First study trip in new German-Ukrainian waste utility partnership

Ukrainian joint waste management authority from the Poltava region designs the joint waste management system for four municipalities with the help of the Bergische Abfallwirtschaftsverband

The :metabolon site | Photo: BAV

In September 2023, the Bergische Abfallwirtschaftsverband (BAV)  (Bergisch Waste Management Association) and the Ukrainian joint waste management authority EcoService2022 entered into a partnership aimed at sharing knowledge. This will allow the young utility company from Ukraine to benefit from the BAV's more than 40 years of experience in setting up and expanding an efficient waste disposal system. The Ukrainian municipalities of Hrebinka, Novoorzhyzke, Pyryatyn and Chornuchy in the central Ukrainian region of Poltava founded a joint waste management authority in November 2022. They are pooling their resources and improving their municipal services. The BAV also started out with the waste disposal services of a few municipalities. Today, the utility is entrusted with the complete handling of waste disposal for 10 municipalities and successfully operates its :metabolon innovation centre.

At the beginning of December 2023, the Ukrainian partners visited :metabolon for a week for the first time. As part of the study trip, employees from BAV and other participating waste management companies demonstrated how waste management and the circular economy work in Germany and discussed with the Ukrainian delegation the strategic decisions that EcoService2022 now has to make in the further development of its mandate.

District Administrator Jochen Hagt and Monika Lichtinghagen-Wirths, Managing Director of the BAV, presented economic development in the Oberberg district and the work of the BAV as a sjoint waste management authority under public law. In particular, the day-to-day organisation of waste collection, waste treatment and recycling as well as the legal framework conditions were discussed. The guests were also informed about the municipal waste management structures, fee structures and waste counselling for citizens.

Waste sorting and treatment plants were also visited over the course of the week. At AVEA's combined fermentation and composting plant, the delegation learnt about the conversion of organic waste into compost and the recovery of electricity and heat to supply the site. The separate collection of biowaste is not yet widespread in Ukraine and offers a great opportunity to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill in the future, but requires a comprehensive exchange of experts and capacity building.

In the area of residual waste, the companies AVEA and Refer showed how the non-recyclable fraction of municipal waste is recycled in the waste-to-energy plant in Leverkusen to supply the city with heat and electricity and how ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, copper, brass and various precious metals are then recovered from the incineration ashes at the :metabolon site.

At the company Lobbe, the delegation was given an insight into the sorting of lightweight packaging materials from the dual system. Initial approaches to the collection and recycling of recyclable materials have already been implemented in Ukraine and are to be further expanded with the support of the operator partnership. To this end, it is crucial to establish good material flow management with a waste service, recycling centres and container service as well as paperless logistics. RELOGA and REVEA employees provided information on this and illustrated the theory with a visit to the recycling centre at the Leppe landfill site.

However, the best technology is of no use if citizens are not extensively informed and encouraged to separate their waste correctly. This is done by a dedicated team of waste advisors at the BAV, who presented their communication work to the delegation so that similar formats can also be implemented in Ukraine in the future.

For the EcoService2022 partners from the municipalities of Hrebinka, Novoorzhyzke, Pyryatyn and Chornuchy, this exchange of experiences provided important insights into the future direction of waste prevention and the circular economy in Ukraine. The study trip also showed the delegation that they are not alone and that the German partner can make a contribution to harmonisation with EU standards in waste legislation in the area of responsibility of the Ukrainian partners. The delegation is travelling back to an uncertain future, but despite the war and destruction, the partners from the Poltava region are demonstrating a strong will to establish a sustainable waste management system.

In addition to the partnership funded via the Utility Platform, EcoService2022 is supported by the GIZ project "Environmental Protection Worldwide" as part of the Export Initiative Environmental Protection on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection (BMUV) until March 2025 in building the necessary personnel and institutional capacities through technical advice and training on site.

Friederike Barthe-Carpentier, Utility Partnership