Four easy ways to keep Kyiv cleaner
Slowly but surely, governments are enacting new laws that reduce waste and tackle plastic pollution. The European Parliament has taken plenty of decisive steps in this area, most recently approving a ban on single-use plastics by 2021. With four easy tips, our guide will help you stay ahead of the times and make the planet a little cleaner, starting with Kyiv.
Reusable shopping bags
Ukraine’s capital can learn something from a resort town called Slavske in Lviv Oblast. Deputies of the local community have banned the use of plastic bags in town and recommended to replace them with eco-friendly alternatives made from fabric, paper or biodegradable materials.
Since most of the stores in Kyiv don’t have paper or biodegradable alternatives, the best idea is to get your own reusable shopping bags made from fabric.
There are tons of places where you can buy a large tote bag for your groceries. Sometimes you can get them for free as a brand’s promotional item. But make sure you always have one with you when going shopping. Always keeping a mid-sized tote bag in your purse or backpack should do the trick.
Smaller bags for loose goods like fruits, vegetables and grains are harder to come by. But in the past year, many local businesses have started to produce them due to increasing demand. Mostly they sell exclusively through Instagram. Here are our three picks:
• Ecobag UA: cotton or transparent net bags — Hr 250 for six pcs. Instagram.com/ecobag_ua.
• Careful Store: polyester transparent net bags — Hr 150 for five pcs; string bags and tote bags — Hr 220–240. Instagram.com/careful.store.
• Dobra Torba: bags from multiple fabrics — Hr 50; tote bags — Hr 150. Instagram.com/dobra.torba.
Cups for beverages are another top-polluter of the oceans and should be banned in Europe by 2021 under the new European Parliament directive. This includes both plastic and so-called “paper cups,” that are still coated with plastic on the inside to prevent leaking through paper.
Biodegradable alternatives are rare to see in Kyiv’s cafes, so your most responsible solution would be to bring your own reusable cup there to be filled with your drink of choice. Some of the city’s cafes will give a discount for this, including My Bookshelf, Vegano Hooligano and Mira Cafe.
Some places in Kyiv have replaced plastic straws with paper and reusable metal ones, like Bali Bowl, All True East and City-Zen cafes. You can also buy your own metal straw and use it wherever you go.
Follow the same logic with water bottles and containers for food — buy and reuse one sturdy alternative instead of resorting to flimsy single-use plastics. You can refill your water bottle in some cafes for free or from a water cooler at work. And you can use your food container to bring lunch to work and pack take-out food from a restaurant.
• Ozero: reusable cups — Hr 385– 500; metal straws — Hr 50; containers — Hr 700–1,400. Facebook.com/ OzeroUA.
• Cooleco: reusable cups — Hr 450; metal straws — Hr 450; water bottles — Hr 259–299. Facebook.com/pg/ cooleco.bags.
• Bentobox UA: reusable cups — Hr 480–700; lunchboxes — Hr 640– 1,344. Bentobox.com.ua.
Sort waste and recycle
The Ministry of Ecology here has an ambitious strategy for managing waste: by 2030 about 70 percent of it should be reused of recycled. For now, it’s only up to 5 percent, according to Ostap Semerak, Ukrainian Minister of Ecology.
There is a long way to go, and it starts at a trash bin in your home, or rather trash bins, where the waste should get sorted out.
The most basic way to go about it is to sort everything into three piles: plastic, paper and all other waste. Don’t forget that containers have to be rinsed before being put in the waste bin.
You can add two more bins for glass and metal if you have lots of it. If not, you can put the odd glass bottle or tin can in the bin for plastic, and then put it where it belongs at the sorting station. It’s important to put aside potentially hazardous waste like batteries, light bulbs and medicine that are processed separately.
Sorting can seem complicated at first, but there is a cheat sheet to help you — a free app in Ukrainian called “” or “Sort,” that has information on how different types of waste should be sorted and where best to turn them in. Sort also has a map of sorting stations in Kyiv.
You are lucky if you have recycling bins by your house that get taken to recycling centers. But most likely you don’t in which case you have to find the closest sorting stations on the map provided by the Sort app. The most numerous ones are the stations of KyivMiskVtorResursy and No Waste Ukraine.
• Sort: an app with sorting guide and recycling stations map. Greenproject. org.ua.
• KyivMiskVtorResursy: recycling stations accepting plastic, paper, glass, tin cans. Kgvr.kiev.ua.
• No Waste Ukraine: recycling stations accepting plastic, paper, glass, clothes, wood, metal, batteries. Nowaste.com.ua.
Donate, sell old clothes
One less obvious industry that contributes a lot to pollution is the fashion industry. Growing cotton requires vast amounts of water and pesticides which harm the soil and lead to draught. Coloring and printing on clothes involve chemicals, some of which can cause cancer, according to Greenpeace research.
The harm is intensified by modern fast fashion practices when clothes are produced quickly and cheaply to capture the latest fashion trends, and then are quickly disposed of. Most of it ends up in landfill, and clothes from polyester take as long as plastic to decompose.
The solution is simply to buy fewer clothes. When you do, try sticking to sustainable fashion brands that minimize their impact on the environment and boast better quality and durability. Some Ukrainian brands, like Remade and RCR Khomenko, turn to upcycling: creating new items out of used clothes.
Your own clothes that you don’t really wear can get a new life if you donate them. Those most in need will get them if you bring clothes to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society or Caritas Ukraine. There are also recycling boxes for clothes at the H&M shop and some OKKO service stations.
Laska Charity Store will sell the clothes you bring and give the proceeds to charity and social city improvement. You can also exchange your used clothes at Bank Odiahu, or simply sell it through OLX.ua. The planet will thank you.
• Ukrainian Red Cross Society — clothes donation. 30 Pushkinska St.; 10–6 Sofiivska St. Redcross.org.ua.
• Caritas Ukraine — clothes donation. 7B Ivana Mykytenka St. Caritaskiev.org.ua.
• Laska Charity Store — clothes donation. 3 Lypynskoho St. Laskastore. com.
A volunteer for No Waste Ukraine talks about recycling with visitors of the organization's recycling station on Sept. 24, 2018 in Kyiv. No Waste Ukraine has two recycling stations in Kyiv that accept plastic, paper, glass, metal, batteries. (No Waste Ukraine/Andrei Maximov)