statistics will be made available. He said that in Malta’s case, due to the introduction of the eco tax contribution, Malta was one of the few Member States which had data available.
Ms Margaret Cassar from the Policy Development and Programme Implementation Directorate (MSDEC) was also present for the consultation session.