Aleksandra Maksimova: My Waste Experiment

How much trash do we produce every day/week/month? And what should we do to keep our planet clean and healthy? I’ve tried to find the answers to these questions.

Simple experiment how much waste is produced by one person for 20 days? Now I can say. I have measured it check the picture below. And I’m sure all of you know that at least 70-80% of contents of the trash bin can be recycled:

Photo by Aleksandra Maksimova

Photo by Aleksandra Maksimova

The annual loss for the Russian economy from the lack of a separate waste collection system is more than 230 billion rubles, according to Greenpeace Russia. Just recently Greenpeace Russia gave an interview in which their representatives said: “The amount of annual losses in the economy due to the lack of separate waste collection can be estimated in the amount of 232,8 billion rubles. This loss, it’s gross revenue, such an amount of money is not earned by companies, that are involved in the process of sorting and recycling of waste”.

And as one good friend of mine Denis Stark says: “The people in Russia are divided and waste mixed”. Denis is currently promoting his book “The Way to a Clean Country” with this brilliant phrase and telling that his book will help us to do the opposite: to separate the garbage and bring people together. We started Let’s Do It! in Russia as a movement in 2012 with Denis and now we keep going to promote the ecological culture in our country. We don’t need to separate the solid waste in our country officially for now. But there are so many people ready to do it, yet they don’t have the opportunity for that. We just need to give our government more time to fully understand that it’s the right solution and and it’s better for economy, for the health of nation and for our nature.

Aleksandra Maksimova (left) in the container yard

Aleksandra Maksimova (left) in the container yard of Gatchina

Meanwhile I decided to check how much waste I was producing in 3 weeks. I was lucky to live alone during this time and not mix the garbage with my family’s. I’ve been practicing separating the waste about 1 year at my home, where the first container yard for collecting recyclables was built at my home town (Gatchina, close to St. Petersburg). I’ve done it with the support of a local business our garbage removal company. Now all the citizens are able to bring their separated waste to the yard and contribute to the cleanliness of our city. Before that we were organizing separate waste collections, every first saturday of the month, but it was not enough.

With this experiment I wanted to show my friends, especially those who are not connected with environmental volunteering and ecology, that it’s normal and even cool to separate the waste. This gives you a chance to observe how many useless packages you are buying and then try to replace them with something recyclable. And one more thing about seeing all this garbage you can calculate it into money and understand, how much you are constantly spending on the packaging. And next time you can try to save the money by not buying extra bags or boxes.

There are so many options for getting involved in the great mission of saving our environment and the main thing: in saving ourselves. Our planet will exist for a long time, but our human century is not so long.


Aleksandra Maksimova, Let’s Do It! Russia Team Leader