14:26 04 Oct 2023

Ukraine commits to upgrade waste management, aligning landfills with EU standards by 2030 – environmental ministry

As part of the waste management reform, all landfills in Ukraine must either close or meet European environmental safety standards by 2030, Rubryka reports, referring to Ukraine's environmental ministry.

What is the problem?

The new waste management law, which entered into force on July 9, 2023, launched a reform and updated the terminology, principles, and approaches to waste management, bringing them into line with the EU Framework Directive.

"The reform aims to reduce waste landfilling and increase its recycling volume, as in Europe," said Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Viktoria Kirieieva. "However, at the first stage, we cannot completely abandon landfills, as Switzerland has already done, for example." 

Imperfect Ukrainian legislation allows businesses to claim practically all their waste as non-hazardous, thereby avoiding high burial fees, including for mixed household waste.

What is the solution?

"Ukraine will have landfills, but only the ones communities foresee in regional and local waste management plans and on the condition that they fully comply with modern safety standards. Such landfills will only accept things that cannot be recycled," Kirieieva said.

How does it work?

To prepare for the changes, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has developed requirements to bring waste disposal sites into compliance with the new legislation.

The plan takes into account the norms of Article 14 of the European Directive 1999/31/EC, which sets requirements for existing waste disposal sites.

If the landfills do not meet modern standards — most of them in Ukraine do not — the waste management operators should develop action plans and bring them into compliance or close them.

The plan will be developed for the entire operation of the waste disposal site, but for no more than ten years from the moment the plan is put into force.

Operators should improve the technical conditions of the landfills, updating the necessary equipment. To organize proper fire safety and working conditions, they also need to create a system for extracting and neutralizing filtrate and biogas and introduce or update the environmental impact control and monitoring system.

After developing the plans, the operators must update the public on their actions to bring landfills into compliance with standards. The State Environmental Inspectorate will monitor operators and cancel waste treatment permits if they violate or do not comply.

When the new waste management law was adopted, the environmental ministry advised Ukrainian businesses to prepare for innovations.

Ukraine also plans to introduce an environmental tax on the burial and placement of waste in landfills, as in European countries. It will boost recycling so that only waste that cannot be processed is left in landfills.

The Ministry of Community Development plans to cancel the 2011 order on the separate household waste collection because it has prepared methods to promote recycling.

Environmental Minister Ruslan Strilets said that Ukraine should get rid of landfills and instead introduce incinerators and waste processing plants.

As Rubryka reported,  the company Olnova Recyclingtechnik–Hammel-Ukraine opened another OLNOVA MSL-1 sorting line for solid household waste (SWW) in the western Zakarpattia region.

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