The effective management of packaging waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is a requirement for Member States in order to comply with the relevant EC Directives. Directive 94/62/EC aims to harmonise national measures in order to prevent or reduce the impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment and to ensure the functioning of the Internal Market. It contains provisions on the prevention of packaging waste, on the re-use of packaging and on the recovery and recycling of packaging waste. The first targets for the recovery and recycling of packaging waste have been set with this directive. Directive 2005/20/EC sets longer deadlines for the new member states including Cyprus and Malta. Directive 2004/12/EC (amending Directive 94/62/EC) establishes criteria clarifying the definition of the term 'packaging'. EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electric equipment (Directive 2002/95/EC) and promoting the collection and recycling of such equipment (Directive 2002/96/EC) has been in force since February 2003. The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used e-waste free of charge. The objective of these schemes is to increase the recycling and/or re-use of such products. The EC targets that have been set are a challenge for member states.
Islands are often characterized by a small size of population and land area, insularity and limited volumes of waste material. Furthermore, heavy dependence on outside aid and exports for recycling is a characteristic of islands and transport is both expensive and a significant burden to the environment. All these characteristics in many cases render the implementation of recycling schemes in islands to be economically unfeasible. In addition to the above mentioned characteristics island states, such as Cyprus and Malta, require a larger share of their financial and human resources to providing basic infrastructure and services than larger countries. All these constraints make it more difficult for small island states to achieve the EC requirements and targets.
These and other additional issues will be addressed within the framework of the LIFE+ REPT project and optimal solutions will be sought for the case of islands. REPT has started in January 2009 and will last two years. One of the main aims of the project is the development of a decision support tool that will allow national authorities and other involved stakeholders to calculate the environmental benefit and financial cost of alternative ways of waste management, especially focusing on packaging waste (paper, glass, plastic and metals) and waste from electrical, electronic equipment (cooling equipment, CRT screens and fluorescent lamps). This tool will be applicable to state islands and countries with many or distant islands in order to assess and determine the optimal economic and environmental solutions. The total budget is € 878,272. The project is co-financed by the LIFE programme of the European Commission.
The multinational character of the project
REPT project brings together the island states of Cyprus and Malta as well as the countries of Greece and France. France, being the most advanced partner in the field of recycling, has the most data and experience in the implementation of the directives; however it faces major constraints in terms of waste management in islands. With its overseas territories, it will introduce the parameter of “distance” and its importance. Greece has already begun implementing recycling programs on its islands; however, it faces some of the most serious challenges due to the large number of islands and the variety in size and characteristics. Its experience and data will better introduce the parameter of “size” and its importance. Cyprus and Malta will bring in the parameter of being small island member states, having individual commitments to the EU for the implementation of the relevant directives.