General overview of the Law of Ukraine “On waste management” facilitating Ukraine’s European integration

At this moment, Ukraine is actively harmonising its legislation with the European Union’s (the “EU”) requirements in many spheres, including waste management. In this regard, the Law of Ukraine “On waste management” (the “Law on waste management”) enters into effect on 9 July 2023. The Law on waste management significantly amends the Ukrainian waste management system and promotes its approximation to EU standards. It is primarily aimed at accelerating European integration processes in the field of environmental protection. According to the explanatory note to the draft law taken as the basis of the new law, only 6 per cent of waste generated in Ukraine is currently processed. This is the lowest rate in Europe.[1]

The Law on waste management harmonises the Ukrainian system with the European standards by means of defining various waste groups and practices of their management, establishing waste management measures hierarchy and regulating some of such measures, introducing the extended producer responsibility system, implementing the National list of waste and the information system of their management, which will significantly simplify waste accounting, etc. The respective amendments will be discussed below.

First and foremost, as was mentioned above, the conceptual and categorical framework was broadened considerably. Among other terms, the Law on waste management introduces such new types of waste as “bio-waste”, “bulky waste”, “inert waste”, “medical waste”, “repair waste”, etc. In addition, a number of new waste management terms were introduced, such as “recycling”, “separate collection”, and “recovery of waste”. Some definitions directly follow those given in the EU Directive No. 2008/98/EC.

It is worth mentioning that the Law on waste management introduces such new categories as “by-products” and “end-of-waste status”. A substance or object that results from a production process of certain products and is suitable for producing other products is considered to be a by-product if certain conditions are met (further use of the substance or object is certain, the substance or object can be used directly without any further processing; the substance or object is safe for human health and the environment; the substance or object is produced as an integral part of a production process). Waste can be ceased in cases when waste underwent a recovery operation, and the result materials can be used for specific purposes, are safe for human health and the environment and have their market, i. e., the demand exists for such materials as goods. Both categories were taken from the EU Directive No. 2008/98/EC.

Moreover, the waste management hierarchy, introduced by Article 4 of the Law on waste management, also duplicates EU approaches. The priority in the management system is given to the prevention of waste generation as such. A range of measures is envisaged to this end. Such measures include an overall reduction of waste generation that is unsuitable for recovery; transition to more durable and resource-efficient products; the promotion of sustainable production and consumption; conduction of information campaigns; the creation of waste collection points for repair and preparation for reuse, etc. The next elements after prevention in the waste management hierarchy include waste preparation for reuse, recycling, waste recovery and waste disposal.

The extended producer responsibility is envisaged for producers of products whose consumption or use creates packaging waste, electrical and electronic equipment waste, batteries and accumulators waste, decommissioned vehicles waste, lubricants (oil) waste, tire waste, textiles waste, etc. Such a system of responsibility includes obligations:

  • to accept and collect waste created from such products in the territory of Ukraine and manage them;
  • to inform waste generators about the measures available to them to prevent waste generation, about the waste suitability for reuse and recycling, as well as about the system of acceptance and separate collection of waste;
  • to develop products in ways that maximise the use of secondary raw materials and reduce the amount of waste in production, minimise the negative impact of products on human health and the environment, make them more durable, suitable for repair and reuse, etc.

The Law on waste management also authorises the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to adopt the National list of waste and Procedures on waste classification, which are subject to revision every three years. The law itself provides only for the general division of waste into hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

It is worth highlighting that the Law on waste management is only a framework document establishing general principles and mechanisms in the field of waste management. Therefore, a complete renewal of the waste management system will require the adoption of a number of additional legal acts, as well as amendments to acts in force. In particular, according to the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Ruslan Strilets, implementing the reform will require adopting at least six sectoral laws and thirty subordinate legal acts. However, the Minister expects that the relevant acts will be adopted before the Law on waste management enters into force.[2]



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