|Experts Call to Begin Immediately Setting up Proper e-Waste Collection and Recycling in Ukraine|
|Friday, 31 May 2013 17:07|
May 30, 2013, Kyiv — A round table in the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Conference Hall focused on approaches to solving the problem of electronic waste in Ukraine up to European standards. The event was organized and conducted by the Ukrainian National Environmental NGO "MAMA-86" within the framework of the Project "Public lobbying of application of the European approaches to the solution of the problem of electronic waste in Ukraine," implemented with support from the International Renaissance Foundation's European Program.
Over 70 participants gathered at the round table to discuss measures to improve the situation with e-waste in the country. They represented various sectors of the society, including central and local public authorities, international programs and projects, the expert community, Ukrainian and European businesses, and environmental NGOs and the media. Recommendations worked out by the round table will be communicated to relevant state agencies in order to lobby for implementation of EU e-waste management standards in Ukrainian legislation.
The event organizers presented a review of the current state of affairs with the e-waste management policies in Ukraine and EU countries. The review, prepared in Ukraine for the first time, contains both an analysis and recommendations on an integrated solution to the Ukrainian e-waste problem in compliance with EU directives.
In recent years, the volume of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has been rocketing, resulting from the ever-growing use of this type of equipment. Accordingly, the waste containing hazardous components (such as heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, etc.) is generated at a rate that is triple that for other kinds of waste, and this problem requires immediate solutions. EU and other developed countries have overcome most of obstacles, reaching a certain stable progress in solving the problem. In those countries, up to 80 percent of WEEE are collected and recycled. Ukraine today is just on the starting line of this way.
As shown by the expert analysis, Ukrainian legislation is not ready to solve the e-waste problem, and decisive actions are needed right now to organize proper WEEE collection and recycling in Ukraine to European standards.
The chief consultant to the Parliamentary Committee for Environmental Policy, Conservation, and Chornobyl Aftermath, Serhiy Omelyanets, said there are two approaches to adapting the national legislation to that of the EU. The first approach is to make corresponding amendments to the current legislation, whereas the second one requires drafting new laws, which is more acceptable, according to him. As Project expert Oleksiy Shumilo pointed out, "The branched character of the current e-waste legislation results in certain inconsistencies in its application.
Project expert Lyudmyla Povyakel said that a great problem is the dumping of e-waste, which contains hazardous components, in unequipped disposal sites along with municipal solid waste. And this is despite the fact that, as mentioned by the MinRegion Environmental Safety Department deputy head, Lyudmyla Poltoratchenko, national legislation has already provided for separate waste collection. Unfortunately, this does not work as there is neither specific mechanism in place nor proper sanctions.
Marta Szczecińska, MB Recycling Communication and Marketing Manager from Poland, said, "In Poland we collect e-waste separately because it is dangerous and toxic, and we do it not to store it on a disposal site but to reuse and reprocess."
Presenting WEEE-related EU directives, Project expert Hanna Vyhovska said that EU countries take practical measures to prevent e-waste generation as well as reuse and reprocess most of it, implementing the principle of extended producer responsibility. She also reminded that, according to the plans of adapting Ukrainian legislation to that of the EU, Ukraine must harmonize its national waste legislation with Directive 2008/98/EC on waste before the end of 2013, and so the European waste management specifications will become our realities.
The Nuclear Safety, Civil Protection & Waste Governance Sector manager with the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, Jean-François Moret, said that the e-waste management system in the EU is financed from an environmental tax and government subsidies. Special companies, PPP-based, are assigned to work with WEEE.
The round table participants who represented European and Ukrainian businesses and spearhead groups that have launched used batteries collection projects in Ukraine reported on current practices of e-waste management regulation in both the EU and Ukraine.
According to Dmytro Radionov, director of the state-owned enterprise UkrEcoResursy, the main problem in Ukraine today is the e-waste collection and the creation of an effective system of extended producer responsibility, which would make manufacturers and importers responsible for the destiny of used electrical and electronic equipment.
Most of the implementers of used batteries collection projects reiterated that setting up infrastructure for e-waste operations and conducting a public awareness campaign to explain the importance of separate waste collection must be concurrent. As Oleksiy Tokhtomysh, head of the Simferopol-based regional environmental group Gekon, commented on the current situation, "There is no second step, and our first one is just to mark time…"
Ryta Oksyuta, initiator of the VivaBat project in Kyiv, stated that the problem of used batteries collection will be unsolvable until the country has a single operator.
As many participants said, the round table was a great opportunity for stakeholders to share experiences and start cooperating in the area of e-waste management.
According to Olga Tsygulyova, MAMA-86 Head of the Chemical Safety Program, the convergence of national and European legislation opens a unique opportunity to accelerate the process, reckoning with the specifics of the national situation with implementation of provisions of relevant European directives. She said such convergence must have the following aspects: organizational & legal, regulatory, institutional, financial & economic, technological, and social & informational.
All of these aspects – taking into account suggestions made by round table participants – have been included in expert recommendations on an integrated solution to the Ukrainian e-waste problem up to EU standards. The recommendations will soon be submitted to the environmental committee of the Verkhovna Rada and relevant ministries in order to have them included in the draft National Waste Management Program for the Years 2013–2020 and the draft Technical Regulations on WEEE Management.
The goal of the "Public lobbying of application of the European approaches to the solution of the problem of electronic waste in Ukraine" project, implemented by MAMA-86 with support from the International Renaissance Foundation's European Program, is to lobby, through an advocacy campaign, for implementation of EU standards in Ukraine in order to develop an effective e-waste management system and create a practical example (case) of efficient operation of a legislated e-waste management scheme.
The European Program aims to promote Ukraine’s European integration, combining external pressure of the EU with the domestic one of the Ukrainian civil society, and thus contributing to promotion of open society values in Ukraine.