It seems that Ukrainians are avid recyclers, but not like you think.
When I arrived three months ago, I asked someone, “So, like, is there anywhere we can recycle our garbage in Kyiv?”
“Hahahahahahahahahaha,” she answered. “Hahahahahahahahahaha,” she continued. (I must be funnier than I think I am.)
I took her response as a no. I later discovered that the homeless people ransack the big bins for bottles to do something with, probably sell back to the manufacturers. Everyone’s an entrepreneur in this country.
But this week I learned the Swiss are putting the older of their Zurich tram fleet out to pasture. And that pasture, as it happens, is Kyiv.
I have learned the Former Soviet Union is the Western world’s repository for things they don’t want anymore. Nothing dangerous or important, of course. Only simple, everyday items…. Mostly. Like aeroplanes – for example, the Spanish reject Mr Moi and I flew on to and from Almaty.
And fashion sense – did you ever wonder why 80s fashion ended with the 80s? It’s because the USSR collapsed and all the manufacturers found a brand new, fashion-hungry market in the FSU. After decades of capitalist deprivation, there’s enough demand for tassles and bedazzlers to last this country another 20 years (god help us and my shoe collection).
And now it seems we can add trams to this list. The Zurich council is decommissioning 13 trams and sending them to Kyiv, where they will be used for at least 10 more years. I think this is great news, because I seriously believe the current trams are pre-WWII.
And it made me think. What other commonly recycled, developed world cast-offs would the Ukrainians accept with open arms? Here’s a half-hearted, late at night list of suggestions…
- Empty food tins. To be melted and recreated as top-strength stiletto heels. And teeth-braces.
- VCRs. To watch all the videos that are available. I’m almost too cool in my DVD only household.
- BeDazzlers. Every good Ukrainian is proud of their BeDazzled fashion.
- Posh and Becks. She’s the perfect dyevushka – married young, reproduced young, gestated the foetus in a box (there’s no way three kids fit in that body), skinny as a toothpick, really bad dresser, and total bitch. He’s perhaps a million times too good looking for this country. But they’ve been rejected from the UK and the continent, and Dynamo Kyiv is looking for players.
What’s laying around your house that you’d be happy to contribute to the City of Kyiv?