The Russian government is working on legislative amendments that could ban the production of non-recyclable plastics in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko said at the 9th Nevsky International Ecological Congress in St. Petersburg.
New measures will give Russian businessmen the opportunity to adapt and adjust their manufacturing, the government said. But some lawmakers and businessmen told the Kommersant newspaper that the ban could drive up prices due to the country’s underdeveloped recycling capabilities and the lack of viable alternatives to plastic on the market.
Abramchenko told the public on Friday that the ban would cover exceptionally hard or impossible to recycle plastics, such as cotton swabs, single-use tableware, colored plastic, plastic straws and similar materials. This made the government to plan the needed alterations to the law in the State Duma, Russia’s main legislative body.
The overwhelming majority of Russians are in favor of the plastic ban, according to a Superjob survey in March. Of those surveyed, forty two percent are absolutely ready to take out the plastic dishes and forty percent are mostly ready. Only four percent are definitely not ready and fourteen percent are definitely not ready.
At the same time, the government plans of producing more plastics from recycled materials. An intent is to put fifty percent of all recyclable waste from construction, manufacturing and agriculture into the manufacture of new plastics, thereby reducing Russian landfills by fifty percent by 2030, Abramckenko said.
Despite widespread public support for waste reduction, Russian landfills are on the rise. If all the solid waste in Russia were combined, it would fill 131,900 square kilometers, which is roughly equivalent to square footage of Greece, said Svetlana Radionova, head of the environmental protection watchdog. Russian recycling facilities are very tiny and so cannot manage with the increasing scale of pollution, Radionova Said.
The European Union, Russia’s largest trading partner, introduced a similar ban on plastics in April 2021. Canada, the United Kingdom, China and parts of the United States have also introduced measures banning all or part of non-recyclable plastic.