Sort and Keep Well!

17 March 2020
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Activists of the environmental association ReGreen, in cooperation with SPbPU authorities have developed a project for a separate waste collection system on the territory of the university. Special containers are already installed near the buildings.

Just think: each of us annually produces about 400 kg of waste. This is 40 million tons of garbage throughout Russia, 93% of which is brought away to landfills. Separate waste collection system allows processing up to 90% of waste. In this case, almost all waste becomes secondary raw materials, which can be used more than once for the new products. Sorting and recycling eliminates waste incineration and pyrolysis, which poison nature and people, so this system reduces the impact on the environment, reduces harmful emissions and restores the natural system. In our country there are already processing enterprises, however they are not working to the full extent.

The project was proposed by students of the environmental association ReGreen and, of course, found support from the administrative and economic services of the Polytechnic University and personally from the Vice Rector for General Services Mikhail GREKOV. Activists are confident that the introduction of separate waste collection on the territory of the university is a huge step in the development of environmental awareness among young people, rational waste management, responsible consumption and production. This has a positive effect on our lifestyle: we begin to adequately evaluate our expenses, become less prone to spontaneous purchases, save money on what we really don’t need, we clearly see what we are buying, and how much is spent on packaging. As for the university, the introduction of separate collection allows you to save significant money on garbage collection. From the agreement, posted in open sources, we can see that about 8 million rubles have already been saved.

Sorting system has been launched on the territory of SPbPU

“For the first time, a stationary separate waste collection system has been launched at the overall university,” according to one of the initiators of the project, a student of the Institute of Civil Engineering Elizaveta Khrapkina. - In many universities there are initiatives to install containers, but the territory of the Polytechnic University is like a small city, and it was required to offer a system solution. Sorting along with the usual export scheme has already been fixed in the main university document on waste management.”

Since February 2020, 15% of waste, namely waste paper and plastic (bottles labelled 1 - PET), are to be recycled. Blue and orange metal nets are placed on each container site of the university. Such points are especially relevant on the territory of dorms, since the campus is the place of the greatest accumulation of municipal solid waste. The first litter bins are also installed in the administrative premises Civil Engineering Institute Building. This was made possible thanks to ReGreen team winning the grant competition of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh). In the future, other buildings will be equipped with special containers for sorting litter.

SPbPU campus scheme with containers for separate waste collection

“Next time taking away litter take bottles and paper to give them a second life,” the guys from ReGreen appeal to all polytechnics. “And then it’s our turn!” Simple instructions on the rules for using the separate waste collection system are available on stands in educational buildings, in the campus and in the ReGreen Vkontakte group. For example, paper, cardboard, magazines can be returned to waste paper containers. But receipts, “paper” cups, dirty and greasy waste paper are prohibited, because they can spoil the overall separately collected waste. Rinse and squeeze plastic bottles before recycling. Bottles with covers and labels are allowed. You can also bring opaque bottles.

Separate collection and recycling eliminates waste incineration, reduces harmful emissions and restores the natural system

ReGreen team are confident that the project for separate waste collection at the Polytechnic University can be an excellent example for scaling up in other universities in the city and country. However, they explain that today the system is in the developing stage, and they need our help to make the process convenient for everyone. “Use the new containers correctly and tell your colleagues and friends about the innovation,” eco-activists appeal to students and university staff.

Prepared by the Public Relations Department of SPbPU. Translated by SPbPU International Office