The university aims to become a waste-free university by 2030. To achieve this goal, the campaign Let's go zero started in September 2021 with the aim of making students and employees aware of proper waste separation. In addition, the coming months the TU/e community will be called upon through various communications to jointly reduce the residual waste to zero and to reuse or recycle other waste streams as much as possible. In this way waste becomes raw material for other products and/or applications and the TU/e contributes to the circular economy.
Reduce residual waste
The current target is to reduce residual waste to 30% in 2023, setting a trend that will continue until TU/e can consider itself 'waste-free' in 2030. You can find the waste roadmap for 2020-2024 (in Dutch) here.
Measures to reduce waste
These measures have already been taken in recent years to reduce residual waste on the campus to zero and to give other waste a second life:
- All the buildings on campus have waste bins with various waste streams: paper/cardboard, PMD, GFT, cardboard coffee cups and residual waste;
- The cleaners collect waste separately in the cleaning carts and ensure that it is processed separately;
- Facility suppliers provide homogeneous packaging materials that allow proper waste separation and avoid unnecessary packaging materials;
- We look closely at the reuse, recycling and the ultimate disposal of the furniture. These materials are also collected separately;
- In webshops we call attention to sustainable choices (think of reprographics or office supplies);
- Single-use plastics are no longer allowed;
- Since October 2021, the Atlas restaurant has joined the 'Too good to go' app to combat food waste and rubbish;
- The plastic waste stream has been replaced by the PMD stream.
- The Billie Cup has replaced the disposable coffee cups in the restaurants from 14 February 2022. For a deposit of €1.00, you get a reusable coffee cup. The cup can be used several times or returned after use. After returning the cup, it will be cleaned by the caterer. From 1 May 2023, there will no longer be cupsin the Maas coffee machines.
- Waste separation outside the buildings (on the grounds);
- Waste separation at events.
TU/e cannot achieve its ambition of a waste-free university on its own. To achieve this, the university needs the help of its employees, students and suppliers. One of the projects resulting from the ‘Let’s go zero’ campaign is to start up a chain cooperation. In order to prevent, reuse or recycle waste as much as possible, it is important to study the entire chain (from design to processing). During the various sessions, the facilities suppliers involved will work together with TU/e to investigate where there are opportunities to make the operational processes more sustainable. In this way, a contribution can be made to TU/e’s objectives in the field of waste. The project officially started in September 2021 with the signing of the declaration of intent.
The first improvements that have been made as a result of the chain cooperation are as follows:
- Asito is reducing PMD waste by using bottles made from recycled material and making it possible to refill bottles. This has led to a reduction of 120 kg of plastic a year.
- Vermaat has adapted their menu and banqueting folder to make room for residual processing, among other things by offering daily menus.
- Appèl has joined the 'Too good to go' app, which prevents food waste and waste.
- With the help of Renewi, the plastic stream was replaced by the PMD stream.
The TU/e Intake Chemical Waste – consisting of the Chemical Distribution Center building and the Recycling Center – takes care of the discharge of all chemical waste of TU/e. In this process a distinction is made between non-hazardous and hazardous industrial waste.
Hazardous waste is transported every day from the depots at the buildings to the Chemical Distribution Center. There the waste is sorted out according to 140 different waste streams.
At the Recycling Center industrial waste streams such as wood, glass, paper, scrap, rubble and residual waste are sorted out and discharged to the waste collector. Office waste, already separated, is collected by the external cleaning contractor and deposited into the designated containers. In addition, the caterer separates the waste emerging from the preparation kitchens, including the streams of cooking oil and swill waste (cooked kitchen waste and left-overs).
Separate collection of waste in the TU/e buildings
The TU/e has chosen for a new method of waste collection on the shop floor. When residual waste streams are separated better, this results in streams that can be reused or recycled. In this way, waste can often be turned into a raw material again. Each kilogram of waste that does not need to be incinerated as residual waste yields a saving of 840 grams of CO2 emissions.
At present approximately 43% of the university waste is comprised of residual waste. In 2023we will reduce the percentage of residual waste to 30%.
Collection units have been positioned at central, clearly visible and easily accessible locations in several buildings, the so-called Tulips (one Tulip for every 25 workplaces). These Tulips replace the waste and paper bins from the offices.
See the table of waste streams in the Tulip.
Waste overview 2017-2022
By properly collecting and separating trash, with a purpose of reusing or recycling, the TU/e waived an emission of 233.174 kg CO2 in 2018. This equals 1.150 people showering for 10 minutes, each day, for a year. Additionally, the waste which is processed, is processed in a way as sustainable as possible; 88% is processed in a sustainable way of which 43% will serve as a new raw material.
Check out the overview waste 2017-2022.
The residual waste is higher, but this can be explained by the many relocation movements (a lot of residual waste). In addition, the amount of waste per person is much lower than in previous years (this is positive). Due to COVID-19, the results of 2020 and 2021 are difficult to compare with the years before.
By collecting and processing waste separately with the aim of reuse or recycling, the TU/e will have avoided 193,054 kg of CO2 by 2021. This is equivalent to 952 people taking a 10-minute shower every day for a year. In addition, the waste from the TU/e will be processed in as sustainable a manner as possible: 88% will be processed in a sustainable manner, 42% of which will serve as a new raw material.