Special Project 12:00 18 Oct 2021

Top 5 "Change Drivers" in ecology: who will you vote for?

Five best projects in ecology, selected by Rubryka and partners, compete for first place in the competition for the title of the best!

Launched in June, the Bendukidze Free Market Center project in collaboration with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Ukraine and Belarus, Atlas Network and Rubryka Solutions Media has selected the initiatives that will be the first to be included in the "Change Drivers" directory. There are already 78 of them! Within the competition, the organizers were looking for Ukrainian projects that work on actual changes in the fields of education, health care, ecology, social assistance, the army, and veterans.

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Now the competition has already reached the final: 5 best projects have been selected in each category, and each of you will be able to decide which one will be the winner. In this article, we present the 5 best projects in ecology: the finalists teach how to sort waste, help homeless animals, clean streets and mountains, and also decorate city streets with innovative alcoves and benches made of recycled plastic. Who made it to the final of the competition and what kind of projects are they? Find out right now.

"Let's do it Ukraine": have brought World Cleaning Day to Ukraine and fight for clean beaches

The all-Ukrainian youth movement, "Let's do it Ukraine," is a member of the "Let's Do It World" global movement, which unites more than 50 million activists in 180 countries. Every year, on the third Saturday of September, members of the movement join the World Cleaning Day in their country; they take to the streets of cities and jointly collect the abandoned garbage, and the collected waste, which is calculated in tens of tons across the whole country, is sent for recycling. The goal of this community is to develop an eco-friendly culture, skills of proper waste management, and respect for the environment.

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In addition, the organization annually implements all-Ukrainian and local projects, such as "Let's Make Ukraine Clean Together!"; "Clean Beaches Together!"; All-Ukrainian Forum for Interaction and Development, All-Ukrainian Ecological Festival ChystoFest, National Map of Recycling Points at recyclingpoints.org, Digital Cleaning, World Cleaning Day, All-Ukrainian Leadership Academy, and many others that help to make the world clean and consumption conscious.

"This year, 311,665 participants have joined the cleaning in Ukraine. Schoolchildren, students, officials, artists, activists, engaged citizens, and business representatives, the media together cleared 3,945 locations in 24 regions and 632 settlements. Through joint efforts, 1,022 tons of waste were collected, and of which 70 tons of secondary raw materials we handed over for recycling. And the participants also had a new format of cleaning, digital, during which they removed 55 865 gigabytes of unnecessary information from phones, computers, cloud storage!" President of the All-Ukrainian "Let's do it Ukraine" youth movement, Yulia Markhel, told Rubryka.

Yapomogabox: feed stray animals or help charities

Yapomoga is the first automated online platform for exchanging bonuses, discounts, and cashback for general charity, thanks to which it was possible to raise funds for a project, unique for Ukraine: machines you can feed homeless animals with by exchanging plastic for food for dogs and cats or, in another type of machine, help charities.

Yapomogabox accepts PET bottles of drinks up to two liters, always clean and twisted. Waste is sent for recycling to the Obukhivmiskvtorresursy company. The company transfers the collected funds from recycling recyclables to the funds with which it cooperates monthly. For example, to the "Starenki" charity foundation, which helps low-income elderly people, to the public organizations, "Feel," "We are Special," which help children with disabilities, or to the Yapomoga charitable organization.

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The first such machine appeared in Lukianovka a year ago, and now there are at least 5 of them in Kyiv: in shopping centers, schools, and just on the street! Another one just recently went to the city of Volochisk, Khmelnytskyi region. During the year of the project's existence, they collected as many as 10 tons of plastic, and this (as they jokingly say in "Yapomoga") is 5 African elephants or 3 baby blue whales.

"Clean Up In The Mountains" Eco-movement: activists clean up wildlife

In Kamenets-Podolskyi, there's a movement, "Clean Up In The Mountains." Local activists go on trash raids weekly: in the summer and autumn, they collected trash in Tovtrakh and the Carpathians. The movement has grown to hundreds of caring citizens. Among them are teachers, programmers, businesspeople, and musicians, and the founder of the movement is Inna Mazur.

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Activists go weekly on a scavenger hunt. They have repeatedly removed garbage on Mount Petros, in the canyon of the Smotrych River many times, up to 24 hikes,  and on the banks of the Dniester 7 more times. Garbage is taken out in dozens of huge bags, mainly plastic, glass, and metal bottles. So nature becomes cleaner, and as Mazur herself writes, with each new initiative, they find less and less waste left by the townspeople and vacationers.

Green Box: teaching Ukrainians to sort waste

Green Box is a social enterprise and public organization founded in 2016. Their goal is to teach Ukrainians how to properly sort waste and give them convenient tools for this.

The company sells eco-friendly cardboard containers for sorting glass and various types of plastic, and also provides services: collecting sorted waste from 145 apartments and 93 offices in Lviv. It is there that the first public sorting station for recyclable materials operates. To hand over the sorted recyclable materials for recycling, you just need to leave a request on the company's website, wait for the manager to contact you, and meet the bus next Wednesday or Thursday, handing over the collected and sorted waste to the Green Box employees.

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Now more than 500 families in Lviv sort their waste every month. As a result, 63,000 kilograms of recyclable materials were transferred for recycling last year. In addition, the company regularly conducts lectures and consultations, helps to set up a garbage sorting system, whether in your apartment or a large office, launches the collection of non-standard waste from production, serves garbage sorting at festivals and other events.

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"Today in Ukraine, only 4% of all waste is sorted, so the mission of the Green Box is to take people to the good side," the company says. "We also have a very cool Instagram community where we share the world's updates on ecology, sorting, and awareness."

"Precious Plastic": raising the price of the plastic we recycle

Yevhen Khlebnikov opened a workshop, "Precious plastic Ukraine," three years ago. This workshop is part of the Precious Plastic Community and gives plastic new life instead of polluting the planet. With the help of like-minded people, friends, and crowdfunding, Yevhen found a room, assembled equipment, and opened a workshop. At the moment, "Precious plastic Ukraine" exists entirely at the expense of his funds.

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The primary mission of the company is to raise the value of plastic as such. If plastic is taken for UAH 6 to 10 per kilogram and must be handed over starting a certain weight (for example, from 100 to 200 kg) at waste processing plants, then "Precious plastic Ukraine" accepts plastic from the population for UAH  20 per kilogram. That is, it increases the price of plastic, and motivates people not to throw it away but recycle it, thus making the situation with environmental plastic pollution better. Otherwise, the process of collection and transportation to a waste sorting station becomes uneconomical. The Precious Plastic company solves this problem, financially stimulating the population to recycle plastic. 

Now "Precious Plastic" produces a wide variety of products from recycled plastic surplus: from art objects and decor items to benches and building materials. You may have seen some of the objects in Kyiv, Odesa, or Dnipro. For example, an alcove near the Botanical Garden near the Universytet metro station and the Mario restaurant or paneling for the HUMANS: coffee in tech bar in the capital. They also managed to establish the production of plastic paving slabs; they were laid on a playground in Odesa.

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🚀 You can vote for the projects here: https://www.changedrivers.com.ua/


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