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How does Kazakhstan solve problem of waste recycling?


At a time when Kazakhstan hosts different high-level summits, forums and sittings to speak about waste and its recycling seems to be obscene. But there is no choice. This problem plays an important role not only in the lives of Kazakhstanis but in the whole ecological system of the country. The number of solid household waste (SHW) grows every year. Let’s face it, the number of plastic bags in the steppe many times exceed the number of trees. How does Kazakhstan solve this problem? Read more on the website of the Information Agency.

ASTANA CITY03 October , 18:34

Average Kazakhstani annually produces about 300 kilograms of various waste products. The main environmental damage is caused by decomposing food residues that emit flammable methane, which is more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Plus, hydrogen sulfide and other gases that are harmful to humans, which increase the greenhouse effect.

The annual volume of waste is equal to 5-6 million tons in Kazakhstan. Over 8 months of 2018, about 3.2 million tons of SHW were gathered, of which about 330.0 thousand tons were recycled and processed, which amounted to 10.5 per cent. The remaining amount (about 90 per cent) is placed on polygons and waste deposits.

The number of polygons grow and greedily absorb new territories. Nowadays there are about 4 thousand of them in the country. The terrible situation with these polygons and waste deposits has become possible due to the lack of household waste sorting points and waste recycling plants.

There is a problem? There is a solution!

In execution of Kazakh President N. Nazarbayev’s instructions to take measures for timely disposal of solid household waste (SHW) in order to reduce environmental pollution, the Ministry of Energy together with the Governor’s Offices developed a project “A set of measures for modern SHW recycling and processing involving small and medium-sized businesses”.

This set of measures includes:

– development of Waste Management Programs that determine the overall development strategy for the management of solid waste in the regions;

– revision of existing tariffs taking into account all operations – collection, removal, recycling, processing and disposal of solid waste;

– introduction of a separate collection, installation of sorting points, which will make it possible to get better recyclable materials, develop the recyclable market and reduce the amount of waste placed at landfills, increase the service life of landfills, respectively, reduce the budget expenditures on the construction of new landfills;

– development of infrastructure for handling solid waste, including for the processing of organic waste to produce biogas or compost;

– conducting extensive outreach activities with the population on SHW to increase the environmental awareness of the population and involve them in the process of separate collection of SHW;

– establishing cooperation and attracting investments.

In addition to the measures, the Ministry of Energy developed the Concept on the transition of Kazakhstan to the “green” economy.

“According to the Concept, by 2030 the share of recycling should be increased to 40 per cent, and by 2050 � 50 per cent”, Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev stated, speaking about the Concept during the Government sitting.

The regulatory legal framework has been also created and it is improved. Thus, the Environmental Code on Waste Management was amended, as well as obligations of manufacturers, that is, importers were extended. The Minister of Energy noted that a ban on the dumping of certain types of waste at landfills has been imposed. In particular, since 2016, it is prohibited to dispose mercury-containing lamps and devices, metal scrap, waste oils and liquids, batteries, electronic waste at landfills. From January 1, 2019, a ban on the disposal of plastic, waste paper, cardboard and glass will come into force. From January 1, 2021, a ban on the burial of construction and food waste will come into force.

The Environmental Code and the Law “On Local State Governance and Self-Government in the Republic of Kazakhstan” entrusted local executive bodies with the task of organizing a separate collection at the source of their formation, disposal of solid waste.

The Law “On Government Procurement” provides a priority on goods produced from recycled materials in the territory of Kazakhstan during public procurement.

An Action plan has been developed for the formation and improvement of the environmental culture of the population in terms of respect for the environment and safe waste management.

Therefore, to achieve the target indicator defined in the Concept, as well as the set of measures in the regions, separate collection, sorting and recycling of solid waste is gradually introduced.

Sort, hand over and get money!

Nowadays the separate collection has been introduced in 41 cities, solid waste is sorted in 19 cities and large settlements with obtaining high-quality secondary raw materials for sale and processing. More than 130 enterprises sorting and processing waste, producing more than 20 types of products, function in the country. The number of enterprises is growing every year. Also foreign companies are ready to invest into this sphere. So, Spanish businessmen are ready to invest into Kazakhstan in order to build waste recycling plants in some regions of the country.

In September this year, Astana has presented the first GreenStation recycling facility. This facility will allow solving several problems at once: to stimulate residents and guests of the capital to collect separate garbage at the expense of remuneration, to educate their ecological culture, and also to form a careful attitude to the environment.

Citizens of Astana can bring 11 types of raw materials to the green station: waste paper, polyethylene, stretch film, PET bottles, glass bottles, household equipment bottles, aluminum cans and so on. The price for one kilogram of garbage varies from 5 to 100 tenge. The most expensive recycled materials are aluminum cans, transparent and colored polyethylene is a bit cheaper at a cost of 70 tenge per kilogram. The company takes glass container by the piece, the price of one bottle is three tenge.

General director of AstanaCleanTime, Timur Ismagulov, after the presentation of the project, said that its implementation required 5.5 million tenge.

He assured that the daily collection point for separate waste will be about 500 kilograms of waste, which is 15,000 kilograms per month. All collected waste will be sent to waste recycling plants.

On July 12, 2018 Timur Ismagulov presented one of the eco-points, where citizens are paid for garbage collection.

For reference: Terms of waste paper breakdown vary. So, a bus ticket will completely melt into the ground within a month. Regular waste paper decomposes in 2-3 years, waxed paper – as much as 5 years. By the way, it is strictly forbidden to burn paper with food products, since as a result, dioxides can be formed. Glass is a champion for the time of decomposition, which is about 1 million years. Speaking about plastic, it should be about 450 years before plastic begins to decompose. After that, another 50-80 years will pass until it is completely decomposed. At the current rate of production of this material, our planet will be completely covered with plastic before the process of its decomposition begins. Stretch film is characterized by a long period of time decomposition – up to 300 years. PET bottle is a plastic container for containing, protecting and transporting liquids. It takes from 70 to 450 years for plastic to disappear. An aluminum can of beer decays in the soil on average over 80 years. The decomposition time of polyethylene products depends on the initial density and structure. For example, the usual thin plastic bags, in which sellers like to wrap everything so much, decompose for 100-200 years.

Source: Kazakhstan 2050