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  2. "Making money out of waste." Syktyvkar resident organized separate waste collection in a block of flats

"Making money out of waste." Syktyvkar resident organized separate waste collection in a block of flats

Ivan Zhuravkov
Separate waste collection site in a high-rise block on 50 Bumazhnikov street
Photo from Arina Sazhina’s personal archive
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Syktyvkar activist of the Ekobessrochka Ezhva and Let's Make the Town Cleaner Movements Arina Sazhina organized a site for separate waste collection in a high-rise block in 50 Bumazhnikov street where she lives. The young woman bought nine waste bins and obtained the homeowners' association’s approval to place them in the garbage collector in one of the entrance halls. She told 7x7 that the money made from the processing of recyclables would be used for the housing improvement.

The project was launched in January 2021. Arina Sazhina offered the homeowners' association, Ezhvinsky Zhilkomkhoz LLC, equipping a site for separate waste collection in an empty room of the garbage collector in one of the entrance halls of the house.

The activist said that she had started sorting waste four years ago, and for the last two years, she and her colleagues in eco-movements have been collecting garbage in forests and public spaces of the town. During voluntary Saturday works, the young woman noticed how much waste was thrown out by tenants, calculated the price of recycling and decided “to make money out of waste”.

Sazhina ordered nine plastic containers from Kazan at her own expense, each costing 1.5 thousand rubles not including delivery. Some eco-activists she knows helped her to make instructing signs for waste collection. Together with Alexei Panyukov, the director of the homeowners' association, the young woman arranged the trash pickup with some companies for the purchase and processing of recyclables. An entryphone lock was installed on the door to the site — any tenant of the house can get into the room.

“Not only tenants of the house can bring their waste, but also their friends who come to see them. For example, I ask my friends to come „bearing gifts“,” the activist said.

Waste is sorted into several types at the site: plastic bottles, household chemicals' flasks, waste paper and cardboard, metal tin and aluminum cans, plastic bags and wrap. There are small containers for collecting batteries and foil in the site.

There is a price list with types of recyclable materials in a store room, so the tenants of the house can assess the contribution they have made. All the money made from the processing of recyclables would be used for the housing improvement.

According to Sazhina, there are 172 apartments in the block and most of the tenants approved the initiative and have already begun throwing garbage into the containers. She gives her neighbors a "mini-tour" of the site.

"We are making money out of waste. Let’s not store it at landfills, bury it, incinerate it. Slowly, you need to switch to separate waste collection. Therefore, it would be good for as many houses as possible to implement such a system. But this requires active tenants, because it will not work without them. I monitor our site at least twice a day — in the morning and in the evening, after work. I like going in there, bringing something, making sure everything is all right," Sazhina said.

The activist believes that when tenants understand how many recyclable materials they regularly hand over, it will be possible to contact the garbage regional MSW operator, so that it takes out waste from containers at cost, and not as per tariff.

Information about collecting waste and the cost of recyclable materials will be published quarterly in the community of the house on vk.com. For example, on January 13, the company picked up 210 kg of collected paper for the first time, mostly advertising leaflets.


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