A year ago, new players entered the MSW management system in the Middle Urals – waste processors. The seriousness of the intentions of the Union of Waste Processing Enterprises of the Ural Federal District was confirmed by the cooperation agreement signed with it by all three regional regional operators. At that moment, experts stated that it was precisely such a link that the region lacked to close the chain of MSW handling, and expressed hope that “gray” processors would be squeezed out of the market. However, a year has passed, and there are no visible changes. Why?
Separate collection of MSW officially started on the territory of the Sverdlovsk region a year and a half ago, but even now in most places there are ordinary “omnivorous” containers. For example, in Yekaterinburg, the collection of paper, cardboard, glass is organized only at 360 sites and in individual microdistricts.
Overnight separate collection containers are half empty: more than 97 percent of the sites are not fenced and monitored
Regulatory operators welcome the creation of the alliance, but complain that so far cooperation has been reduced to one-time actions.
– There was no constructive interaction. Processors offer a multi-fractional collection, which is rather complicated for an unprepared person. The Ministry of Energy and Housing and Public Utilities of the region has drawn up an optimal scheme based on the principle of dual collection – sorted and non-sorted waste, which the reoperator adheres to. We have repeatedly said: if you want to receive raw materials, you need to create infrastructure. After all, there is not enough waste processing capacity in the region, and the share of manual labor is high on the existing ones. Even with all our will, we cannot pass all the waste through the waste sorting complex, taking into account the fact that the management companies and homeowners associations in charge of container sites have completely abstained from this work, – says Natalia Zubova, director of EMUP Spetsavtobaza.
An important point: the regoperators themselves cannot organize separate waste collection directly in residential areas, there are always intermediaries between them and residents of apartment buildings – the management company or the HOA, and in the private sector – local governments. The fact is that the installation of an additional container for sorted waste is carried out only by decision of the general meeting of residents. Regoperators are simply not physically able to organize such events. But, even if it were possible to get the consent of the residents and put colorful tanks, new problems will arise further.
– They would have to be fenced and guarded to prevent the leakage of valuable raw materials. If you drive through the container sites at five in the morning, you will see that the containers for separate collection for the night are half empty: more than 97 percent of the sites are not fenced, Zubova explains.
Processors, for their part, do not hide the fact that the situation has changed over the past year. In their opinion, business cannot develop under conditions of monopoly, and today all MSW flows are concentrated with recyclers. According to Sergei Litvinenko, Chairman of the Board of the Union of Waste Processing Enterprises of the Ural Federal District, there is only one solution to the problem – the parallel creation of a system for separate collection of waste from the population and at industrial enterprises, which will provide recycling companies with a high-quality raw material base. At the same time, reoperators will be able to transfer sorted waste to new disposal facilities, which will reduce disposal at landfills. Such experience already exists in Sysert.
– By the summer, we plan to launch four recycling facilities in Yekaterinburg and 20 recycling points near shops and housing stock. The Ministry has purchased 4,000 containers for separate collection, and is planning another 7,000. They will be serviced by recycling companies. The task of regenerators is to ensure the transportation of waste to facilities. We are cooperating in this, – says the head of the Union.
According to him, ideally, a single structure should work: at the landfills – recycling points. And the processors will catch up. So, the Novosibirsk glass factory has already got in touch with the Ural association. In production, they use 25 percent broken glass and 75 percent quartz sand, but they want to reverse this ratio. The change in technology will make it possible to process 200 thousand tons of glass, which the Urals will willingly share: the region does not have its own capacities for this.
– We have developed a clear plan of action. At the first stage, within a year or two, it is necessary to make sure that the recyclable waste does not end up in a landfill. At the second stage, we will see enterprises that produce non-recyclable waste so far, and we will start working with them. After all, they have already dealt with hazardous waste: a year ago, for example, they did not notice batteries, and now Rosatom has taken up their processing. But while there are only two such plants in the country, this is clearly not enough. It’s the same with car tires. For their processing, it is necessary to build new facilities in the Sverdlovsk region – today they are only in Nizhny Tagil and Kamensk-Uralsky, – lists Litvinenko.
A model for separate waste collection without the participation of a recycler is already being created in Sysert, on the basis of the Thermoplast production facility. Used plastic has been converted there for years into new products, such as boards for benches. And on the territory of the cement plant and Izvest Sysert, Atomstroykompleks plans to recycle used tires and other rubber. The local authorities also support the business initiative: a mobile waste collection point during the New Year holidays is located right next to the Sysert administration. For a week, the townspeople brought here 5 tons of paper, 3 tons of glass, a ton of plastic, which were transferred to recycling companies. The task is to replicate this experience and make it not one-time, but systemic.