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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

In accordance with the instruction of the President, the Government has prepared an edition of the draft law on the extended liability of manufacturers and importers of goods and packaging (ROP). The EPR concept assumes the achievement of a complete balance between the packaging released into circulation and its disposal.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko, the task of the state is to eliminate gray areas and legal gaps that allow avoiding responsibility for the disposal of goods, to formulate measures to involve recyclable materials in circulation.

“Every year the country generates more than 60 million tons of solid municipal waste, most of which are sent to landfills. This is a serious environmental burden. In accordance with the instructions of the President, it is time to introduce the polluter pays principle. It is necessary to remove the financial burden from citizens and introduce fair business responsibility. Do not frighten consumers with price increases or empty shelves, there are no prerequisites for this. In many countries of the world, EPR has been implemented and the situation with the formation and disposal of waste has already been improved, and not at the expense of citizens. The bill is aimed at ensuring and monitoring the fulfillment of those obligations that are supposedly being fulfilled by business, ”said Victoria Abramchenko.

The bill, on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, will be discussed with all interested departments at the Government site in January 2022.

The purpose of the institution of extended producer responsibility is to form an effective state regulation model aimed at maximizing the return of secondary material resources to economic circulation and minimizing the volume of disposal of consumption waste.

According to the current regulation, the responsibility of the manufacturer, importer of goods is limited by the established recycling standard. Taking into account this standard, an environmental fee is paid.

At the same time, the mechanism of the institution of extended producer responsibility should be based on the principle of full responsibility of producers and importers of goods for the disposal of products put on the market. Therefore, the current approach is contrary to the polluter pays principle, whereby all costs of collection, treatment and disposal of waste should be covered by the extended producer responsibility system.

At the same time, in the absence of the necessary capacities, the introduction of full responsibility for all types of goods was recognized as premature.

The bill, with the exception of packaging, proposes a gradual increase in the recycling rate for all types of goods, taking into account the transition period – at least 10% annually from 2023.

In addition, the utilization standards cannot be simultaneously a “decreasing factor” in the payment of the environmental fee, since the economic interest of manufacturers and importers in ensuring the creation of capacities for processing and recycling of waste disappears.

Therefore, it is stipulated that in case of failure to reach the recycling standard, the amount of the environmental fee to be paid should be calculated based on the difference between the utilization standard and the achieved waste disposal volume, doubled, but not more than 100%. The specified norm is subject to application from January 1, 2025.

Moreover, the less environmentally friendly and difficult to process the corresponding product or packaging, the higher the rate of environmental fee. The methodology for calculating rates will be established by the Government.

With regard to packaging, the draft law provides for the obligation to ensure the disposal of waste in relation to the entire mass of packaging, and in relation to it, the use of the term “disposal standard” is excluded.

Over the six years of its existence, the EPR has not led to a decrease in waste and economic stimulation of the development of the industry. In addition, Rosprirodnadzor, based on the results of audits of the submitted reports, often reveals the incompleteness and incorrectness of filling out the reports, the unreliability of the information specified in it.

Therefore, the bill implies strengthening control over the actual disposal. An important provision of the draft law was the verification of persons engaged in waste disposal. For this, a register of utilizers will be kept.

In order to exclude the practice of concluding fake contracts for the disposal of waste from the use of goods, the bill provides for the provision of information by the utilizers about the contracts for disposal, the volume of recycled waste, as well as the availability of appropriate waste disposal facilities. If unreliable information is revealed, an unpaid environmental fee will be charged on the volume of unused waste.

In addition, it is proposed to introduce a ban on the sale of goods and packaging from January 1, 2025, if information about manufacturers (and not goods) is not entered in the register. This will make it possible to implement the polluter pays principle and to close the legal gap in which the manufacturer of goods or packaging can evade responsibility for the disposal of the waste generated.

“Sorting 100% and halving the volume of waste sent to landfills is one of the goals that the President set out in decree 474. To achieve these goals and create conditions for the ecological well-being of the population, the authorities create clear rules of the game. And therefore, the introduction of new rules and the reform of the EPR are inevitable. I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the EPR institute was introduced in Russia back in 2015, but it operated on a trust basis, without the electronic registers that we have now begun to create. That is, the business had enough time to get ready. As for consumers, the implementation of the EPR reform will not affect their lives, there is no risk of empty shelves in stores. When traffic control cameras appeared on the roads, cars did not disappear from the streets, ”said Denis Butsaev, head of the Russian Environmental Operator.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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