Yana Prikhodko: "It’s an inner calling when values start to resonate within you and compel you to act.

15 november 2021

A social project does not have to be invented from scratch as it is often enough to just look at your colleagues’ practices that are already being successfully implemented in other regions. In our November issue of the program’s digest released on Recycling Day’s eve we talk with Yana Prikhodko, a business partner of SiburTyumenGaz, discussing various nuances of being a part of the "Kind Caps" movement that is gaining popularity in the regions where SIBUR operates, and talking about volunteering projects’ keys to success.

Yana, how did you get into volunteering?

I had always had this inner urge to help people. But I just did not know how to take that first step, where to go, who to do it with. I knew that there are charitable foundations. But I didn't know how to approach them, how to offer my help. I eventually got a clue from "The Formula for Good Deeds" after the company announced its very
first contest of volunteering projects. That was when I consciously took my first step getting seriously involved in volunteering.

Could you please tell us about the projects that you have implemented as part of the Formula for Good Deeds program?

My first project involved setting up a boardgame club at a district hospital where children aged 7 and above have to stay without their parents for a long time. Getting inside the hospital was initially quite challenging but after the pandemic started spreading it became next to impossible. I also take an active part in Alena Sergeyeva's project "Creativity Without Borders". We conduct master classes for children left without parental care: we cook, we model, we draw, we handmake anything we can. As part of our " More Oxygen Where There Is Little of It" project, we are working to improve our neighborhoods. This year we planted 40 shrubs! Plus, as you know, I am a Nizhnevartovsk supervisor for Kind Caps, a national environmental charitable volunteering project .

Can you remember any mistakes you may have made initially, when you first started volunteering? What would you have done differently?

When you think a project through, you start with the outcomes you expect to get at the end of the project, and the means to make it happen. Therefore, I cannot think of anything of significance that I might do differently now. I don’t think there were any mistakes made. Rather, there were challenges that I had to grapple with during the implementation phase. That's exactly what happened with the Kind Caps projects. I had been collecting caps at my residence but I did not start collecting them on a greater scale until I had figured out how to ship the collected caps for recycling. We went through a lot of options with the movement’s supervisor in Khanty-Mansiysk. Until we brokered an agreement with a regional operator for free delivery of caps to the recycling plant in Sverdlovskaya Oblast, I had not not launched this project on a grand scale.

Why, with time, did you decide to get involved in environmental projects? After all, your first projects were not related to ecology.

I call this my inner calling. When a particular topic concerns human values and these values begin to resonate with you they call you to action. I had had these values in me for a long time and, thanks to the Formula for Good Deeds and social media, at some point I thought "Why can't I do this? Why can't I do it, especially since I feel this urge to do it?" And that’s how I shifted my focus more toward conservation.

We know that SIBUR’s employees participate in the Kind Caps movement not just in Nizhnevartovsk. Why do you think this format is popular? What is so special about it?

First of all, it’s the project’s simple mechanics. All one has to do is rinse the cap and, if there is a container nearby, just drop it there. Although some of my colleagues, perhaps out of habit, still take their caps to me in bags. I believe that it is easy and straightforward. And there is a tangible result in the end: either this cap goes to recycling and gets to be reused somewhere, or it will just sit at a landfill somewhere. It would be good if it ends up being recycled together with its PET bottle, but that's far from guaranteed. Not everyone immediately realizes that Kind Caps is not only about saving our environment, but it is also about helping our children. Many people think it's just about collecting plastic. And many of them still think that bags with plastic caps get picked up by the same garbage truck that picks up other types of garbage. I have an idea for a project which is to showcase our Nizhnevartovsk experience and explain where and what types of feedstock materials are collected, and where they go afterwards. This is to make sure that people become aware of what the final destination is, and to motivate them to get engaged in separate waste collection.

Where do the funds raised through collection of these “kind caps” go?

The funds that the recycler gets for the raw materials get donated to the charitable foundation
"Volunteers helping orphans”. The entire Kind Caps movement has just one agreement with one charitable foundation regardless of the city or the recycling plant involved.

Here’s another question that is relevant for anyone who wants to launch a similar initiative in other cities and regions. Where do I start? How can one become a part of the "Kind Caps" movement?

The first thing you need to do is go to the Kind Caps’ website and see whether or not a similar project is already being implemented in your city: It often happens that someone else in the city may already be implementing such a project but people just don't know about it. Here’s how I did it. I contacted a coordinator of the movement and she gave me contact details of a volunteer in Nizhnevartovsk with whom we started a similar project in our city. I met people who were interested in this topic. This is something that is definitely easier to do it as a team. As they say: "a problem shared is a problem halved ".

The biggest challenge is logistics. You have to figure out which recycling plant is closest to your city. You need to get in touch with them and find out how much they are going to charge you for taking in your raw materials, as prices vary everywhere you go. It is very important to make it clear to them that this is a charitable cause: thanks to this we were able to negotiate free delivery with a regional operator.

Once you have made sure that the recycling plant is ready to accept raw materials and donate money received under the contract to a charitable foundation, you need to start looking for those who will be ready to ship the caps to the plant. Here you can get a hold of a regional operator responsible for waste collection in your city. There are different ways to reach out to them: directly or with the support of your city’s administration.

The next step is to decide where your drop-off points will be. One or two containers is not enough. Volunteers have different ways of doing this: those living in a detached house often use their garages. If we involve schools and kindergartens, you need to decide where they’ll drop off their caps upon delivery. Caps have to be stored somewhere before enough of them are gathered to warranty their being taken to the recycling plant.

On one occasion, we had to deal with the following situation: we had gathered a lot of caps and just when we were ready to ship them we were asked by the regional operator and the plant not to deliver these feedstock materials in such large batches. These are the kinds of things you need to work out before you start. My problem with storage was ultimately solved quite easily: I got in touch with a local Youth Volunteer Center and asked them to set up a primary collection point at their premises. That’s where we’ve also been sorting our caps.

And where can one find a list of recycling plants? How do you choose the right plant?

Here’s where search engines can prove to be quite helpful. We found a suitable plant by searching the Internet. You might also want to try and contact leaders of the Kind Caps movement but we handled this on own.

And the final question is, well, about your plans for the nearest future. What are your ideas about your next new projects and about continuing those that are already under implementation?

SiburTyumenGas has many branches in smaller cities where we would also like to launch our "Kind Caps" campaigns, hence, the plan to take part in the
contest again. Our containers are a very important element of the project. When people walk into a small-town store and see a container with information about the project, they come to a realization that there is not much they are being asked to do, all you have to do is just bring your used caps and drop them into the container.

Speaking about children left without parental care, I think it is also important to teach these kids how to behave outside their orphanages, they seriously lack these skills of going to a store, doing shopping, handling their money. Plus, we also have some ideas about conservation: we want to submit a project to build a greenhouse on the center’s grounds where children could plant and grow something, harvest their crops and learn to live independently. There are many nuances and limitations that need to be worked out.

To learn more about the "Kind Caps" project, please visit the official website at the

Applications for SIBUR’s contest of employees’ volunteering projects will be accepted through November 21, 2021, in an electronic format on the Formula for Good Deeds program’s platform at

For inquiries about your participation in the contest contact our coordinators at

In case you missed our past issues:

  • Svetlana Kulakova: " The key thing in conservation projects is to love one’s homeland”.
  • Alla Umetskaya: "The grant contest is an opportunity to try oneself as a miracle worker”
  • Svetlana Grigoriyeva: “The only secret of success is trust”.
  • One good deed is one life saved!
  • More donors mean more lives saved
  • By taking care of our elderly, we are taking care of our future
  • Marina Yefimova: “There are no trouble children, but there are hard life circumstances”.
  • A chance for life for children with cerebral palsy
  • Let's help renovate the Kind House for people with developmental disabilities
  • About SIBUR's Moscow-based employees providing volunteering assistance to the Choose Life Foundation helping children with cancer and hematological diseases