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Renewable fuels and ban on plastic bags – new steps in environmental reform in Ukraine

On 3 June 2021, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered the draft Law "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Energy Disposal of Waste" No. 5611 ("Draft Law on Energy Disposal of Waste").

The Draft Law on Energy Disposal of Waste was developed to regulate the approach to the disposal of waste, in particular with solid domestic waste: refuse derived fuels (RDF) and solid recovered fuels (SRF) ("RDF", "SRF"). Now in Ukraine, the issue of using such fuel at the legislative level remains unregulated.

The Draft Law on Energy Disposal of Waste provides for amendments to several existing laws of Ukraine, in particular:

  • To the Land Code of Ukraine: a provision on the exemption of facilities for the production of heat and electricity using SRF, RDF from compensation for losses of agricultural and forestry production.
  • To the Law of Ukraine "On Alternative Fuels":
  • definition of terms SRF, RDF;
    • regulation of the issues of compliance of renewable fuels with national standards;
    • determination of requirements for the use of renewable fuels, as well as for the operation of installations for the combustion of such fuels;
    • responsibilities of local governments in assisting in construction and operation of enterprises (installations) for the:
      • production of SRF, RDF, and;
      • production of heat and electricity using SRF, RDF.
    • To the Law of Ukraine "On Heat Supply":
      • Obligation of the relevant state and local authorities to ensure in full the purchase of heat energy produced from SRF, RDF;
      • The procedure for payments for heat energy for the production of which SRF, RDF is used is established.
    • To the Law of Ukraine "On lands of energy and the legal regime of special zones of energy facilities": assignment of lands provided for the placement, construction and operation of heat and electricity production facilities with SRF, RDF to energy lands – with the corresponding consequences: obtaining land for the relevant purposes without bidding;
    • To the Law of Ukraine "On the Electricity Market":
      • Ensuring the same conditions for producers of electricity from SRF, RDF, as well as for other producers of electricity from alternative electricity sources;
      • Attribution to the State Enterprise "Guaranteed Buyer" of obligations for the purchase of electricity purchased from SRF, RDF.

The approach to the regulation of these issues on the territory of Ukraine is quite progressive. Considering that Ukraine is amid environmental reform, we consider it necessary to take steps such as the development and submission of the Draft Law on Energy Disposal of Waste. However, the Draft Law on Energy Disposal of Waste must go through all the procedures in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. At the same time, the Draft Law on Energy Disposal of Waste may undergo significant changes. Asters experts will continue to monitor the movement of the Waste Disposal Bill in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Another news that deserves attention is the signing by the President of Ukraine on 7 June 2021 of the draft Law "On limiting the turnover of plastic bags on the territory of Ukraine" No. 2051-1 ("Draft Law on the turnover of plastic bags").

The Draft Law on the turnover of plastic bags provides for a reduction in the use of plastic bags in Ukraine, limitation of their distribution to improve the sphere of the environment protection and territories well-being.

According to the Draft Law on the turnover of plastic bags, distribution in retail, catering, and service facilities of the following plastic bags will be prohibited:

  • ultra-thin plastic bags (does not apply to a certain category of plastic bags intended for packaging and/or transportation of fresh fish, meat and products from them, bulk products, ice, and those that are distributed in retail outlets as primary packaging - from January 1, 2023, a ban on the sale and this category of packages)
  • thin plastic bags;
  • oxo-decomposing plastic bags (bags containing impurities accelerate the decomposition of plastic under the influence of oxygen).

At the same time, the distribution of biodegradable plastic bags is allowed, but only on a paid basis.

Recall that the Draft Law on the turnover of plastic bags will be partially applicable in 6 months from the date of its publication and in 9 months – in full.

For more information, please contact Asters Counsel Anzhelika Livitska and Senior Associate Bohdan Shmorhun.

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