Most types of recycled plastic are not processed in most regions of Russia. The report of Greenpeace's Russian branch states that. Experts of the Nol' Otkhodov (‘zero waste’) Project found out that only every third of big cities’ residents in Russia had access to separate waste collection.
The study takes only companies and regional operators that accept recyclable materials from the population for processing on a regular basis into account. Experts of the Nol' Otkhodov Project have made a list of disposable goods and packaging that are most often used in everyday life and that are difficult to recycle: butter and milk bottles, yogurt or sour cream pots, plastic plates and utensils, toothpaste and cream tubes, meat trays, and others.
For six months, experts have been studying how much of these goods are accepted by operators in Russia, so that they can then be transferred for processing. It turned out that this was only 7% of all waste. According to the study, operators do not accept most of the disposable goods, containers, and plastic packaging for recycling. These things end up in landfills or waste burning plants. At the same time, only 18% of the country's population has access to containers for separate collection near the house.
Three types of plastic in Russia are easiest to recycle: 1 PET, 2 HDPE, and 4 LDPE. However, not all Russians have even got this opportunity. Most types of disposable plastic are not recycled. For example, operators in the Komi Republic accept only opaque and colored plastic bottles, bags, soft food package (such as for bread), household chemicals and milk bottles, yogurt or sour cream pots, frozen food packaging, and polypropylene containers (they are used for ready-to-eat food among other things). In the Republic of Mari El, operators will accept only opaque and colored plastic bottles, milk bottles, and household chemicals packaging.
More than half of the types of plastic from the Greenpeace's list are accepted only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, in Moscow, Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk, Yaroslavl, Penza, Novgorod, Kostroma, Irkutsk, Volgograd, Bryansk, and Tomsk Oblasts.
Russia does not have a developed infrastructure for recycling, and a third of the country's regions will have run out of landfill space by 2024. Oryol, Bryansk, Ivanovo, Belgorod, Pskov, Kurgan, Kursk, Tula, and Arkhangelsk Oblasts are among them.
"As we can see, most of the disposable plastic packaging is simply not recycled, but ends up in landfills, in waste sorting plants’ combustors or in the environment. We need to stop using disposable non-medical plastic products in Russia to avoid this and solve the garbage problem. We hope that the authorities take the results of our research and our recommendations into account when making a list of products that need to be restricted, including within the framework of implementing the concept of extended responsibility of goods and packaging producers and importers (EPR)," Anna Kryukova, a participant of Greenpeace’s Nol’ Otkhodov Project in Russia, explained.