A new concept of ROP: will the business be heard?

reform of the waste management sector is long overdue. According to VTSIOM, landfills for several years are one of the major environmental problems of the country. In January 2019, in Russia launched the first stage of reform. It was aimed at improving the culture of separate waste collection, was to make a transparent system of waste treatment, to solve the problem of illegal dumps and greatly reduce the volume of landfill waste.

a year Later, in his address to the Federal Assembly, President Vladimir Putin instructed to develop and approve till March 31, 2020, the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) and importers of goods and packaging for recycling.

Ministry of natural resources in the shortest possible time developed the concept of responsible business to meet its environmental commitments and in late February released version of the document. The developers are confident in the absence of prerequisites for the increase in consumer prices in connection with the reform. However, market participants are concerned that the new document will bring additional costs to all industries.


In Russia, manufacturers and importers of various products should be responsible for the processing of the packaging for about 4 years. It works like this: the company that issued the product in the packaging must be in accordance with the requirements of the disposal to ensure disposal of waste generated after its use or consumption. This refers mainly wastes such as used packaging, broken electronics, batteries and end-of-life tires.

the Alternative to this approach is the payment of the equivalent in the form of environmental tax to the budget of the Russian Federation.

the standard utilization varies in the range of 15-45% for different products and packaging, as contractor for the collection, sorting and recycling of waste producers can choose your own. The latest version of the concept of ROP suggests the transition to 100-percent index recycling for packaging already in 2021. Market participants say that the infrastructure is not ready for such volumes of processing and appeal to the successful experience of European countries, where the standards rose gradually. And most importantly, where it was possible to achieve the main goal – to improve the level of collection and recycling.

the Experience of other countries

the Idea of business responsibility for disposal of products and packaging is not unique, it is implemented in many countries for decades.

for Example, in Europe it first appeared in the late 1980-ies and since then in most EU countries. There, the share of returnable packaging will be increased gradually and very slowly. For example, the growth standard for the processing of plastic waste began with 15 percent in 1994 and increased to 22.5 per cent only in 2008. That is a 7.5% growth in 14 years, not tens of percent for 1 year, as is now proposed in the concept.

Interestingly, a single approved scheme of the ROP for the EU market does not exist. In some countries – such as Germany and Austria, the law requires direct competition between the operators of the system to help the implementation of the ROP, to avoid any monopoly. Operators announce tenders for waste collection services of packaging and choose one of the competing private companies. Then sorted transfer waste disposal companies in the final processing. The resulting raw material is sold to make a profit for him partially offset the costs of operators of ROP. In Belgium and the Netherlands, operators are responsible for all types of packaging waste. In some other countries – only for packaging waste, generated in households.

One of the most successful schemes of collecting plastic containers operates in Norway. It was created by the organization Infinitum, which is engaged in recycling of plastic and metal. It works like this: to the retail price of the product in a plastic bottle plus a small amount of Deposit. This Deposit will be refunded to the buyer upon delivery of the containers fandomat – vending machine installed in large shopping centers and supermarkets. Handed Tara the person receives a receipt or a coupon and you can get cash for them or to pay for other purchases.

For manufacturers of plastic packaging in Norway introduced regressive environmental fee. The more waste the company processes on their own or through contractors, the less it pays in taxes. Due to the high level of infrastructure development and competition in the waste recycling market, most companies have reached a level of recycling of packaging in which they are fully exempted from payments. According Infinitum, a raw material used in industry is recycled up to 50 times or more. Thus, in the environment in Norway gets less than one percent of plastic bottles.

Photo: Michael PU Russia has its way?

examples of Successful implementation of extended producer responsibility in Russia.

for Example, Coca-Cola in Russia for more than three years implementing the Federal program “Divide with us.” Together with specialized partners, the company “EcoTechnologies”, the Fund “ERA” and the “ECA” – already has more than 6.4 thousand containers for separate collection in 55 cities and recycled over 86 thousand tons of packaging waste. The program is part of the global strategy Coca-Cola “World without waste”, the aim of which is to move to fully recyclable packaging by 2025, and by 2030 to ensure the collection and recycling of 100 percent of the equivalent consumer packaging launched on the market.

Containers for separate collection of different waste types in Russian cities are also set operators for disposal or recycling, together with the company “Baltika”. According to the manufacturer, the project has already invested more than 50 million rubles, and the company intends to continue to help shape the infrastructure for a civilized handling waste. The main goal – by 2030, 30% to reduce the carbon footprint of the finished product “Baltika”.

Danone Russia also collects used consumer packaging and sends it for processing – up to 12 000 tons annually, preventing it from entering the landfills and dumps. In addition, the company has set itself the ambitious goal in the coming years to increase the share of recycled materials in their plastic preforms up to 30%.

In some industries, established organizations, which manufacturers have delegated the collection and recycling of their wastes requiring specialized technologies and platforms. But frequent changing the rules of the game complicates this activity, creating uncertainty in its prospects.

So, in 2018 manufacturers and importers engaged in the independent performance standards for disposal of waste from the use of products and packaging, United in the Association “Ruspro”. The purpose of the Association is the fulfillment of utilization norms on a collective basis.

For the year using the “Ruspro” was collected, sorted and processed more than 35 thousand tons of packaging waste. In 2020, “Ruspro” plans to invest in the collection and processing of up to 400 million rubles in 17 regions of the country.

a New phase “trash reform”

a New version of the concept of improving the system of ROP proposes to radically change the current approach to environmental activities of major market players. So, there should be an independent implementation of the ROP by entering uncontested payment of ekosbor, set a 100% standard of the recycling and to shift responsibility for payment of ekosbor on the manufacturers packaging. The management of collected funds is proposed to transfer the same organization – Russian environmental operator (REO). The goal is more than ambitious, but the infrastructure to recycle 100 percent of waste is not yet ready, and the mechanism of ROP acquires a clearly fiscal nature.

Most members of the business community opposes such changes. First and foremost, they affect the largesturoprosodes that have environmental commitments at the transnational level. The abolition of the independent implementation of the ROP and a 100 percent standard will affect consumers in the form of higher prices for goods. Contractors who today are qualified to enforce the regulations regarding the disposal and treatment of waste, tomorrow will be left without a direct investment from responsible businesses. Representatives of industry associations, in turn, believe that the adjustment mechanism of ROP will be deprived of the company of incentives for the development industry on separate collection and recycling.

Photo by: Ryan Stefan

– At the conclusion of direct contracts, while working through the Association we can see where our funds go, how many thousand tons of waste was recycled, the containers for separate collection, – says the Executive Director of the Association “Industry for the environment” (Rospec) Love Melenevska. According to her, from 2016 to 2019 in the framework of direct contracts for the members of the Association have already processed 700 thousand tons of packaging, in 60 regions of the country was established on 17 thousand containers for separate waste collection. With the adoption of the concept of this work can be minimized.

the lack of elaboration of the new concept of extended producer responsibility and pay attention the representatives of the Association “ACO electronics – recycling”.

– the Proposed concept aims only to collect money, but the main goal should be a completely different processing of wastes and reduction of their volumes. Judging by the experience of Europe, where the approaches of the ROP have been used for a long time, most successfully cope with this task by manufacturers and their associations, who know their products, its features and capabilities, says to “RG” the representative Anton Guskov. – Our products – sophisticated electronic appliances – used for many years, there are many valuable materials that can be usedVAT secondary. It is no coincidence that in Europe for the collection and recycling of such equipment are created special areas and utilization technology. I can not imagine that even the older model iPhone or tablet someone threw it in the trash – they must be collected separately and properly recycled. A new version of the concept and these moments, and successful experience of industry associations generally does not take into account. How did not take into account the views of market participants in its development.

About the consequences for the industry are thinking and tire manufacturers. For the segment of used tires utilization in the proposed document also disappears self-enforcement mechanism of ROP.

the Specificity of the tyre industry is that processed products are not returned in a new product. Payment of quasianalog – fiscal, in fact, a mechanism that will lead to more expensive end products for the consumer, – said the Executive Director of the Association “Ekolinas” Sergey Pail. – And to close all launched by industry projects, scaling back initiatives on the installation of containers and involving tire centers in the process of putting waste tires. Because it is not profitable without outside assistance, including financial, although not limited to them. In new documents, there is no word about the distribution of funding. We believe that for large public companies (SPCS REO) interaction with a small recycling firms in the region will be a priority. Specifically in our segment exactly these companies are the only driving force. Prior to the commencement of the ROP processing volumes in our segment was only 5.7 percent, now 30 percent. But with the adoption of the concept everything will return to previous levels. All we want is to keep the alternative, the choice to all participants in the process.

the Adoption of a new version of the concept will kill the germs ROP, which only began to appear after the adoption in 2018, the by-laws for the FZ-89, to stop the development of separate collection of MSW and recycling of hard feathersernatively components, – said “RG” Executive Director “Ruspro” Paul Rodas. – Waste will just burn and call it recycling. The tax, which, in fact, a substitute RRR will fall on ordinary consumers, the goods in the package will be more expensive. On top of that the document is contrary to the plans and goals of the national project “Ecology”. Professional unions and associations is absolutely not against the strengthening of norms of administrative regulation for the execution of the ROP. We are always ready to provide their suggestions for improving this important tool. Need to responsible ministries and departments were willing to listen to us and not treat us formally.

last week it became known that the pandemic is coronavirus and the difficult economic situation, Vice-Premier of Victoria Abramchenko agreed on the postponement of the adoption of the concept of ROP in the fall of 2020. Market participants are ready for dialogue with the authorities and believe that the modernization of the ROP should be attracting the best international experts and based on world leading practices. This approach will allow to solve the main task of the reform – to increase collection and recycling.