Protecting nature: Nizhnekamskneftekhim installs reverse vending machines for plastic and aluminium containers
Statistically, every Russian produces over 400 kg of waste a year, while landfills in the country already cover over 4 million ha. By 2024 in Russia, it is planned to reduce the share of materials taken to landfills and increase the amount of recycled waste. But only 3-5% of recyclables can be obtained without waste sorting. Reverse vending machines are a different story. Up to 90% of containers can be recycled thanks to them. Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC became one of the first enterprises in Nizhnekamsk to implement a pilot waste sorting project. The petrochemists installed six reverse vending machines in educational establishments it cares about and another two on the territory of the company.
Plastic bottles in exchange for points and prizes
Schoolchildren of School No. 36, which is sponsored by the company, were the first to familiarise themselves with the unusual device named reverse vending machine. A solemn assembly where third-year schoolchildren were demonstrated in a game how the unique equipment worked took place there.
At the beginning of the meeting, Vice Director of HR and Social Affairs Rodion Bulashov asked the lads what they knew about Nizhnekamskneftekhim.
“Raise your hands, don’t be shy,” he addressed the schoolchildren.
“Nizhnekamskneftekhim is a group of plants that produces useful goods,” a third-year boy confidently says.
“It is a very big enterprise. It is popular both in Europe and Russia but mostly in Tatarstan,” another boy replied.
“Well done,” Rodion Bulashov praised the boys. “Now those whose parents work at Nizhnekamskneftekhim raise your hands.”
Plenty of hands were raised in the assembly hall. It turned out that the majority’s mum or dad worked in the petrochemical enterprise.
Most importantly, to teach children to protect nature
Rodion Bulashov told the children that the petrochemists came to the school with a responsible environmental mission. They installed a reverse vending machine, which accepts used plastic bottles and aluminium cans for recycling, on the first floor.
“Nizhnekamskneftekhim pays huge attention to environmental problems. A big job was done during the reconstruction of biological treatment facilities, construction and modernisation of the water treatment plant and not only. Today we want to tell young Nizhnekamsk citizens about the latest technologies that help protect nature. We are opening the first reverse vending machine purchased with Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s money in School No. 36,” Rodion Bulashov said.
After that, he offered the lads to get closer to the device and check how it worked. The schoolchildren inserted plastic bottles and aluminium cans into the device with interest. In reply, the reverse vending machine gave a special ticket in which it thanked for protecting nature in large print and showed how many points were granted for using the device. The machine grants 1 point for a plastic bottle and 2 points for an aluminium can.
In the future, the classes that will score the biggest number of points will receive prizes.
“Plastic is an artificial material. People need it. Unfortunately, people use waste irrationally. Rivers and lakes are littered with plastic. Nizhnekamskneftekhim provided an opportunity for teaching children from the first year to protect nature. Not the number of points and prizes are the most important thing for us but the fact that children will learn how to protect the environment,” notes Director of School. 36 Alexandra Ofitserova.
Collected plastic to be recycled
During the first two weeks, the reverse vending machine will run in test mode to determine the amount of accepted containers, how quickly it becomes full and when a special company should dispose of the content to send the waste for further recycling.
“Modern-day trends such as circular economy says that all materials should be recycled in the future. Today we are illustrating how this happens. Nizhnekamskneftekhim is the largest petrochemical enterprise that makes plastic too. And zero waste can be achieved thanks to reverse vending machines,” Rodion Bulashov stressed.
According to him, another objective of the environmental campaign of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is to teach the younger generation to sort waste and recycle it saving the planet from the pollution from household waste from an early age.
The petrochemists installed the devices accepting used aluminium and plastic containers for further recycling in Schools No. 25, 32, 36, 37, Lyceum No. 35, the N. Lemayev Petrochemistry and Oil Refining College, the main administration building of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and in SOGAZ polyclinic too.