How to stop waste from ending up on a landfill?
Don't toss it
A story about sorting and recycling
In Ukraine about 95% of waste end up on landfills. This means that approximately five percent of the entire country is covered by dump sites. These huge piles of waste are not only nasty to look at and even worse to smell; they also have a lasting environmental impact and pose a risk to the communities living nearby.
Many materials that end up on landfills contain toxic substances. During their decay, these hazardous substances are slowly released, seep into the soil beneath and pollute the groundwater for years. Especially leachate, the blackish liquid that forms after water filtered through the decomposed waste, is one of the major problems connected to landfills that do not meet sanitary standards. According to a study about 30% of Ukrainian landfills do not meet national environmental safety standards.

Leachate lake
However, the risks of landfills do not stop there. While the waste is decaying, gas accumulates in the body of the trash pile. A few pieces of broken glass somewhere on the site and enough heat from the sunlight can cause fires which will be fueled by the gas.
The Hrybovychi landfill

In 2016, the city of Lviv faced a huge waste crisis after it's municipal landfill, the Hrybovychi landfill, was shut down in the aftermath of a horrible accident. A mountain of garbage collapsed after a big fire and four people died. Ever since, the landfill has been under constant surveillance to avoid fires from breaking out. Pashuk Rostyslav Bohdanovych, director of the LKP "Zbyranka", the municipal company that disposes of solid household waste in Lviv, explains what has been done since the accident.
So, how and where can the amount of recycled waste be increased, so it does not end up on a dump site?
What can be done with
paper waste?
Paper for disabled children
Anja has been working as a fundraiser at the Dzherelo Centre for more than a year and a half now. With different projects and initiatives, they try to raise money for the disabled children that they are taking care of. One of these projects is about turning paper waste into money.
The Dzherelo Centre is a privately run, charitable institution subsidized by the city of Lviv. It is an educational rehabilitation center that was founded more than 20 years ago and provides family-centered services for children and young people with special needs.

In 2019, most of the organizations budget was provided from Lviv's city budget. About 20% of their funds are coming from foreign donations, especially from Canada. Their paper waste recycling programme is one of many initiatives to raise money for their centre.

One ton of paper is one month for one kid being in Dzherelo
Anja, Fundraiser at Dzherelo Centre
Where to go to recycle
plastic waste?
«Sorting trash is my favourite thing to do»
In 2015 Ilko Petryk decided he wanted to do something about Lviv's waste problem and started Green Box. Two years later, they have a small office close to the city center, hidden in the back yard of an old factory plot, inviting people to bring them their recyclable trash. Marta, a former journalist, is working there as a volunteer and helps the people to sort their trash right.
However, plastic does not equal plastic. The so-called recycling numbers on the bottom of plastic bottles and other containers explain what kind of material it is composed of. In order to recycle them properly, only containers with the same number can be put together, as the different molecules used in the various types do not mix; if they were put together, it would be like trying to recycle paper and glass at the same time.
For Marta sorting trash is not only a job, but also a passion. She explains that the residents of Lviv mainly use two types of plastic in their daily lives – polyethylene (PE), number 1, and polypropylene (PP), number 5. These two types of plastic are some of the materials that can be brought to Green Box and are easy to recycle. However, there are still many types of plastic that are not reusable and may even contain hazardous substances. Especially plastic marked with the numbers three, six and seven should be disposed of cautiously, Marta explains.
How to avoid
single-use cups?
Edible cups to go
«I would like to believe that garbage doesn't have to end up on a landfill, but that it is recycled. We will do everything that we can, like sorting paper and don't using plastic»

- Lida, owner of Soup Culture in Lviv
"Soup Culture" is an Ukrainian street food brand that sells soups in edible cups. The bread cup is a smart alternative to single-use plastic, as it doesn't pollute the environment and reduces the amount of waste. The idea came from Kyrylo Puzenko. He and his partners wanted to create an alternative and healthy street food and a new food culture in Ukraine. Their business became succesful and was even turned into an international franchise. Apart from location is Ukraine, "Soup Culture"can be also found in Poland, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria.
A multimedia feature by Alina Dziubko, Frederik Damborg, Iryna Ivanets, Said Babazade and Veronika Hribernik

Mentor: Dmytro Konovalov
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