There is currently a tendency in the European Union to change the legal regulation of waste management on a regular basis. It seems that Russia is also in the middle of a similar trend, as amendments to Russian waste management legislation are currently under discussion as well. 

Below are a few comments on the potential direction that the proposed changes to the waste management legislation in Russia may take. The concepts that could be introduced have much in common with those in force in the EU in the field of waste management and investment in waste management infrastructure.

Bill currently in the Russian State Duma 

A bill “On Amendments to the Federal Law ‘On Production and Consumption Waste’” put before the State Duma by the Russian Government was adopted in the first reading back in 2011 (the “Bill”). Recently, the Bill was again actively discussed, as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (the “Ministry of Environment”) prepared amendments to the Bill. If these amendments are passed, they would have the effect of encouraging the diversion of waste from landfills. The second reading of this Bill is planned to take place in December 2014. If the Bill is passed, the earliest it would be likely to come into force would be in early 2016. 

Content of the Bill

The proposed Bill seeks to encourage the reuse and recycling of waste, as well as 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 importers responsible for the management of waste from, or the end of life of, manufactured/imported goods (perhaps akin to producer or extended producer responsibility concepts which the EU is already 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 accumulated by a special Governmental Waste Management Fund. The monies collected would then 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.

Comment

If the Bill is adopted by the Russian State Duma one should expect that once in full force it will serve to encourage significant investment in waste management (non-landfill) infrastructure.