How to drink coffee without littering the planet

An eco-friendly lifestyle begins with small steps. This is not just about waste sorting and taking part in community work days. It applies to such little everyday things as a disposable cup for morning coffee.

Each paper cup is coated on the inside with polyethylene to prevent liquid from leaking out through the paper. And it is this barrier coating that limits the recyclability of the paper cups: they cannot be recycled either as paper, or as plastic.

Thanks to the efforts of environmental activists, vending machines with the option of using your own cup finally appeared in the Twelve Collegia building. Merely put your container in the dispensing area and make sure that the message ‘no cup’ is displayed. The activists aspire to implement a bring-your-own-container option in the other vending machines on the University grounds.

To reduce the number of landfills, you may start by replacing disposable items with reusable ones, or by participating in waste diversion programmes.

At present, the University has 19 collection points for recyclable materials – that is a third more than in 2018.

Eco-activists not only open new recycling collection sites, they also monitor the work of already existing recycling / collection points. For example, in December, a group of students managed to reopen the recycling drop-off point at the Institute of Earth Sciences of St Petersburg University. The site had been closed due to the fact that the recycling containers were contaminated with the wrong items. The activists ensured that the site would be given a second chance. They scrubbed up the containers and made the user instructions easily comprehensible. Currently, recyclables are collected at this site again.

7 %

of the overall amount of waste is recyclable.

In 2019, topics relevant to sustainable development of the University were frequently debated: during community work days and bio fairs held in the University Botanical Garden; at the free markets; film screenings; student competitions; and seminars. In total, over 30 events dedicated to sustainability and environmental protection have been held. As a result, the University students collected recyclables worth over 630 thousand roubles: more than four tons of glass; eight tons of scrap metal; and almost 80 tons of waste paper. Thanks to the new recycling containers, in 2019, the University saved from landfill four tons of PET waste – that is twice as much as in 2018.

The amount of recyclables collected at recycling collection sites: 6/1 Astronomicheskaya Str. and 58-60 Galernaya Str., accounted for 42% and 50% respectively, of the total amount of waste. This means that almost half of the waste from these sites can be recycled and reused. This is the highest result recorded on the University grounds in 2019.

1 300 000

roubles – that is how much the University was able to save in 2019 by cutting the amount of recyclables going into the landfill.

Everyone can join in the work or propose their own ‘green’ ideas that will change the University for the better. The collection of eco initiatives continues in the student group ‘EcoSPBU’.