Special edition digest. Waste management

27 June 2022
Special edition digest. Waste management
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Draft bill # 2207-1 of June 4, 2020 

The Verkhovna Rada passed a law introducing the waste management hierarchy in Ukraine. It is one of obligations under the European Union—Ukraine Association Agreement. 

Cosponsors: 16 MPs with Oleh Bondarenko as the first signatory. 

Status: adopted. 

Who is affected: inhabitants of Ukraine, producers, and local governments. 

Background: In 2014, Ukraine signed the European Union—Ukraine Association Agreement. Among other things, the state took an obligation to improve its system of waste management. A modern approach to waste management is based on the waste management hierarchy. 

Why this is important: For a long time, Ukraine had no hierarchy of waste management. There was no legislation introducing and enforcing waste sorting via environmental tax or extended producer responsibility. 

That is why in the communities without centralized domestic waste collection the major part of all waste ends up on landfill sites or illegal dumps. Current waste management, or rather its absence, presents a significant environmental problem for the country and violates the obligations of Ukraine under the Association Agreement. 

Summary of the bill: 

  1. Introduces the following waste management hierarchy: 
  1. Prevention 
  1. Reuse 
  1. Recycling 
  1. Recovery (including incineration) 
  1. Disposal at landfill sites. 
  1. Introduces extended responsibility for producers whose products at some point became or produce waste: 
  1. Packages 
  1. Electrical and electronic equipment 
  1. Batteries and storage cells 
  1. Vehicles 
  1. Oils, tires, and textile 
  1. Obliges producers to organize or pay, individually or collectively, for the collection and processing of waste they are bringing to the market 
  1. Prohibits importation of waste from other countries for burial on the territory of Ukraine 
  1. Obliges local governments to create waste sorting points and households — to sort domestic waste 
  1. Sets the timeline for local governments to ensure the following shares of domestic waste are reused or recycled: 
  1. 10% — by 2025 
  1. 20% — by 2030 
  1. 25% — by 2035 
  1. 35% — by 2040. 

What is right: 

  • The law partially fulfills Ukrainian obligations under the Association Agreement 
  • Mandatory sorting of waste and waste management will prevent some of the damage to the environment 
  • Producers will be more involved in waste management either directly or indirectly. The necessity to keep a good reputation on the market and sophisticated reporting and controlling state system will partially hinder corruption in this sector 
  • Gradually the share of reused and recycled waste will increase. 

What is wrong: 

  • The law makes responsible for the organization of waste sorting not the producers but local governments. As a result, the extended producer responsibility will not work 
  • The law does not define particular extended producer responsibility models and this can result in ineffective work of waste management system and only nominal fulfillment of obligations on waste sorting and recycling 
  • Shares of municipal solid waste set for mandatory reuse and recycling are very low. Today at least 4.5% of municipal solid waste is already recycled even without a complex program of waste management. Therefore, the major part of waste will be burned or buried in violation of the waste management hierarchy for a very long time. 
  • There are no separate minimum shares set for each type of domestic waste. That is why the share designated by the law for mandatory reuse or recycling will be covered by glass and metals since they are easy to sort and constitute a significant part of domestic waste. Other waste, like plastic and paper, will constitute only a small share of reused and recycled waste. 

Alternative solution: 

  • Make producers responsible for fulfilling the provisions about the share of waste that has to be reused and recycled 
  • Define a particular model of extended producer responsibility for Ukraine in the law 
  • Define minimum shares for reuse and recycling for each type of domestic waste: glass, plastic, paper/cardboard, and metal.