“Wastage is prevented when we re-use or recycle products” said Ing Mario Schembri during his presentation at the Commonwealth Local Government Conference held in Malta with the theme ‘Fit for the future: resources and capacity for effective Local Government’.
“If we are to reuse products and/ or reduce their consumption, products need to be designed and manufactured for this purpose. This is called eco-design and is one of the many responsibilities producers have,” said Ing. Schembri, board member of the Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance (EXPRA) and Chief Executive of GreenPak Cooperative Society.
Throughout each phase in a product’s life cycle, from initial design, choice of materials, manufacture, usage and to its collection when it becomes waste, all phases influence the fate of post-consumer products. This concept, referred to as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), has become an established principle of environmental policy in everyday life. EPR is employed in an increasing number of countries and leads to burden alleviation of local government and taxpayers for managing end-of-life products, the reduction of the amount of waste destined for landfills, while increasing rates of recycling and caring for our finite resources. EPR is fit for the future as it changes the attitudes of today’s society for the benefit of future generations.
“For the benefit of future generations, today’s society needs to reduce consumption of resources. This can be done by good waste management programmes that directly involve the community leading to a better environment,” explained Ing Schembri.
The Commonwealth event focused on strategies for boosting local government’s resource base and capacity to improve performance, governance and service delivery and to ensure it is fit for purpose to meet the demands of the future.
In his presentation entitled “Producer Responsibility for Effective Local Government”, Ing. Schembri explained how EPR engages private enterprise, consumers and local government by instilling social corporate responsibility and providing a sustained financing instrument that helps develop waste infrastructure and finances environmental education. EPR is an effective government tool for waste management as it links the private sector with the community.
EXPRA is the alliance for packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling systems which are owned by obliged industry on a not-for-profit basis. EXPRA acts as the authoritative voice and common policy platform representing the interests of all its member packaging recovery and recycling organisations founded and run by or on behalf of obliged industry. These national recovery organisations, of which Malta’s GreenPak Coop Society is a member, are pursuing similar goals to ensure the recovery and recycling of packaging waste in the most economically efficient and ecologically sound manner.
For over a decade, GreenPak has been operating programmes for the collection of packaging waste, electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) and more recently batteries (BATREE) schemes in Malta.