EcoRubric 13:29 24 Jan 2023

From batteries to gas cans: how to dispose of things that help during blackouts

In October, Ukrainians experienced the first blackout due to russian attacks on energy infrastructure. Since then, we have begun to actively buy everything that allows us to live and work more or less comfortably despite the lack of electricity. But in connection with this, the amount of non-ecological waste has also increased.

Power banks, battery-powered garlands, batteries themselves, gas bottles, LED lamps — all this wears out and eventually ends up in the trash. But how do we dispose of things that help us during blackouts, right? Rubryka knows the answer.

What is the problem?

Ukrainians actively buy everything that allows them to feel more confident, not to sit in the dark and eat hot food despite the power outage. In 2022, such a number of generators were brought to Ukraine that their combined capacity is equal to one nuclear power plant unit. And flashlights and gas burners began to be bought so often that they ran out of them in some places, and you had to wait weeks for delivery. Almost four months after the beginning of regular attacks on energy infrastructure, it is time to talk about the disposal of things that help create light in the dark despite these attacks.

What is the solution?

Unfortunately, almost everything that is currently saving us sooner or later turns into a pile of garbage that is not at all ecological. How to properly dispose of all these things, especially those parts of them that are expendable, learn our material.

Where to bring batteries

утилізувати речі після блекаутів

Batteries, which significantly increase our level of comfort, harm the environment and negatively affect human health. They contain heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, lithium, lead, and acids and alkalis. All these substances poison the environment, and when they enter the human body, they cause diseases.

Each battery has a special mark indicating that it cannot be thrown into the trash. The protective metal coating dissolves very quickly under the influence of moisture and corrosion, and all of the above chemicals enter the soil and then the groundwater. One ordinary finger battery pollutes up to 400 liters of water. If the batteries are burned, all these elements will end up in the air, so it is also prohibited to do this. The only correct solution is disposal.

утилізувати речі після блекаутів

There are official battery collection points in every city of Ukraine. For example, in Kyiv, as of the beginning of January 2023, 210 specialized containers have been installed, which are intended for the collection of:

  • used batteries;
  • undamaged mercury thermometers;
  • energy-saving lamps.

A map of containers in the capital can be found here. Addresses of hazardous waste collection points in other cities can be found on the official websites of city and district councils.

In addition, since 2013, the environmental initiative "Batteries, surrender!" has been operating in Ukraine, which takes care of collecting used batteries and sending them abroad for recycling. Since the start of the initiative, 1,500 battery collection points have been created in all regions of Ukraine. Used batteries can be returned to the project partner networks Silpo, Epicenter, JYSK, Novus, Comfy, and WOG. You can find the reception point closest to you on the initiative map.

Which batteries can be handed over as part of the project:

  • finger batteries in sizes from AAA to D+ of the crown type;
  • different types of tablet batteries;
  • lithium batteries from phones and laptops;
  • portable batteries of various types and shapes.

"Batteries, surrender!" do not accept for recycling:

  • mercury lamps and thermometers;
  • electronics, mobile phones, electronic cigarettes, power banks;
  • large batteries for cars.

How to dispose of power banks and batteries

Ukrainian stores and online marketplaces today offer an array of flashlights, table lamps with batteries, and solar-powered lamps. All these independent light sources for indoor and outdoor lighting are currently in high demand. Their inexpensive mods sell out quickly and often fail just as quickly.

You can bring power banks and batteries from small household appliances, mobile phones, lamps, and flashlights to regular reception points along with batteries.

Instead, lead-acid batteries used in motor vehicles and emergency power sources are accepted only by specialized recycling plants and specialized licensed enterprises. The procedure and conditions for the operation of chemical current sources for legal entities and individuals (subjects of entrepreneurial activity) are determined by Art. 17 of Law No. 3503.

What to do with used gas bottles

утилізувати речі після блекаутів

It is also dangerous to throw used gas bottles into the general garbage. Mykola Povoroznyk, the first deputy head of the Kyiv City State Administration, reminded about this during the briefing.

"When disposing of a gas bottle thrown into the general waste, there is a potential possibility of an explosion. There are about 200 places in the city to dispose of batteries, LED lamps, and light bulbs. People know where they are. I would like to say now that such waste should be thrown away in these places, where utility workers will collect and dispose of it properly. The power bank, in fact, is no different from ordinary batteries that we take to specially designated places. Used gas bottles should also be brought there," the official said.

The "Epicentr-K" chain of stores also says that gas cylinders cannot be simply thrown into the trash.

"On the Internet, you can find many companies engaged in the disposal of gas bottles. To explain in simple words, water is put in them, frozen, and then the metal is cut and sent for processing. But this applies more to large gas cylinders.

Small travel cans can be prepared for recycling or disposal yourself. Carefully pierce the can with a large needle or other thin, sharp object so that the remaining gas comes out. And then just throw the product away or hand it in for scrap," the company's website advises.

By the way, pay attention to the bottle itself, which should have a marking that shows whether it can be thrown into the general trash.

Where to throw away LED lamps and garlands

утилізувати речі після блекаутів

Unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps, like incandescent lamps, are safe for people and relatively safe for the environment. LED lights and strips can be disposed of with regular trash, but they contain metal and plastic that can be separated and sent for recycling.

Today, there are no national regulations or initiatives for the recycling of LEDs, but if you are familiar with the construction of electrical appliances, you can try to disassemble the LED strip, lamp, or garland yourself and dispose of them in the appropriate recycling containers. If you do not have such skills and are concerned about the correct disposal of all parts, we recommend contacting your local recycling center.

What to do with candles leftovers

утилізувати речі після блекаутів

Leftovers from ordinary candles can no longer be used, so eventually, they too are sent to the landfill, increasing the amount of waste we produce.

Today, in almost every settlement of Ukraine, volunteer headquarters collect wax, paraffin, and candle ends to make bunker candles for the military. Check with local online groups to see who collects the wax and paraffin. Volunteers will be happy to employ them in any number. By the way, there is a Facebook group called "Trench candles" where you can ask where you can send this currently valuable material.

More useful solutions!

утилізувати речі після блекаутів

  • Even during the war, one should not forget about ecological habits. Therefore, it is useful to once again remind yourself of the basic rules for sorting garbage. All recyclables are divided into the following types:
  • Wastepaper. This includes books, cardboard, paper packaging, and others. To save space, cardboard and paper products should be compressed as much as possible and then folded into a paper bag or tied. The following are not considered waste paper: receipts, cigarette boxes, TetraPak, products that have already undergone processing before, and various contaminated and wet paper raw materials.
  • Tetra Pak is a multi-layer packaging made of polyethylene, cardboard, or foil. The packaging should be thoroughly washed from the inside and compressed.
  • Polyethylene: food bags, gloves, stretch film. Seal the polyethylene and put it in the same bag.
  • Plastic. There are seven types of plastic in total, five of which are recyclable. Look at the marking of the product — it is a triangle with a number from one to seven; sometimes, there are only letters in the marking. If there is no marking, or you saw the numbers 7 or 3 on it, such items cannot be recycled.
  • Metal: cans, lids, and other metal objects. They need to be cleaned of dirt and well packed.
  • Glass: bottles for drinks, medicinal and cosmetic products, and so on. Broken glass can also be recycled. Porcelain is not processed, as well as especially strong glass (which can withstand strong impacts and high temperatures).
  • Waste containing toxic substances in its chemical structure: energy-saving lamps, mercury thermometers, batteries, solvents, paints. This kind of garbage cannot be thrown into the regular trash.
  • Organics: wood, plants, food scraps. If you live in a private house, such waste can be compacted; if you live in an apartment, it can be thrown into a special or common tank.
  • Residual trash: This is what's left after you've sorted your waste (tape, sanitary napkins, wrappers, unlabeled products, broken items). This part of the waste should be sent to the landfill.
  • Do not throw away old clothes that can still be used, but donate them to a charity fund.

This material was created by the online media outlet Rubryka within the framework of the "Ukrainian Rapid Response Fund" program, implemented by IREX, with the support of the US State Department. The content is the sole responsibility of the Rubryka online publication and does not necessarily reflect the views of IREX or the US State Department.



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