Plastics and packaging laws in Ukraine

1. What is the general legislative framework regulating packaging and plastic waste in your jurisdiction?

Currently, Ukraine is in the process of changing its entire system of waste management, including the regulation of plastics circulation. This transformation aims at reducing the negative impact of waste on the environment and human health. New measures include introduction of the waste management hierarchy, separate collection of waste system, the polluter-pay principle, extended producer responsibility, etc.  

At the moment, the principal legislative acts that inter alia regulate packaging and plastics waste issues are:

  1. The Law of Ukraine “On the General Principles and Requirements to Food Safety and Quality” dated 23 December 1997 No. 771/97-ВР;
  2. The Law of Ukraine “On the Protection of the Consumers Rights” dated 12 May 1991 No. 1023-XII;
  3. The Law of Ukraine “On the Standardisation” dated 5 June 2014 No. 1315-VII;
  4. The Law of Ukraine “On Technical Regulations and Compliance Assessment” dated 15 January 2015 No. 124-VIII;
  5. The Law of Ukraine “On Waste” dated 5 March 1998 No. 187/98-ВР;
  6. Technical Regulation on confirmation of the packaging (packaging materials) compliance and waste of packaging adopted by the State Committee on technical regulations and consumer policy on 24 December 2004 No. 289;
  7. The Law of Ukraine “On Limitation of the Circulation of the Plastic Packaging in the Territory of Ukraine” dated 1 June 2021 No. 1489-IX (will enter into force on 10 December 2021) (the “New Law”);
  8. The Draft of Law of Ukraine “On Waste Management” No. 2207-1-д (“Draft Law No. 2207-1-д”)*.

* Draft Law No. 2207-1-д was adopted in the first reading on 21 July 2020. It must be voted on in the second reading, signed by the President of Ukraine and officially published in order to enter into force.

2. Are there any measures, existing or expected, in respect of single-use plastics?

Ukraine has taken some measures to reduce the usage of single-use plastics. 

According to the New Law, tentatively from April 2022, it is prohibited to use the following types of plastics, including single-use plastics, packaging in retail, catering, and service facilities:

  1. Extra-thin plastic bags;
  2. Thin plastic bags;
  3. Oxo-degradable plastic bags.

This prohibition does not cover bio-degradable plastic bags. In addition, it is permissible to use extra-thin plastic bags up to 225 millimetres wide (without side folds), up to 345 millimetres deep (including side folds), up to 450 millimetres long (including handles), which are intended for packaging and/or transportation of fresh fish, meat and products from them, bulk products, ice and are distributed in retail outlets as primary packaging (the “Allowed Plastic Bags”), but only until 1 January 2023. 

All prohibited packaging shall be removed from circulation. 

Furthermore, plastic packaging, namely bags, cannot be distributed free of charge, except for bio-degradable plastic bags and the Allowed Plastic Bags. The Ukrainian government will regulate the lowest price to be charged for plastic bags.

3. Are there any existing or expected producer responsibility schemes in place for packaging or plastics?

As for now, producer responsibility schemes are not legally deployed in Ukraine. 

At the same time, this concept is reflected in Draft Law No. 2207-1-д as voted on in the first reading. According to the text, producer responsibility schemes will be established by separate laws for producers of products, consumption/usage that generates packaging waste, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and accumulators, decommissioned vehicles, lubricants (oils), tires, textiles, etc. Among these schemes, Draft Law No. 2207-1-д envisages establishing an organisation of collective extended producer responsibility, organisation of individual extended producer responsibility, and ecotax. 

Producer responsibility schemes will include:

  1. acceptance and collection from final consumers of waste generated as a result of the use of products, as well as further management of this waste and financing of such activities; 
  2. informing consumers of the measures they can take to prevent waste generation, the suitability of waste for preparation for reuse and recycling, and the existing systems for receiving and separating the collection of waste, which are formed as a result of the use of products; 
  3. implementation of measures for product development and its components, which minimise the negative impact on the environment, reduce waste in the process of its production and use, produce durable products suitable for repair and reuse, and ensure maximum involvement in the production of large volumes of secondary raw materials.  

4. Are there any existing or expected deposit return schemes (“DRS”) in place for packaging or plastics?

At the moment, Deposit Return Schemes are not regulated by law, but there are no legal provisions that may prevent these schemes from being implemented through private initiatives. 

Furthermore, laws in relation to producer responsibility schemes that can be adopted under Draft Law No. 2207-1-д can also implement these measures.

5. Are there any existing or expected taxes on packaging or plastics?

There are no specific taxes or tax relief aimed at reducing plastic packaging usage. However, according to the first version of Draft Law No. 2207-1-д, tax stimulation or tax incentives are listed as general economic instruments to be applied to maintain the hierarchy of waste management and financing of waste management. Implementation of these economic instruments requires changes to tax legislation.

6. Are there any measures, existing or expected, regarding micro-plastics or the use of microbeads in products?

At the moment, there are no measures envisaged specifically for the use of microplastics and microbeads in Ukraine.  

7. Are there any existing or expected recycling or waste reduction targets in place for packaging or plastics?

According to the first version of Draft Law No. 2207-1-д, the following targets for the reuse and recycling of household waste are set as follows: 

  1. by 2025, not less than 10% by weight; 
  2. by 2030, not less than 20% by weight; 
  3. by 2035, not less than 25% by weight; 
  4. by 2040, not less than 35% by weight. 

Specific targets for plastic and packaging are not prescribed.

8. Is the use of recycled materials in food packaging regulated?

The use of recycled materials in food packaging is not regulated. 

Currently, general hygienic requirements for food packaging, including primary packaging, are as follows:

  1. materials used for packaging, including primary packaging, must not be a source of contamination; 
  2. materials for primary packaging are stored in a way that prevents their contamination; 
  3. packaging, including primary packaging, is used to prevent contamination of products and the integrity of the packaging. 

Materials used for packaging, including reusable packaging, must be easy to clean and, if necessary, disinfect.

Waste management reform envisages a significant number of measures to change the general approach to waste in a greener way. Draft Law No. 2207-1-д will align Ukrainian legislation with EU Directive 2008/98/EC. In this way, Ukrainian standards regarding plastic packaging will be changed and improved, especially with the prohibition of non-biodegradable plastic packaging.

The Ukrainian parliament is also considering further initiatives to address the country’s waste problems. The draft law “On introducing certain changes to the Ukrainian legislation in connection with waste-to-energy utilisation” No. 5611 is expected to create a favourable legal and economic environment for the production and use of solid recovered fuel (SRF) and refuse derived fuel (RDF) from the appropriate sources of waste. Apart from its obvious impact, the draft law should also promote separate collection of waste, including plastic, packaging, etc., since this is essential in the waste-to-energy production process. However, this initiative is in the early stages of discussion.

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Maria Orlyk
Managing Partner Kyiv
Kyiv (CMS RRH)
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Vitaliy Radchenko