Garbage Collecting Reform – Next Stop is Siberia-Sortirovochnaya

Garbage Collecting Reform – Next Stop is Siberia-Sortirovochnaya


The Russian Environmental Operator (REO) public-law company plans to build several dozen waste recycling plants in the regions of the Siberian Federal District, the launch of which should spur the implementation of the garbage collecting reform, launched in 2019. The subjects of the Russian Federation cannot cope with it on their own.

The Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation is the only founder of REO. Accordingly, the company acts as a conductor of the federal policy at the waste management market. On February 15, they announced that by the end of the decade they were going to build up recycling capacities of 6 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per year in the Siberian regions. They will be distributed to all subjects of the Siberian Federal District. For example, in the Irkutsk region this will be the Angarsk processing and recycling complex. The execution period is 2023 - 2026. 10 waste recycling facilities and polymer waste recycling plant will be built in the Tomsk region. There will be 7 complexes for MSW processing in the Novosibirsk region ecotechnopark and four waste sorting complexes in and in the Altai territory.

In Khakassia, there is a waste processing complex and two sorting plants. The Republic of Tuva is considering the option of creating two waste processing plants. It is planned to create seven prospective complex facilities in the Krasnoyarsk territory by 2027.

REO specifies that total cost of the objects is 60 billion rubles ($520.85 mln.) The operator is ready to invest 95% of this sum by itself. The rest of the financing will be provided by concession agreements at the expense of the bonded loan with the subjects of the Russian Federation.

As wrote earlier, garbage collecting reform has been the cause of constant scandals so far. At the end of January, the government of the Krasnoyarsk territory stripped the local company RostTech of its status as a regional operator of waste disposal for the violations it committed. The firm did not agree with this decision and filed a lawsuit in arbitration for 1.5 billion rubles ($13.02.) That is how much the company’s owners estimated the lost profits. Moreover, last year RostTech claimed that the authorities had miscalculated the rates for garbage disposal. They are understated and do not reflect the real costs. This was the basis of another lawsuit against the regional government for 888 million rubles ($7.71 mln.)

The fact that the claims of the former regional operator are well-founded was confirmed by the territorial Ministry of Environment. On February 11, it filed a lawsuit against Avtospetsbaza, which is owned by the territory. As follows from the materials of the case, in 2019, the company was commissioned to carry out research work to determine the standards of accumulation of solid municipal waste. Apparently, Avtospetsbaza worked with the left hand because subsequently garbage contractors began to win courts against the territorial authorities. Over the last two years, the Krasnoyarsk Regional Court invalidated the tariffs for MSW collection in Krasnoyarsk right bank, Zheleznogorsk, Zelenogorsk, Norilsk, Taymyr and Minusinsk technology areas. Now, the ministry is trying to collect a fine from the company for its poor performance and for the fact that it actually framed the authorities in front of the local operators.

According to entrepreneurs, the lack of modern waste-sorting complexes is the main problem in the segment of waste management. Without them, there is no point in pestering the population with appeals to separate garbage collection because these efforts are in vain. Independent experts agree with this opinion as the authorities have done nothing to combine these different components of sorting in time.

“In addition to the willingness of the citizens themselves, there was a need for infrastructure for sorting. This required making a decision to leave garbage chutes in residential buildings or not because as long as they exist, it is extremely difficult to organize effective inventory checking of recyclable materials. Even before the reform was launched, we had to take an inventory of the places where solid waste is temporarily stored and determine how many fractions are sorted by the citizens. We should have provided real economic incentives for the population. The sanitary regulations and standards had to be adjusted, and along with them a dozen other federal regulatory documents that directly or indirectly impede the organization of the process but did anyone do that?” Roman Kazakov, chairman of the People's Control in the Housing and Utilities Sector public movement told

“The REO project is great news, but it should be noted that this initiative can turn into trivial rent-seeking behaviour. Law enforcement will need to carefully check the intended use of these expenditures. Also it would be a huge mistake if this money will be invested only in cities with population of millions of people, like Krasnoyarsk. The volume of waste in these cities is already very attractive for business. Investors should not be prevented from working,” said Pavel Gudovsky, head of the Chamber of Ecological Organizations of Krasnoyarsk territory.

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