Russian Group Calls for More Recycling

MOSCOW - Russia generates approximately 1.2 million metric tons of waste lubricants annually, but only a fraction is recycled - including as feedstock for the countrys lone base oil rerefinery - and a Russian non-governmental body is trying to achieve larger waste oil recycling volumes in the country.

From the roughly 2 million tons of lubricants that it consumes each year, the country generates 1.2 million tons of waste oil, but only 500,000 tons are formally documented as such, the Russian Waste Recycling Association told RPIs Global Lubricants Week here Oct. 11.

It turns out that about 700,000 tons of waste oil is simply not accounted for, David Esayan, president of the association, told conference attendees.

He said that most of this unaccounted waste oil is used as counterfeited vehicle fuel, as heating fuel in furnaces or for lubrication of old equipment. Also, the used oil is illegally traded on the black market by murky players for cash. What is more sad [is when] it is discharged into water and soil and mixed with drilling fluids and crude oil, Esayan said.

The greatest obstacle to raising recycling volumes, Esayan said, is the lack of networks for collecting waste oil and a shortage of stations equipped to store it.

He said the country also needs more waste oil recycling capacity, including more capacity to rerefine used lubricants into base oil. Russia currently has capacity to process 75,000 t/y of waste oil and uses approximately 70 percent of that capacity.

Russia adopted several laws in the past three years that regulate waste recycling. Federal law No. 89 regulates waste generation by producers and consumers, while Government decree No. 2970 stipulates what waste materials should be recycled, and another ordered that an ecological tax be established.

None of these laws are fully implemented, and the state is not active in pursuing firmer policies regarding the way used oil is [processed] in the country, he said.

The association - which collaborates closely with Rosa-1, the only base oil rerefiner in the country - is trying to increase waste oil collection, transportation and storage capabilities. Russia has 40 intermediate storage tanks that can store about 5,400 tons of waste oil in total. It also has 100 tank trucks and special low-tonnage transportation vehicles used to transport waste oil.

Rosa-1s rerefinery in Ryazan can process 40,000 tons of waste oil annually, and we are planning to expand to 55,000 t/y processing capacity in 2019, Rodion Cherednichenko, head of Rosa-1, told Lube Report. To collect these amounts of waste oil, we collaborate with 10,000 partners and contractors. The rerefinery can produce API Group I base oils.

The Russian Waste Recycling Associations membership consists of 30 companies from 20 Russian regions - lube producers, recyclers and generators of waste oil. Esayan expects them to send 40,000 tons of waste oil to Rosa-1 for rerefining in 2018, up from 32,000 tons that were collected in the year before.

The association strives to unify all producers and recyclers of lubricants and other petrochemicals, as well as those who produce packaging materials, to foster a more responsible approach towards waste oil recycling in Russia.