Post-Sanctions Recycling Industry

International sanctions affected many areas, including waste recycling. This situation reminded once again of importance of import substitution. Specialists of PPK REO claim that talk about complete import substitution of equipment in MSW handling industry is possible in the range of one or two years. How real it is and whether it will affect implementation of garbage reform, Alexander Svidovsky, CEO of Vtor-Plast, will tell.

Today, companies in many areas are actively looking for ways to replace foreign equipment by domestic developments. In the waste recycling industry, the percentage of import substitution is no more than 30%. This is because this industry, despite its rapid growth, is young enough for Russia. In the current conditions, import substitution is complicated in particular by the fact that the components of Russian equipment contain a large number of imported spare parts. Most often, it concerns high-tech elements that have no Russian counterpart.

The main advantage of foreign equipment is proven quality and effectiveness. Many companies have been operating for several decades and have managed to establish notoriety in the market. However, our developments are not far behind either. Among Russian manufacturers of equipment for environmentally friendly waste disposal – there are Ekommashgroup, HusmanRus, Ekorosstroy, Ecomtech and others. Domestic production lines include shredders, separators and conveyor systems.

Some Russian waste recycling complexes operate domestic waste sorting robots. Robotic systems “Gourmet” and “Extremum” of the company “Nevlabs” are already used today by specialists at processing plants. They are used for quality control of waste taken after optical sorters or at sorting of separately collected materials. They select PET by color and type, hard polyethylene, waste paper (with separation – paper/cardboard), color metals and other waste.

However, the weakest link in the recycling chain is still waste sorting. This is due to the difficulties of the department of recyclable packaging from other materials. Packing, getting into containers with other wastes, mixes with them. Special damage is caused by biodegradable food materials, since with them the packaging is moisturized and polluted. Food waste is also becoming unsuitable for composting. By separating these flows, we will significantly improve efficiency of sorting and reworking operations. Almost all regions of Russia adopted programs for separate collection, accumulation, processing of MSW. In 2021 1 billion rubles was allocated to Russian regions for the installation of containers for separate garbage collection. This made it possible to install 63 thousand containers,most of which, by the way, were produced in Russia.

Reform to increase the share of recycled waste is being implemented slower than the state planned. After the imposition of sanctions, there is a possibility of an even greater slowdown – many have to terminate past contracts and seek new partners. Finding an alternative requires time. At the same time, cooperation with Asia and Turkey will be strengthened, as well as developing new technologies for recycling waste in our country. However, this process will not be fast and easy one. The main difficulty will consist in the supply of components. Any modern equipment is a constructor composed of many individual elements. Many of them are now in short supply due to import restrictions.

“Garbage reform” is a national project that aims to solve the problem within the state. Industry independence will allow us achieve ourselves a high level of waste recycling with lower costs.

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