Saint Petersburg is Russia’s second-largest city after Moscow, with 6 million inhabitants on a land area of 600 km2. Situated on the on the middle taiga lowlands along the shores of the Neva Bay at Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703. During the periods 1713–1728 and 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow, which is about 625 km to the south-east.

Saint Petersburg is one of the most modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and constitutes a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Many foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg.

Household waste is generally not separated in Saint Petersburg, let alone anywhere else in Russia. There are also only a few regulations for industrial waste. As early as the 1970s paper collection and recycling were encouraged in the big cities of the Soviet Union, including Leningrad, but it only took off to a limited extent and encompassed a small amount of materials, such as paper. More recent attempts to organize waste separation for a variety of materials on a voluntary basis have also been made in Saint Petersburg, mostly encouraged by local and international NGOs.

The annual generation of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the Russian Federation is estimated at about 200 million cubic meters; 11 million cubic meters of which is being generated in Saint Petersburg alone, and the number is in a steady rise. This would fill up the famous local Krestovsky football stadium six times every year. The waste has high concentration of recyclables (paper, plastics, metals, glass) that makes it ideal feedstock for circular economy solutions. Potentially, over 50% of the municipal solid waste can be recycled as raw materials and the rest as energy. However, today over 90% of the waste generated in the Saint Petersburg area ends up at landfills or dumpsites – untreated.

In addition, there is the Krasnyi Bor dump site for hazardous waste about 30 km to the southeast of Saint Petersburg. The site is sometimes called the “chemical Chernobyl”, due to the two million tons of chemical waste accumulated there. The site, spanning 73 hectares was established already in 1970. The toxic waste is stored in pools, many of which have no cover. The rain and meltwater are collected in a channel with no wastewater treatment system, where the poisons from the uncovered pools also flow. Next to the dumping site there are two rivers, the Izhora River and the Tosna River, which empty into the Neva River.

The year 2017 was declared the “Year of Environment” in Russia. It might be one of the reasons why a federal bill, which had been for many years waiting for its right hour in the hallways of the Russian Government, was finally voted for and entered into force. The Law makes manufacturers and importers responsible for meeting recycling targets of the end of life goods, and obliges them to either organize their own recycling systems, sign a contract with a regional waste management operator for a period of 10 years, or pay the environmental fee. The law also prohibits landfilling waste fractions that have recyclable components, and states that such waste should be used for energy recovery or recycled.

WOIMA has the perfect solution to support the “Waste Bill”. We have developed a decentralized waste management and power generation solution named “WOIMA Ecosystem” that helps emerging countries cope with the increasing waste challenges that they are facing. WOIMA Ecosystem recycles the waste into raw materials and energy in the most efficient manner reducing the waste quantity by over 95%. The small-to-medium size WOIMA Ecosystems are distributed close to where the waste is generated, thus offering significant waste logistics and power distribution savings in addition to solving the waste problem.

Read more: Woima decentralized W2E power generation – case study Nairobi Kenya

Contact WOIMA, if you see yourself as collaboration partner in saving the planet. Ask more about turning waste into wellbeing with WOIMA Circular Economy Solutions.

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