Garbage in Ukraine: How Lviv and the whole country will solve the problem

Author : Olena Holubeva

Source :

In Ukraine, it was not yet possible to build a single incineration plant. Without changing the laws and raising tariffs for waste disposal garbage problems can't be solved, experts say
20:36, 27 June 2017

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After sharp aggravation of the "garbage problem" in Lviv, after which three MPs from Samopomich political faction announced a garbage blockade and started hunger strike, the city received quotas for the export of waste to garbage dumps. As a result, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi approved the proposal of the Lviv regional administration that earlier accused him of "mismanagement and disorganization" - to transfer to it the function of organizing garbage disposal from the city on an ongoing basis. The mayor's office specified that this is a temporary solution for two years, during which the authorities expect to build a garbage recycling complex with an incineration plant. found out why, despite numerous declarations, no such plant has been built in Ukraine so far, what the Lviv authorities have been doing all this time, and how to solve the garbage problem once and for all.

How did the garbage issue come up

As is known, the problem with garbage in Lviv arose after a fire at the Grybovycka dump in May 2016. The landfill was closed and stopped shipping waste. After that, the city periodically pours out the garbage, and cars are caught around the country that take waste from Lviv to the polygons of other cities or drop it directly into the field. As the resolving of this issue, Mayor of the city Andriy Sadovyi even considering the possibility to take out the garbage to the Chernobyl zone, but this idea did not find support. All this time the conflict between Lviv and central authorities was smoldering - many suspected this as attempt of Kyiv to use the garbage blockade to influence Sadovyi and his opposition faction in the Verkhovna Rada.

Last week, the problem with garbage in Lviv once again escalated. The city authorities reported that the Lviv had accumulated about 11.5 thousand tons of garbage (40% of the sites are overcrowded) and called for the introduction of the emergency regime. The State Consumer Protection Service warned that in connection with the increased proliferation of diseases and rising temperatures in Lviv, there is a threat of the spread of viral hepatitis A, tuberculosis, and leptospirosis. Mayor of the city Andriy Sadovyi said that he does not exclude the evacuation of children from the city.

On June 19, the chairman of the parliamentary faction Samopomich Oleg Berezyuk started a hunger strike and left the meeting of the conciliation board of the Verkhovna Rada. According to him, the corresponding decision was made in support of the people of Lviv. He was joined by Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Oksana Syroid and MP Taras Pastukh. Politicians and Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi announced a garbage blockade.

Berezyk called on the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko not to stand apart from the problems that arose in Lviv because of the incident at the Grybovycka dump. "The garbage blockade of Lviv reached the border, and became a direct threat to a million people ... After the fire at the landfill a year ago and the closure of the landfill, all regions of Ukraine under pressure from Kyiv refused to take garbage from Lviv. The Lviv city administration, even in the conditions of imitation of the Prime Minister's interference can’t provide a site for the garbage.The carriers are not allowed to do their work, private and communal land owners intimidate them, "he said.

According to Sadovyi, he received 229 refusals for his 495 appeals to regional and local authorities to take Lviv garbage. Scans of these decisions were posted on the Lviv City Council website.

As a result of the working visit to Lviv of Deputy Prime Minister Gennadiy Zubko, the Lviv regional state administration organized the garbage collection. At the same time, the head of the Lviv Regional State Administration Oleh Sinyutka complained that the administration for the third time helps Lviv, and noted that "the problem that exists in the city is exclusively a problem of disorganization and mismanagement."

As you know, Lviv city chairman Andriy Sadovyi and chairman of the Lviv regional state administration Oleg Sinyutka have long been in opposition to each other. Sinjutka, who until 2014 was the first deputy of Sadovyi, is now actively criticizing the former chief.

Note that in the AVE Umvelt Ukraine Company - one of the largest garbage carriers said that AVE Lviv does not have contracts with polygons for the export of Lviv garbage. "As a result of the memorandum, 4 cities in the Lviv region agreed to open their landfills (for garbage from Lviv). Quotas were divided among them, about 80 tons a day (according to the Lviv city administration, the city needs to bring out at least 510 tons of garbage per day). But AVE Lviv being the largest carrier in the city, did not get the quota,  said the general director of the company Lubomyr Kopchik.

After the meeting of the Lviv Regional State Administration, which took place on June 23, at 7:00, Kopchik informed all present that the work on garbage disposal was unblocked.

The Lviv Regional State Administration proposed to the mayoralty to give them the function of handling solid household waste on an ongoing basis, and the city accepted this offer. As it was explained by the mayoralty, the decision was made, since "you understand, if after this the polygons opens, it will be clear to everyone who organized all this". The Lviv mayor's office clarified that this is a temporary solution that will solve the problem for two years, the time needed until a modern plant for deep processing of garbage will be built. Development of the project of the enterprise has already begun in cooperation with the Egis French company.

This is the plant that Lviv built...

Details of the project for the construction of the plant told us Deputy of Andriy Sadovyi Serhiy Babak.

According to him, the mayor's office, starting in 2016, began working on the issue of minimizing the use of gas at HPS-2 (heat power station) and, as a variant, considered placing an incinerator. "Then we came to the conclusion that there could be an incinerator of three parts: sorting garbage, composting garbage, and burning, which will lead to water heating for Lviv people," Babak said.

He specified that the construction of the enterprise is planned on the site of HPS-2, on the outskirts of Lviv. The beginning of construction work is expected in 2018.

Babak clarified that for today there is already a technical and economic inspection for three parts of the project: "For the building of first two parts through the Prozorro system we got a winner who will do the project parts" sorting "and" composting ".

"The idea is as follows: in the process of sorting - paper, plastic, materials that can be used for recycling - will be seized from rubbish. The garbage that can be used for composting will be used for ramming the landfill as a fertilizer on fields, and the remaining 30% will be burned,” said Babak.

Investments in the project will amount to about 55 million euros. "Different options are considered for the first and second parts: the EBRD loan funds may cover it in full, or in some part we (the city) will pay, in some - they will, now we are negotiating on this," Babak said.

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Deputy of the Lviv City Council Igor Zinkevich noted that the plans to build a plant in Lviv were voiced repeatedly: "Andriy Sadovy spoke about this plant, even when he ran for mayor. We repeatedly asked Serhiy Babak why the plant has not been built so far. And where in Ukraine authorities built something like that? In 2013, a project to recultivate the Grybovycky site was developed, and they said that there are investors, but nobody really became interested," complains the official.

Interviewed by experts confirm: despite numerous declarations of intent, only one Energia incinerator plant works in Ukraine. It was built in Soviet times – and has been working since 1987. From the Union, Ukraine received 4 incineration plants, but enterprises in the annexed Simferopol, as well as in Dnipro and Kharkiv, ceased their work.

Dirty business at waste disposal

In Ukraine we have a situation that until recently and now for economic entities responsible for waste management it was economically profitable to bury the garbage, that is, to export it to landfills. "Burying in the ground, you cannot prove how much it was brought - 5 tons or 50. This is the mechanism of earnings at the tariff for the export of waste. The lion's share of landfills in Ukraine does not even weigh how much garbage they receive," says the head of  Association of Enterprises in the Sphere of Handling of Hazardous Waste Kirill Kosurov, - " If there is any kind of corruption link between the landfill and the carrier, we can generally bury the air. They took out 20 tons, wrote that it was 40 tons, then receive the money."

Another reason why investors are afraid of investing in similar projects, according to Kosurov, is that until now they have not seen clear rules of the game, an understandable legislative framework: "For example, you can build modern plant, and counterparties will be told" Do not approve it. "And the plant will stand idle," says the expert.

Experts note that compared to landfilling, the technology of incineration of garbage is much more expensive, and now no plant will compete with the landfill. "Burying waste at landfill in Ukraine today costs 150-170 UAH / t, up to 200 UAH (it's 5-6 euros) .To make it cost-effective to burn, the plant needs to pay a minimum of 80 euros (more than 2 thousand UAH per tonne). And now imagine: there is a super plant that works with such prices, there are a million operators and there is a landfill that accepts garbage at 5-6 euros per tonne. Where will the operator go to take out the garbage?" asks the general director of AVE Umvelt Ukraine Lyubomyr Kopchik.

According to him, even in Slovakia at a fee of 50 euros per tonne, incineration is not a profitable business. Such enterprises receive subsidies from the budget. A similar situation is observed, in particular, in Prague.

We note, as the press service of Kyiv State administration specified, since November 1, 2014, the cost of thermal processing of one tonne of solid household waste of the Energia plant is 87 UAH (previously the tariff was 127.56 UAH).

On terms of anonymity, the experts noted that this is a rather strange tariff, which may be either the result of agreements on mutual concessions between the administration and the Kyivenergo company (operates the Energia plant) controlled by businessman Rinat Akhmetov or the result of subsidies from the city budget.

The main condition, in order to make it really interesting for investors to build waste-processing enterprises, is a multiple increase in tariffs for waste disposal, as well as introducing real responsibility for the creation of spontaneous landfills. In Poland, the minimum tariff for burial waste is about 50 euros per tonne, in Germany about 70 euros, said Serhiy Volkov, head of the committee on waste and hazardous substances management of the public council at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Another condition is an increase in tariffs for the population. By the way, they understand this in the Lviv City Hall, so now they allow a variant where the tariff for an incineration plant will be minimal, and a subsidy will be allocated from the city budget. "The situation is as follows: for example, an incinerator could cost 100 conventional units, and cleaning systems, filters - 200 conventional units," explained Lubomyr Kopchik.

According to him, with current tariffs and the economy, it is impossible to talk about any up-to-date technologies, including burning, in Ukraine: "This is very, very expensive, and Ukraine cannot afford it today. We are working in Transcarpathian, Lviv region and Ivano-Frankivsk region, and we see the situation. The increase in tariff even for the cost of a matchbox may lead to a drop in payments by 10-20%. We see by the morphological composition of the garbage how the situation is getting more complicated (the standard of living is falling, - Ed.) ".

Kopchik has noticed that in Czech Republic and Slovakia tariffs on garbage for the population are many times higher. People in Ukraine pay 5-6 euros a year for garbage collection services, and for many this sum is too big. For comparison, in a small town in Eastern Slovakia, every person living in a household pays 10 euros for a garbage collection service per year (that is, a family of two people pays about 20 euros). In Slovakia, payment for garbage is equated to the status of local tax - person may become a tax evader, and will have many problems: the state machine treats him as a tax evader. "In Ukraine, even if you do not pay a few months, a very small debt appears, with which the carrier company can only go to court, but, of course, the executive service is unlikely to take it seriously, even if a positive decision would be received," Kopchik says.

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AVE Umvelt intends to implement a project that involves the construction of sorting lines and a modern landfill in Ukraine. "On the line, it will be possible to remove glass and plastic from debris first and foremost and compost the organics. And all that we could not process we may bury on the correct sites that were built according to all standards, on which drainage systems should be laid and also electricity from garbage gas, " said the general director of the company.

"You cannot completely abandon landfills; even incineration plants need ash disposal areas. Do not listen to tales that it can be used as a fertilizer, you do not know from what this ash was received and what it contains. (The fact is that in the current situation of the lack of separate collection of garbage, batteries, mercury thermometers can be burned along with its total volume.) Even in Europe with the decision to completely close the landfills (to 2030), situation is not so easy. Most likely, this decision will be revised ",  says the Kopchik.

At the same time he complained that in Ukraine the garbage dumps are in a very bad state, and it is not surprising that the locals are not delighted with this neighborhood. "In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, for example, part of the payment for burial in the landfill goes to the budget of the community in which the enterprise is located. And the town near Prague, where our company's sites are located has well-groomed streets, LED lighting on the streets, ideal sidewalks, and other cities say why have not we built it? ... Because it's very good money, " he added.

The complex, which presupposes the sorting, composting and disposal of waste of AVE Umvelt Ukraine, will be located on the site between Uzhgorod and Mukachevo. It is planned that it will work for the western part of Transcarpathia. The work is planned to begin in 2018. "We will do this in several stages. The first stage - the organization of sorting, the preparation of the landfill with the establishment of infrastructure for gas production will cost 10 million euros," the company's CEO said.

According to him, the company will look at how deeply it can go into recycling. "Look, if we divide plastic by color and compress, we can sell it conditionally for 2 UAH, if we wash it before that, and remove the labels - for 4 UAH, if we pile it in small flakes, then we can sell it for 10 UAH, and if we make out of flakes granules - we will sell for UAH 15. We will look at the economics of the process, because each of these stages needs its own technological line, "says Lubomyr Kopchik.

Other participants of the market told that the organization of garbage sorting lines can generate revenue of about $ 10 per tonne, and such lines (communal and commercial) operate in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

It is necessary to change the legislation

Undoubtedly, in what direction the projects on waste processing in Ukraine will go, depends to a large extent on the rules of the game, which will be established at the legislative level.

For today in Ukraine National Strategy for the Management of Household Waste is in the process of development. It can serve as the basis for the formation of the legislative framework. It is being developed by three Ukrainian ministries with the participation of the EBRD and international experts.

Also, the committee on the fuel and energy complex recently approved a bill that presupposes the establishment of a green (preferential) tariff for electricity generated by incineration plants. It is expected that it will encourage producers to build such enterprises.

Against this legislative initiative manufacturers of packaging have already sharply spoken.

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"Producers and importers of goods in packaging are concerned that the implementation of this plan will be financed at their expense, and therefore through the population that buys goods with packing. Ukraine already had a bad "corrupt" experience - until recently a tax on packaging was levied at the entrance to Ukraine, but manufacturers and importers canceled it. Producers paid for 100% recycling of packaging waste to state-owned companies, but dumps were overcrowded with this package, and hundreds of millions UAH did not give a result", - said the head of Public Council committee of waste management and hazardous materials under the Ministry of Natural Resources Serhiy Volkov.

The concern of market participants regarding this draft law is also caused by the fact that it does not clearly state the requirements for which incineration plants should comply with environmental impact regulations. It turns out that if the document is approved, it will be possible to build any enterprise against which local authorities responsible for ecology will not object, if it burns waste and produces electricity.

In addition, the Verkhovna Rada already registered the bill No. 4028 of the deputy Olena Babak, which involves the introduction of a system of expanded liability of producers of goods in packaging.

According to Anna Tarantsova, head of the working group on waste management of the American Chamber of Commerce, in the European Union countries, the increased responsibility of producers in practice is implemented in such a way that companies finance the work of organizations coordinating the separate collection, sorting of packaging waste, and conducting an information campaign to explain residents about how to separate waste and why they should do this. producers are responsible for the entire life cycle of their product, including its disposal.

Related: Lviv administration to take on garbage problem

Related: Garbage removal works resumed in Lviv

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