Will sorting waste help save on waste collection fee?

Bashkiria argues about the effectiveness of separate collection of solid waste

Will sorting waste help save on waste collection fee?
Photo: Emil Ziyangirov

The criticism of the head of Bashkortostan, Radiy Khabirov, addressed to the Minister of Ecology of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Ural Iskandarov, who made a report on garbage sorting, caused a heated discussion of the issue among the population of the republic. It was about how to introduce separate waste collection and abandon garbage chutes in residential buildings. The head of the region was dissatisfied with the minister's speech, and experts are confident that only an economic incentive will help encourage the residents of Bashkortostan to sort waste. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

“Be careful when you speak publicly!”

Speaking at a regular meeting, Ural Iskandarov told the head of Bashkortostan about the need to seal garbage chutes in houses and introduce waste sorting by citizens. In particular, the official mentioned that when switching to separate waste collection, the cost of waste pick-up services will decrease.

“We must admit that there is a problem of insufficient waste sorting by the population. We need to strengthen the information policy, we plan to create videos agitating separate waste collection. The introduction of separate collection of MSW will lead to a reduction in the payment of citizens for waste collection," said the minister of ecology.

Ural Iskandarov: “The introduction of a separate collection of MSW will lead to a reduction in the payment of citizens for waste collection.” Photo: glavarb.ru

You speak more carefully, please, when you speak publicly. Which will lead to a reduction in the fee for garbage collection. This is true, that's the point, but I want to ask you a question, but in Oktyabrsky, where we have made a lot of progress, and in Tuymazy, did the fact of a reduction in fees occur or not?" Radiy Khabirov interrupted him.

To the question of the head of Bashkortostan about whether they pay less in settlements that have switched to a separate garbage collection system in test mode, Ural Iskandarov answered in the negative.

The head of Bashkortostan noted that before talking about a real reduction in fees for waste collection, it is necessary to fully build a chain of separate collection, and suggested to the minister to organise a complete system in one of the cities to check whether this will lead to a real reduction.

“You are not a Cicero… You didn't convince me with your report. You say people need to be convinced. We will not convince people with such appeals, it should be a harmonious system of education," concluded Radiy Khabirov.

Radiy Khabirov: “We will not convince people with such appeals, it should be a harmonious system of education.” Photo: glavarb.ru

“First you need to create conditions”

The speech of the minister of ecology was actively discussed by the residents of the republic. Some citizens are already sorting waste and are ready to switch to the new system at any time:

“I have been collecting waste separately for a long time (cardboard, paper, glass, polyethylene, hard plastic, soft plastic, aluminum, tin), but finding where to take it is still problematic, especially metal," Svetlana Khusainova writes.

Someone agrees with the words of Radiy Khabirov that loud statements may turn out to be hasty:

“First you need to create conditions, only then you can shout from the high rostrum, gentlemen, comrades," Gulfaya Valieva expresses her opinion. “It doesn't matter whether you sort it or sort, one KAMAZ arrives, from all containers everything falls into one pile.

So what's the point of separate collection then?" asks Ilgiz Bashirov.

There are also those who are not going to sort the garbage, motivating it by the lack of conditions:

“I live in a one-room apartment, in khrushchevka, there are small kitchens here, I can barely find a place for one trash can there. Where should I sort? . I have neither the place, nor the time, nor the desire to sort anything," says Alevtina Yakovleva.

Only economic benefits will push people to sort

Nikolay Stoll, CEO of Eco-Ufa, the company specialising in waste sorting, notes that the basis of modern recycling is a dual system:

“In all countries where there is separate collection, there are two sources of financing — the utility tariff and the extended responsibility of the manufacturer. This is the dual system. Citizens pay for certain waste, and the entire cycle of handling packaging falls on manufacturers — for example, through environmental levy. We bought something in a bottle, and there a small amount is immediately included in the price, which implies the entire processing cycle. But in our country, they think that if two containers are installed— it is already the dual system.”

Without the introduction of such system, according to Nikolay Stoll, separate garbage collection for citizens will not be more profitable in terms of fees for the removal of MSW:

“This is populism that now we will put everything and immediately everything will become cheaper. Guys, you calculate the economy, sort it all out with mathematics, see what happens before making such statements. We will first declare, but then: oh, they wanted it the best, but it turned out, as always. And when citizens start doing something already, and they are told that everything will become more expensive for them, people just will not do anything.”

Nikolay Stoll is sure that the only possible factor that will push residents to sort is the economic benefit for themselves:

“The standard is non-recyclable waste, this is the minimum if you sort. You will pay this much. You can not sort, but then you will pay both the standard and everything that is higher, in fact. And there will be a difference. Who sort — they pay conditional 50 rubles, and those who do not — 150 rubles. It is clear that the entire infrastructure should be fully in place.

According to the expert, even now it is possible to increase the share of sorted waste, but certain conditions are necessary for this:

“In reality, everything can be conditionally reduced to 30 percent of recyclable waste and quickly enough. We need to clearly explain to people what needs to be done, how they will pay if they sort, and how they will pay if they don't. And not change the rules of the game. But in our country, today they say one thing, tomorrow they start thinking something else. First one reform, then another, then a third. You need to think well and do it once," Nikolay Stoll emphasises.

If in the case of private houses it is quite simple to identify sorting by each household, then it is much more difficult to determine which of the tenants of apartment buildings sorts garbage and who does not. Nikolay Stoll is sure that in this matter it is necessary to focus on the European experience and the principle of collective responsibility:

“It's not new, it's called collective responsibility. In Germany, no one will pay for a neighbour. But in our country, no one cares who does it and who does not. They do not figure it out. They bill everyone there. They put cameras there, watch, track, fine. It's not like everyone is extremely law-abiding there. There, 30% will sort because they are conscious, 60% understand that if they sort, they pay less, 10% understand that if they behave badly, they will have to pay huge fines. That's it, that's how it all works there. And the system works not only in Western Europe. In Belarus, everything takes place without loud “blah-blah-blah”. No one there began to seal garbage chutes by order, they just said that those houses with a garbage chute would pay more. No one came and sealed there. Although they do not make loud statements that they have a reform there.”

In Belarus, they just said that those houses with a garbage chute would pay more. Photo: belta.by

Officially, the garbage reform in Bashkortostan, as in some other subjects of the Russian Federation, started on January 1, 2019. Its main goal is to improve the environmental situation and reduce the burden on the environment by eliminating unauthorised landfills and increasing the share of recyclable waste.

Emil Ziyangirov
Analytics Tatarstan