Calls in Russia for More Waste Oil Recycling


Calls in Russia for More Waste Oil Recycling
Used motor oil drains from a collection tray into an empty container for recycling. © Daria Nipot

Approximately 500,000 metric tons of waste lubricants are collected in Russia each year, but the vast majority is reused as fuel, according to government officials who concluded recently that the country needs reforms to increase base oil rerefining.

An event held last week in Moscow heard statements that much needs to be done to make waste oil recycling conform with the principles of a closed-loop or green economy. Speakers called for a transparent system for collection and processing.

Denis Butsaev, general director of Russian Environmental Operator Plc, told the gathering that Russia collects around 500,000 tons of waste oil annually, compared to lubricant consumption of 2 million tons. Moscow-based consultancy B2X estimates that the country consumed 1.7 million tons of finished lubes last year.

“Russia generates around 2 million tons of waste oils annually, but only 500,000 tons of that are collected,” he told a gathering of sustainable economy advocates, according to an article published by news site Vedomosti. He added that the great portion of “this hazardous waste is used as fuel [for heating], or it is simply incinerated.”

Russian Environmental Operator is a state agency that oversees the implementation of the country’s laws on disposal and recycling of different types of waste, including used lubricants.

Russia’s largest rerefinery is operated by Rosa-1 in the city of Ryazan. It can process around 30,000 t/y of waste oil to produce up to 24,000 t/y of API Group I base stocks. Other facilities in the country are much smaller. For example, in December 2020, a small Group I base oil rerefinery opened in Amur Oblast in the Russian Far East that can process around 3,600 t/y of waste oils and other used petrochemicals to produce 2,000 t/y of Group I base oils.

Vedemosti reported that participant at the meeting in Moscow last week agreed that authorities must exert greater control on automobile service stations, where most of the waste oil is generated, as well as on waste collectors.

Another official of the Environmental Operator said the agency has proposed regulation amendments that would ensure more recycling of hazardous materials such as waste oils, Vedomosti reported. He added that subsidies are also needed.