In our LawNows dated 16th and 17th October 2014 we briefly commented on the future direction of waste management within the EU. Below are a few comments on the potential direction of waste management in Russia. Most of the concepts raised will be very familiar to those in the EU involved with waste management and investment in waste management infrastructure.
Bill currently in the Russian Parliament
Whilst progress to date has been slow, the Russian government has put before the Russian Parliament a Bill which if passed would have the effect of encouraging diversion of waste from landfill. It was previously thought that the Bill would not come into force before 2016. There are some indications that if the Bill is passed it may come into force from as early as January 2015.
Content of the Bill
The proposed law seeks to encourage reuse, recycling, and recovery via energy from waste.
The Bill itself did not include mandatory targets for diversion of waste from landfills but amendments proposed by the Ministry of Environment since the first reading of the Bill include a mechanism whereby the Russian Government would have a right subsequently to introduce such targets for various waste streams. The latest amendments envisage making manufacturers and/or importers responsible for the management of waste from, or end of life of, manufactured/imported goods (perhaps akin to producer or extended producer responsibility concepts which the EU is familiar with).
What is also envisaged is the introduction of environment fees (in an amount to be defined by the Federal Government) that would be collected and accumulated by a special Governmental Waste Management Fund. The monies collected would be used to:
- subsidise the costs incurred by waste management companies that are not covered by existing household waste disposal tariffs (thereby shifting the current regional system of subsidies to a federal one); and
- invest in new non-landfill waste management infrastructure through a special public-private partnership fund to be established jointly by public and private actors.
If the Bill is adopted by the Russian Parliament it is envisaged that once adopted and in full force it will serve to encourage significant investment in waste management infrastructure (non-landfill).