Russia imposes ecological levy on manufacturers and importers

10.02.2015

As of 1 January 2015, the Russian Federation (RF) imposes an ecological levy, which is a non-tax revenue for the federal treasury (Federal Law of 24 June 1998, No 89-FZ, “On production and consumption waste” (hereinafter referred to as “FZ No 89”)). The levy is to be paid by virtually all manufacturers and importers in the RF. Subject to the levy are such companies which fail to meet the waste recycling targets. It is expected that these targets will be rather onerous.
 
The ecological levy is calculated by multiplying the rate of ecological levy by volume / number of units of finished goods to be recycled (depending on the type of goods) which are commercially traded in Russia, or by the weight of packaging used to make the goods, and by the recycling target expressed in relative units. No recycling targets or list of products subject to ecological levy have been adopted yet.
 
A total of 30+ Government decrees are expected to specify the elements of ecological levy.
To date, the website of Integrated Portal features five draft decrees to this effect (in Russian), which are being publicly discussed:

  1. Government Decree “On product waste recycling targets”;
  2. Government Decree “On the procedure, forms and time limits for the manufacturers and importers of goods to be recycled at the end of their usable life to file reports on meeting the targets for the recycling of such goods”;
  3. Government Decree “On the procedure for the manufacturers and importers of goods to report the quantity of goods released into the stream of commerce within the Russian Federation for the previous calendar year, including the packaging of such goods
  4. Government Decree “On the procedure for in-house recycling of product waste by manufacturers and importers”;
  5. Government Decree “On the list of finished goods, including packaging, to be recycled at the end of their usable life”.

Exemption from the levy may only besought by those manufacturers and importers who recycle waste in-house (or meet waste recycling targets, which is unrealistic), or who enter into a recycling contract with a specialised contractor.
 
Revised FZ No 89 also introduces the definition of a municipal solid waste handling provider for the Federal Government and a regional solid waste handling provider for the Regional Governments. A provider can be an ‘individual entrepreneur’ or a legal entity responsible for the collection, transportation, processing, recycling, decontamination and burial of waste.
 
Waste handling is subject to licensing as of 1 July 2015. A licence will be required for the collection, transportation, processing, recycling, decontamination and disposal of hazardous rating I - IV waste. In this context, recycling includes the use of waste for the manufacturing of goods (products), the performance of work/services (including waste reuse) the reuse of waste as originally intended (reuse), the reintroduction thereof into the production cycle after appropriate treatment (recycling), as well as the retrieval of useful components for their reuse (recovery). Therefore, a company may need a licence for the recycling of in-house waste if it is part of internal production cycle.
 
Moreover, revised FZ No 89 introduces the definition of an Integrated National Product Waste Information System. It will be set up for automated gathering of relevant information.
 
In order to ascertain the quantity of goods (including packaging used for their manufacturing) to be recycled in 2015, as well as to assess the ecological levy, data will be used on the quantity of goods (including packaging) commercially traded within the Russian Federation in the first nine months of 2015.Companies are required to pay the ecological levy for the first 9 months of 2015 by 15 October 2015. For October, November and December 2015 the deadline is 1 February 2016.