Waste recycling infrastructure: to be or not to be

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The processing infrastructure in the country and in the city is the base without which all the actions of ordinary people are meaningless. Therefore, today we will delve into this topic. Without it, those who sort and those who do not sort will not be able to believe in the success of the enterprise.

It all started with popular protests. Like everything good in Russia. Suddenly, at some point, a wave spontaneously rose against the solid waste dump in Yadrovo. There were petitions for

In May of the same year, the President signed a decree on the reform of the waste management system. And on their basis the national project «Ecology» was created. However, the project is a project, and people produce garbage, and it must be buried somewhere. Why bury it? Because we are already used to it.

And almost a year later, «SHIES» happened. A village in the Arkhangelsk region, where the authorities decided to bury the Moscow rubbish. However, the strong will of local residents and the attention of the public, which followed the development of events through unofficial channels, made it possible to stop the process of creating a new landfill with the help of a court decision.

As a result, to date, on the change.org platform, there are 218 petitions in one way or another related to the topic of stopping the burial of garbage in the ground. Few are closed and only because the activists keep their finger on the pulse. After all, the level of mistrust in the authorities has reached the maximum level.

Garbage reform began in the country in 2019. The aforementioned national project contains the expected results by 2024. It is important to note that myself

This is how the infrastructure scheme looks like in the understanding of a large and heavy economic machine oriented towards the capitalist economy of conglomerates.

Everything seems to be in order. Before us is a closed cycle. But it has two elements that are important for Russia. First, the sorting and delivery of waste is carried out on an initiative basis. That is, I sort because I am responsible. Secondly, a large number of chain links. And most of them belong to the state. structures. Let’s see how it looks in practice.

In Moscow, the garbage reform began earlier. I will allow myself some caustic reprises from the series. Of course, earlier, because the scheme needs to be worked out.

Therefore, in the first place, the powers that be divided up this new sorting market. Tenders were held with unrealizable cash security for mere mortals. Therefore, people with money joined the tender. And the Moscow Government has selected five contractors. Naturally five, because we live in a market economy and there should be no monopolies. You can read more about contractors in

But now is not about that. We are again interested in the processing infrastructure, which has developed over the past year and a half. Great

As a result, we get approximately the following picture.

That is, from the investigation, we understand that 3 out of 5 companies still bring garbage to sorting. It seems to be impractical to take out sorted waste to landfills. After all, the processor pays money for recyclable materials. But how it really is is still a mystery.

PPK «Russian Ecological Operator» in April 2021 announced that a completely separate collection was introduced only in Moscow. He also presented a list of leading regions.

That is, it is only 17% of all regions of the country. And what happens in the remaining cities ?! There are activists working there. Not everywhere, but in many regions, the matter does not stand still.

As can be seen from the diagram, the waste collection site becomes mobile in comparison with Moscow. Which is naturally not very convenient for regular sorting. But instead of marshalling yards, created with the money of those very operators, procurement companies appear here. These companies are definitely more interested in collecting recyclable materials, since for them it is real money that pays for their small business. In addition, activists provide a competitive environment.

Many manufacturers claim that the biggest problem is clean raw materials. Actually, hence the emergence of marshalling yards. That is, the state, apparently, has decided that it is easier and cheaper to sort and wash waste itself than to teach people to do it.
However, are there really no schemes that can motivate people to sort them correctly ?!

This is one of the entrepreneurial phenomena where the business orientation is felt. I must tell you that this is great. After all, you know for sure that the collected fractions will go for processing. Because there is a link motivated by money. Yes, only demanded factions will be assembled, for which there is already a demand. On the other hand, in the case of Moscow operators, it is not clear what motivates them and whether the sorted fractions reach processing.


As we can see, the scheme is simplified by one logistics. This is due to the fact that the collector does the sorting himself. But he gets the raw materials clean. That is, the sorters (residents of the house) wash the fractions themselves and put them in one package. And the collector divides the package into fractions and hands it over to the logistician. Sborbox is a logistician.
Connection to the program is done using

What else could an alternative processing infrastructure look like?

This scheme is the easiest. And it has a number of advantages. First, it stimulates the development of small businesses and a variety of businesses. That is, the state does not need to create enterprises and corporations to provide jobs. People will think of themselves. But you need to provide conditions.

Secondly, the sorter delivers raw materials not only to the processor, but immediately to the manufacturer. Thus, the lowest cost of raw materials is obtained for the manufacturer. And, thirdly, the sorter can receive, albeit a small, but financial motivation for sorting and washing the useful fraction.

However, this scheme has two major difficulties so far. First, as I wrote in the past

There is a mechanic where the recycling infrastructure combines the classic scheme and a fee for raw materials to the sorter.

It is based on a cashback and smart tank scheme. That is, a special mobile point with a press and a sensor is installed at the collection point. The sensor is tied to the base. Base for the application. So, it turns out that when a person hands over waste to this container, the container immediately records the amount in his personal account. And when the raw material reaches the processing plant, the sorter receives cashback.

However, with such a scheme, there are many requirements and rules for sorting. And here so far not everything is so smooth, since the Russian people are not yet making efforts to sort. But, perhaps, finances will become that very motivation.

According to market demand, commercially “weighty” aluminum, pet. Then comes PP5 (polypropylene) and HDPE (high pressure polyethylene). The «cheapest»: combined paper (tetrapak, coffee cups) and glass.

As a result, it is clear that there is a demand for recyclable materials. There are companies that, bypassing official programs and national projects, collect and sell, because it is profitable. There is little left — to improve the supply and oust the unscrupulous links in the chain, which is called the processing infrastructure in Russia.

The article was prepared by Irina Smetankina

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