Russia: eco fee as the only way to achieve the compliance with the EPR legislation

Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment published on February 25, 2020 a concept paper, which propose to change the EPR legislation by closing the existing collective producer’s compliance schemes, individual compliance agreements; and keep the state regulated eco fee payment as the only way to achieve the legal compliance with the recycling obligations.

The ministry is not satisfied with the current implementation of the law (see the summary of the existing legislation and requirements here). Nearly 160 thousand companies are producers and importers of goods and packaging; and they have recycling obligations under the EPR legislation; however, in 2019 only 15 175 companies presented the required reports and met the compliance requirements. According to the Federal State Statistic Service, the obliged industry should have paid to the state around 20 billion rubles as eco fee, but in 2019, only 2,466 billion rubles were collected.

The document says, that poor performance is due to de-centralized EPR system and missing coordinative body, poor control measures, missing co-ordination with regional waste operators, missing system for the separate collection of municipal solid waste and ineffective law enforcement.

The solution, according to the ministry, is to centralize the system and introduce effective administrative control. 100% recycling target for packaging would be introduced from year 2021 and for the various goods from the year 2022 till 2024 (like EEE, tyres, oils, textiles, etc.) The eco fee would be collected by the tax authorities (or custom authorities in case of importers) and the collected eco fee would be managed by the state company Russian Ecological Operator (REO), which will design and plan Russia-wide collection and recycling system; and signs the key contracts for the recycling program implementation.

Most of the key ministries (Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Antimonopoly Service, Federal Tax Authority) are not supporting the new concept and propose, that collective compliance schemes should remain in the law as an alternative to the eco fee payment. Originally, the Russian prime minister was supposed to approve the concept paper by March 31, 2020. Because of the corona virus outbreak, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is asking the Government to postpone the approval to the year 2021. See more on the topic here.