Russia is undoubtedly catching up with European countries, although their experience is not always applicable to us. But in order to catch up and overtake them in the shortest possible time, we need to apply the latest waste recycling technologies to the maximum, and also follow the way of recycling and using the materials obtained for further production. But this, as I said, is largely up to the state. First, it is necessary to impose significant fines for businesses, and not only for those who simply take their electronics to the landfill, but also for those who do not dispose of waste properly. Second, it is necessary to arrange sites where people could bring their old equipment themselves, as, for example, in Sweden. There, you can either bring an unnecessary refrigerator to such a site and leave it for free disposal, or throw it in the trash near you home and in this case, you will have to pay.
In Moscow, we can do something similar providing a small 200 sq. m site in each district where one could bring both waste paper and bottles, and most importantly, equipment and furniture. Recyclers would take waste for disposal themselves, and people would save on waste removal, because the fee for this service is based on the amount of waste, which is largely furniture and large household appliances. As for companies, it worth to mention Korea's experience. There are clear regulations on the service life of any equipment. For example, a computer cannot be used for more than 10 years. If a company has such an old computer, it can be brought for free to an equipment collection point, that is available in every region. And I can tell you that up to 90% of electronics are assembled in Korea. That is fantastic. Third, the recycling market in Russia needs to be made official. Now, there are a large number of small companies, which provide disposal services at lower prices, but recycle only a small part of the waste, and simply throw away the rest. And official businesses mean new jobs and taxes. And, of course, it is necessary to think about supporting recyclers that operate officially. I am one hundred percent sure that any industry can be completely changed in five years. And we have time for this. I believe that Russia is capable of doing it.
How can "official" enterprises like yours survive in this market, since it is not so easy to compete with "unofficial" counterparts?
No doubt about that. If we talk about our history, the concept of ECOPOLIS was not created at once. We were proceeding from the fact that used electronics contain a certain amount of raw materials with precious metals. Those are extracted in the course of recycling and then sold. We had an idea to create a company to do this. This is how the Aurus plant for processing electronic boards was established. And then it became obvious that, besides business, there also was a social function. Therefore, we created the Ekotekhprom plant to recycle entire electronic devices. Developing this idea further, we thought about the fact that electronics contain a huge amount of plastic. Its content may reach 40%! But all plastics are different, a computer may contain one kind, and a monitor another. And what is to do with them? On the market, we tried to find companies that could process these various plastics, but there were not any. This is how we created the Ekoplast plant, which is perhaps our most social project. It recycles plastics to produce secondary raw materials. Thus, there is a raw material chain from an old computer to recyclables that can be used to manufacture something new. And from the environmental point of view, this is right, although it does not bring a fast buck.