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Regular version of the site

Green HSE Collects 530 kg of Recyclable Materials as Part of ‘Separate Waste Collection for Points’

The team talks about their success and the way to a zero waste lifestyle

© Daniil Prokofyev

For six weeks, the Green HSE team collected various types of waste for recycling, including clothing, electronics, and Tetra Pak. The waste was collected in eight buildings, and over 100 people took part in the campaign. We talked to the team about the ‘Separate Waste Collection for Points’ campaign and their tips for a zero waste lifestyle.

Daria Podolskaya

In total, 107 people took part in the campaign: they put recyclables in boxes that were installed in the buildings, then volunteers came to remove and weigh the waste.

The recyclable materials were weighed and recorded in a special table, where it was converted into points. There was no need to sort the waste, since everything in the bags was already separated, but the volunteers checked whether the recyclables were collected correctly. At least 7 people worked in each building.

The campaign was quite successful, despite some restrictions due to the COVID-19 situation. Ideally, we’d like to automate the process in the future to use less human resources. And of course, we will think about how we can develop the campaign to attract a wider audience.

Let's start with HSE University and then change the world! I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the campaign.

We asked Green HSE team to tell us about their own ways of recycling and trying to live a zero waste lifestyle, as well giving us some advice for beginners.

Nina Tamarkina
Partner communications and point system creator

I started my journey to zero waste by realizing the problem — my daily and seemingly harmless actions -buying food, cosmetics, gifts, clothes – all have a negative effect on the planet I live on.

I guess first of all I stopped buying plastic bags. Then I purchased a reusable glass cup for drinks, and stopped using disposable cups. Then I came up with the idea of carrying my own fork so I don’t have to use a disposable one if I eat out — I highly recommend this!

The hardest thing on my way to zero waste is to act regularly and consistently. Fortunately, all actions become a habit over time: you end up acting automatically. Feeling guilty is another problem. You can’t avoid some products in disposable packaging, for example, last month I bought coffee in a disposable cup, and ready-made food in a plastic container. It can sometimes be hard to admit that you're not perfect.

Here are some tips for anybody who wants to reduce their waste:

Allow yourself to make mistakes and change slowly. It is better to reduce waste little by little than do nothing at all. Don't be too hard on yourself for using an extra sweet wrapper, just think about how to avoid it in the future.

Surround yourself with like-minded people. On the one hand, there are people from Green HSE around me, so I adopt more and more eco-habits. On the other hand, my behavior inspires others:  my dad has stopped buying disposable bags, so now I can't lower my standards.

Introduce one habit at a time, not all of them at once, so that you have more chances not to give up in a week.

Find Zero Waste stores that are convenient for your location. Try to make a waste-free purchase there at least once. This way you will understand that a zero waste purchase is quite feasible. It will be easier to repeat it later.

Add some eco-content to your information field, follow at least one eco-blogger to gradually get more information on this theme and try new patterns of behavior.

A quick tip: my favorite Zero Waste store in Moscow is Naked Food. The choice there is amazing! Also, There is a 5% discount for HSE students.

Arina Nurutdinova
Curator of volunteers, coordinator of posts in social networks

I started by recycling plastic bottles in HSE buildings and using blue bins for recyclables near my home. Then I learnt more about the movement and found some reliable delivery points. I became more conscious about my purchases: I try to buy things that are necessary and secondhand if possible.

I can't say that I'm a perfect representative of the zero waste movement; I still have waste left, mostly from food. Being a student, you often need a quick meal, and usually you can't find things without plastic packaging. I think that's the hardest part of zero waste, learning to plan your day in advance.

I recommend starting your journey to zero waste by searching for the nearest waste collection point. Find out about recycling companies you can trust, what you can recycle, and how to prepare your waste. Zero Waste is mostly about mindfulness: you choose to take a bottle of water with you or pour it into your mug, rather than constantly buying plastic bottles and disposable cups. You replace plastic bags with reusable shopping bags.

A quick tip: arrange swaps with your friends. You’ll be able to exchange clothing, accessories, books, and even furniture.

Arina Stepanova
Organizer, curator of volunteers

I started by buying two cloth bags: one for vegetables and one for fruit. Then I bought a thermos that I carry with me all the time. Now I really like to go to second-hand stores and visit swaps. The most difficult thing is to wash recyclables. I am rather lazy, even though it usually only takes about 15 minutes.

I think that you should start with little things like ‘don't put bananas in a plastic bag’ and ‘take water in a reusable bottle, so that you don’t need to buy a plastic one’. Then you can adopt other habits. The main thing is to remember that we are all people and we all need some rest. If you’ve had a long day, and tomorrow your day will be even longer, don’t beat yourself up yourself for forgetting your tote bag, and buying apples in a plastic bag.

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of the world around you. Of course, everyone's contribution to saving nature from pollution is important, but the major responsibility lies with  corporations, not us.

A quick tip: I advise everyone to visit the vegan cafe MOX (MOSS) - it's really cool!

November 11, 2020