Inaccessible recycling facilities, sparse organic supermarkets, and products with too much packaging — St Petersburg is not the most environmentally friendly city in Europe. However, there are many small choices that you can make every day to make your life in the city a bit more environmentally sustainable. Here are five easy steps.
As a foreigner, this is probably the first sentence that you learned in the country. Whether you respond with da or nyet, you will hardly be able to escape the little plastic bags that the cashier will use to wrap your dairies and fruits in. If one or two apples can easily be purchased with a sticker on top, smaller fruits and vegetables will hardly make it to the counter without getting skeptical looks. If you are trying to cut down on plastic disposable bags, apart from bringing a shopping bag from home, now you can also buy reusable produce bags. You can buy your reusable bags online here.
What to do when your veggies are about to go bad, or when you bought more than what your stomach can process? The initiative Food without Borders in St Petersburg is dedicated to collecting food from individuals, restaurants and bakeries to prepare delicious free meals for anyone with an empty stomach. If you want to contribute to the initiative, or give away your food, get in touch with them through their VK page, and if you are interested in a free meal, just show up every Sunday at 5pm at Ulitsa Glinka 3.
Recycling, yes, it is possible
Yes, believe it or not, St Petersburg does have recycling facilities. An easy way to find them is through the Greenpeace website (here) where you can select your location and the waste you want to dispose of.
Buy a water filter
We all agree, you should not drink tap water in St Petersburg in most cases, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into having to buy plastic bottles. Besides a water filter for home, today you can also have your portable water bottle with a filter incorporated. The market offers different options, including LifeStraw, which is the perfect tool for contaminated water.
Buy local and seasonal products
Spring is coming soon (hopefully), bringing with it excellent weather during which to explore the local flea markets and buy seasonal products. Virtually every metro station in St Petersburg is home to at least a couple of local sellers with fresh products from their dachas or homemade preserved goods. Beside being a much more environmentally friendly choice, it is a perfect way to practice your Russian and try homemade goodies.