Regulation of Waste Disposal in Georgia

Violating waste management legislation carries a minimum fine of 80 GEL and a maximum fine of 30,000 GEL
December 18, 2023
Nato Kavtaradze, lawyer JUST Advisors
Georgia is committed to enhancing waste management legislation as part of its obligations under the association agreement with the European Union. The Government of Georgia aims to implement a system for the separate collection and processing of specific types of waste by 2026, addressing a currently underregulated area. Anticipated changes include increased fines for violations, with some adjustments already incorporated into current legislation.

The Fundamental Essence of Waste Management Legislation

Waste management matters are governed by the Waste Management Code, wherein waste is defined as any substance or item that the owner discards, intends to discard, or is obligated to discard.

The residue can be categorized as follows:
  • Household waste: Waste generated by households.
  • Municipal waste: This includes household waste and other waste that shares similar characteristics and composition with household waste.
  • Inert waste: Waste that undergoes minimal physical, chemical, or biological changes; it does not dissolve, burn, or undergo significant reactions. It does not biodegrade and does not pose a risk to environmental pollution or human health.
  • Wastes generated during the demolition of buildings and construction or repair works, excluding household and hazardous wastes. These are subject to the requirements established by this regulation and the legislation of Georgia.
  • Oversized waste: Waste that cannot fit into a standard waste container due to its size and shape.

Fundamental Principles for Managing Waste

Waste management must occur without posing a threat to the environment and human health. It is strictly prohibited to dispose of waste by throwing or dumping it into the environment, as well as discarding or leaving it outside designated waste collection containers and facilities.

If an area is contaminated, the individual responsible for the pollution is obligated to remediate the affected territory. The municipality, whose jurisdiction encompasses the polluted area, possesses the right to compel the party responsible for the pollution to rectify the situation by cleaning up said territory.

If it is not possible to identify or locate the polluter, the municipality can assign the responsibility of cleaning the area to the owner of the property within a reasonable time specified by it. The municipality is responsible for cleaning the territory within its jurisdiction if the said area is not private property.
The collection of household waste is permitted only in specially designated bins. Placing construction waste, soil, stones, and other materials in these bins is prohibited, taking into consideration their type and composition.

What measures should be taken in the presence of household and construction waste?

Residents are required to dispose of household waste in specially designated containers. If a waste container is full and there is no space for additional garbage, it is prohibited, according to the code, to leave disposable waste next to or in the vicinity of the container. Such an action is considered equivalent to environmental pollution with household waste on the street and is subject to a fine (further details will be discussed below). The recommended course of action in this situation is to contact the city hall’s hotline to report overflowing containers, then locate an empty container to properly dispose of your trash.

When it comes to construction waste, it is not permissible to deposit it in containers placed on the street, as these containers are designated solely for household waste. Proper management of construction or renovation waste requires contacting the relevant authorities (for example, TbilService group, tel.: 595 33−71−16), which will facilitate the transfer of the waste to a specialized landfill. Alternatively, individuals can handle waste disposal independently. In Tbilisi, the designated site for construction waste disposal is located in the Gldani area, commonly known as the Gldani landfill.

What types of penalties are stipulated for violations of the law?

The oversight of waste management processes falls under the purview of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, municipal administration, and relevant state bodies.

In the event of the detection of environmental pollution caused by construction and other inert waste, an administrative offense protocol will be drawn up. A person who receives such a protocol is obliged to immediately or within a reasonable time clear the area of waste. In addition, the Code provides for fines depending on the volume of improperly placed construction/inert waste:

  • Up to 1 m³ will result in a natural person being fined 500 GEL, and a legal entity being fined 2,000 GEL.
  • Volume from 1 m³ to 10 m³ will result in a fine of 1,500 GEL for a natural person and a fine of 3,000 GEL for a legal entity.
  • From 10 m³ to 50 m³ will result in a fine of 5,000 GEL for a natural person and a fine of 15,000 GEL for a legal entity.
  • Volume of 50 m³ or more will lead to a natural person being fined 15,000 GEL, and a legal entity being fined 30,000 GEL

Cases of environmental pollution with municipal waste are characterized by the following features:

  • Littering the environment with up to 2 kg of municipal waste will result in a fine of 80 GEL. The same action, committed from a residential house or other building, will result in a fine of 200 GEL. The same action, committed from a motor vehicle, will lead to a fine of 250 GEL for the driver, and in the case of public transport, for the corresponding violator.

  • Pollution of the environment with 2 kg or more than 2 kg of municipal waste (except for the case provided for in Section 8 of this article) will result in a fine of 500 GEL for a natural person and a fine of 1,500 GEL for a legal entity.

  • Pollution of the environment with municipal waste of more than 1 m³ will result in a fine of 1,000 GEL for a natural person and a fine of 3,000 GEL for a legal entity.

  • Littering the environment with a large amount of waste (including waste from a vehicle, electrical or electro-technical equipment, construction equipment, or other similar equipment) will lead to a fine of 2,000 GEL for a natural person and a fine of 6,000 GEL for a legal entity.
According to the provision in Article 31 of the Code, if household waste is thrown from the cabin of a motor vehicle (excluding public transport) onto the road, and neither the patrol policeman, the executive body of the municipality, nor an authorized person or employee of an institution included in the ministry’s system draws up a protocol on the spot (penalty receipt), or the driver of the motor vehicle is not issued an administrative fine, and the act of the administrative offense is recorded on video and/or in photos, the payment of the fine will be imposed on the owner of the motor vehicle. The decision on imposing the administrative fine will be sent to the owner according to the place of registration.
This Code also addresses various cases of environmental pollution involving the illegal disposal/destruction of municipal waste:

Polluting the environment with up to 5 tires (excluding bicycle tires) will result in a fine of 500 GEL.
Pollution of the environment with 5 units or more than 5 units of tires (excluding bicycle tires) will result in a fine of 2,000 GEL.

Contaminating the environment with waste of up to 2 kg of batteries, accumulators, electric lamps, electrical goods, graphite electrodes, sharp or stinging objects (including glass shards, nails, or other similar objects) will result in a fine of 500 GEL.

The improper placement of specified waste in a collection container, including the placement of municipal non-hazardous waste, will result in a fine of 200 GEL for a natural person and a fine of 1,000 GEL for a legal entity.
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