Old into new: Moscow takes up recycling initiative

Recycling innovations are hitting the scene in Moscow, and people are lining up like never before to get involved.

Across town, Greenpeace has set up a temporary drop-off point for people’s separated recycled goods. They are also driving special trucks to people’s homes – to show the government that Russians are ready to recycle, if given the means.

Recycled material ends up at Kusakowski recycling plant on the outskirts of Moscow, a company that really is pushing the boundaries of what can be done with household items when they are not in use any more.

The phosphorus, mercury and heavy metals inside electronics are removed for further refining.

Everything else is crushed in giant shredders, then sifted and separated. Palladium, gold and silver are smelted into units and returned to the precious metals markets.

However, the successful scheme is still tough going in Russia, because mass recycling has not quite taken hold.

“There is very little support from the authorities,” Leo Ushanov, from Kusakowski recycling, told RT.

Instead of waiting for recycling laws to bring people around, recycling activists are trying to change mentalities before the laws.

“Somebody needs to do it,” Greenpeace’s Alexey Kiselev told RT. “A couple of months ago, President Medvedev in his video blog claimed that the only solution for the Russian federation to fight waste problems is to go for separate waste collection for recycling. Actually, nobody from the authorities replied to his appeal, so we decided to lead this process and we actually run this national campaign on waste recycling. Separate waste collection is one of the most essential things if you want to achieve any success.”

Muscovites are ready to support the initiative. Many people bring recyclables to local Greenpeace stations. If an item is too heavy or massive, like an old TV set, the activists will drive to your house and collect it.

At the end of the day, all of these will end up back at Kusakowski to be separated, processed and shipped out to be made into new products.

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