At UM waste is separated in all buildings. Paper, plastic and general waste is collected in separate bins. Our goal is to shrink general waste flows to the bare minimum, and our motto is: Use less. Recycle the rest.
What does waste sorting within UM entail?
Waste bins consisting of three compartments will be placed in central locations, such as hallways, break rooms and catering locations. The blue compartment is for paper, orange for plastic waste, and grey for general waste. Organic waste will not yet be collected across the entire campus as there is not enough of it.
The familiar old waste bins in the workplace and classrooms will become a thing of the past. There will still be a wastepaper container in the workplace, but from now on staff must empty it themselves into the new centrally located bins.
Why sort waste?
In 2016, students and staff at UM each produced 20 kg of general waste. UM no longer sees waste as an undesirable and unavoidable end product of consumption, but as a valuable raw material. Waste sorting and recycling are in line with UM’s ambition to be a green university by 2030.
A vision that focuses on sustainability calls for the so-called ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approach and stimulates the reduction, reuse, and recycling of waste. UM-wide waste sorting, and specifically cutting general waste from 55% to 45% of the total waste flow by 2021, will bring us a significant step closer to achieving that goal.
Besides contributing to a cleaner environment, waste separation contributes to:
- socially responsible entrepreneurship
- efficient waste collection and cleaning
- a sustainable, clean and healthy workplace
- an attractive environment to learn and work in.
As we all know, giving recyclable waste a second life helps to minimise the impact waste has on the environment.
Marc Fischer, UM Sustainability advisor
What happens to the sorted waste?
Old paper is converted into new paper. Paper and cardboard can be reused many times over and in the Netherlands, are the main raw materials for producing new paper and cardboard. Reuse saves raw materials, with each 1000 kg of recycled paper actually saving fifteen trees!
Collecting plastic also pays off. Sorting plastic at the source is necessary if it is to be used to manufacture new products such as fleece clothing, tennis balls and new packaging materials. Because no new plastic is needed for these products, less fossil resources such as oil are needed and savings are made on both energy and CO2 emissions. For example, the energy saved by recycling a single plastic bottle can power a 60W-lamp for six hours.
General waste is sent to the incinerator.