Society

Starch bags and water from the air: how do Ukrainians help the planet?

Ecology Ukraine

Scientists are ringing the alarm: the man-caused revolution has led to the fact that today the world is on the verge of extreme droughts, fires, floods and food shortages for millions of people. After all, if the rate of global warming does not change, the average temperature of the planet will rise by 1.5°C from 2030 to 2052. How to stop global warming? Radical changes are necessary in energy production and consumption, various industries, and so on. While scientists develop an action plan, Ukrainians become “eco-dependent.” Promote Ukraine researched how nature and its country are protected in Ukraine.

Responsible attitude

For 93% of Ukrainians, environmental protection is an important issue, and 87% believe that they can personally play their role in protecting the environment. These are the results of a sociological study of the resource-analytical center “Society and Environment.”

“These high percentages are proportional to the European Union. If in our country it is 93%, in the EU it is 94%. That means that we are in the same value space on environmental issues with EU citizens,” said Nataliia Andrusevych, Chairman of the Board of the Resource and Analytical Center.

In her opinion, a good sign is that Ukrainians are starting to sort garbage and thinking about a frugal attitude to resources, even from the point of saving money. “This is very good. It takes a lot of time to change the consciousness of citizens at the value level, it takes not one or ten years. We still have to change our habits, and this is a matter for the government, parliament, public organisations and the citizens themselves,” she is sure.

Savings and sorting

In turn, the marketing research agency IRS Group wondered which actions that are aimed at solving environmental problems do Ukrainians personally take part in, and in which ones would they like to participate in order to improve the state of the environment in our country.

According to the survey, almost 2/3 of respondents (62%) are responsible for the use of natural resources:

  • rationally consume gas;
  • turn off the lights and all appliances when they are not needed;
  • consume the minimum amount of water (but which is necessary to take a shower, wash the dishes, brush teeth, etc.)

This rational approach significantly saves natural resources, as well as reduces the cost of utilities, which is important today.

Also, about a quarter of respondents (27%) buy organic food and are especially careful when choosing food.

In addition, some respondents (23%) are engaged in sorting garbage at home, and another part (21%) plants trees and cares for plants.

So, what do Ukrainians do to preserve nature?

  1. Refuse plastic bags

According to the UN, about 5 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year, or about 10 million – every minute. So far, about 60 countries around the world have begun to fight plastic at the legislative level. Ukrainian business has not been left out either. For example, packages of corn starch, which decompose in 90 days, have been created. The new development is 100% biodegradable and compostable at home.

“Usually, when we put leftover food in a plastic bag, we don’t think about preserving it for centuries,” says environmental expert Andriy Bereza. “Starch bags break down into biological substances and can be used as fertilisers.”

Also, all kinds of “eco-packages” made of fabric, bags, nets, etc. have become very fashionable for shopping among Ukrainians. They are made in different sizes and designs.

  1. Sort garbage

Thanks to “environmental awareness,” more and more Ukrainians sort waste and throw it in special landfills for recycling. Today, you can recycle things like paper, batteries, plastic, glass and a lot more.

  1. Say “No” to disposable bottles and utensils

Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. Therefore, Ukrainians limit the use of plastic utensils. Instead, they buy reusable bottles and carry water with them.

  1. Introduce energy efficiency in household use

According to a report by the International Energy Agency, global carbon emissions from energy production in 2017 rose to 32.5 gigatonnes, setting a record. Nowadays, the situation is even worse.

Therefore, Ukrainians are actively saving light: during the day they use natural light resources, and in the evening they turn it on only when needed. Energy-saving lamps have also become quite popular. They last longer and consume less energy than conventional ones.

And our windows and doors are closed when the air conditioner is working as it makes it several times more powerful and saves electricity.

  1. Save water

The World Health Organization reports that 2.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water. At the same time, there is not such problem in Ukraine. Many Ukrainians save water and use it rationally: they take a shower instead of a bath, and when they brush their teeth, they turn off the water.

  1. Choose environmentally friendly transport

The US Environmental Protection Agency has investigated that a typical car emits about 404 grams of carbon dioxide per mile (1.6 km). During the year, the average car emits 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide. Today, many Ukrainians have moved to bicycles or public transport. And quarantine has only increased the popularity of two-wheeled transport. Cyclists have occupied Ukrainian roads.

  1. Give batteries to special collection points

Did you know that once in the ground, a battery can contaminate 400 liters of water or 20 square meters of soil? So, throwing out just two old batteries from a flashlight, you will ruin two baths, 8 buckets and a half kettle of clean water. Therefore, Ukrainians collect batteries and give them to special disposal institutions. Moreover, they do it in many apartment buildings where they place containers for collecting batteries and, thus, together with the neighbours, protect nature.

  1. Buy artificial Christmas trees for the New Year

There is a global problem with deforestation in Ukraine. To preserve greenery, people buy artificial Christmas trees. They serve for many years and save the natural fund.

Ukrainian eco-startups conquering the world

According to the State Innovative Financial and Credit Institution, we have have many successful Ukrainian eco-startups. What was invented in Ukraine?

  • Foodbiopack: biodegradable and edible packaging and utensils.

All products are based on natural food components that contain proteins, polysaccharides and fats.

  • Ecoisme: energy saving system

The Ecoisme device connects to an electrical switchboard and Wi-Fi network, and measures the electricity consumption in the house. All data on energy consumption goes to the mobile application and helps the owner to control consumption.

  • Effa: disposable toothbrush made of recycled paper

First of all, Effa brushes will be useful to those who travel a lot without harming nature.

  • Re-Beau: Ukrainian designer Maria Sorokina creates jewelry from recycled plastic.

By the way, Re-beau products even complemented the images of models at Ukrainian Fashion Week, in collaboration with the Roussin brand.

  • Flushwave: technical water reuse system

It allows you to reuse wastewater from washbasins, bathtubs and showers to flush the toilet.

  • SolarGaps: blinds with solar panels.

They generate clean energy, thanks to photovoltaic modules. One square meter of SolarGaps can give 100 watts per hour.

  • Water Cloud UA: a device for collecting water from the air.

It collects water condensation from the air. By the way, the startup took third place at the Interdisciplinary Scientific Conference Falling Walls Lab Kyiv 2017.

  • Jollylook: an environmentally friendly snapshot camera made entirely of recycled paper and cardboard. It has no electronics – only paper, a pair of lenses and mini-cartridges for instant photos.

Natalia Tolub

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