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To bury or not to bury – that is the question!

The Government of the Russian Federation adopted the list of 182 types of wastes that can no longer be buried at waste disposal landfills. Starting from January 1, 2018, the ban will include aluminum, stannary, titanium, lead and zinc-coated products, LED bulbs, wastes containing or contaminated with mercury. A year later, cardboard and paper, tires, plastic and glass items will be added to the list. Computer devices, accumulators and household appliances are to be restricted for burial from 2021.

According to Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, the burial banns are introduced on a stage-basis in order to give the market enough time to come up with recycling offers. The ban implies that unusable products should be recycled and further used as secondary materials.

For instance, the sector of waste paper recycling in Russia suffers acute deficit with corrugate board production having increased fivefold for the past 17 years. Waste paper volumes amount to 11.3 million tons per year. The same amount is produced in Finland, the leading exporter of this product to the European Union. Meanwhile, the variety of waste paper products ranges from office paper to construction materials packaging.

The wastes list was adopted within the framework of Part 8, Article 12 of the Federal Law No.89 «On Production and Consumption Wastes» dated June 24, 1998 that came in force on January 1, 2017. It will allow to extract the most of usable components from wastes, increase the amount of recyclable materials and reduce emissions of waste incineration plants.

Russia generates about 4 billion tons of wastes annually with only 4% being recycled. For example, scrap metal alone amounted to over 500 million tons in 2016. Landfill sites cover the area of total 4 million ha and the total volume of wastes grows by 5 billion tons every year.

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