Dozens of medals, icons, souvenirs from various countries, and decorative objects from the Soviet period are exhibited at the recently opened Museum of Lost Goods from Chisinau. All the exhibits were found in the process of waste sorting. On the opening day, 20 December 2021, the museum was visited by pupils, students, teachers, and young people interested in environmental issues.

The museum is located near the ABS Recycling's solid household waste sorting manufacture. The building's walls are made from reused glass bottles, a material that ensures a high durability of the construction. UNDP Moldova and the Global Environment Facility supported the museum's launch. The support was offered in the framework of the Moldova Sustainable Green Cities project.

About 200 objects have been already identified. After a proper cleaning process, the goods are exposed at the museum. "The idea to establish this museum came after we saw that our employees collect different objects from the sorting lines. They used to expose them near their working place and decorate the walls of the building. The number of goods was in continuous growth, so we decided to open a special place to let other people admire them. We were also inspired by a bookstore from Turkey that supplies its stocks with books found among the waste," says Irina Balica, ABS Recycling representative.

The company's employees are proud to give a second life to the objects found among the waste. Liuba Suruceanu works at one of the sorting lines. She found several objects in good condition. All of them did not deserve to become waste, as she says. An old icon caught her eye the most. "People do not understand the real value of the things they have in the house and throw them away. All these objects are still in good condition and can be used. I've been working on the sorting line for three years and saved several interesting goods. I started to do waste sorting at my home and become more careful with the things I throw away."

The Museum of Lost Goods is an awareness-raising initiative about proper waste management. "The museum's opening has a dual impact. First, it is a place of refuge for intact objects thrown away along with the waste. At the same time, these exhibits are a proof that not everything that ends up in landfills is waste. After visiting this museum, I hope that people will understand that they need to be more careful with waste management. Any object thrown improperly pollutes the environment and influences our life," explains Alexandru Rotaru, project manager at UNDP Moldova.

The current museum's exhibits will be for sale soon on an online platform. The measure will allow the organizers to renew the exhibition. The raised money will be used for the maintenance of the museum.

"We have a lot of souvenirs from different countries, which were most likely given as gifts. We need to be more careful when we make gifts, to give goods that will be used for real but will not end up as waste. More recently, some people even bring us old books in good condition, which we are going to donate," says Irina Balica, ABS Recycling representative.

The museum may be visited free of charge, with prior notice.

About two thousand tons of waste are brought to ABS Recycling every month. Employees sort several types of plastic, paper, glass, and metals for recycling.

Contact for mass-media: Gheorghe Riciu, Communications and Media Officer, "Moldova Sustainable Green Cities" Project, 069753015, gheorghe.riciu@undp.org

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