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Greatpotentialforreducingwaste

Lesswasteforabetterclimate:KielUniversityiscommittedtoZeroWaste.Withthemeasuresithasimplementedsince2018,theuniversityisnotonlyleadingthewayinGermany,itismoresuccessfulthanthat:ithasreduceditswasteby40percentsincethen.

Disposable cups on a string
NilsFischer,CAU

Accordingtoanextrapolation,about3700disposablecupsareproduceddailyattheuniversity,whichcorrespondstoanumberofabout1,350,000cupsperyear.Tosavewaste,theuniversitynowreliesonreusableto-gocups.

WewerethefirstuniversityinGermanycommittednotonlytoimprovedandextendedwasteseparation,butalsotothinkingabouthowtopreventwasteinthefirstplacewithregardtoenvironmentalandclimateprotection,explainedDrNorbertKopytziok,headofthecoordinationcentreforenvironmentalandclimateprotectionklikklimakonzept2030atKielUniversity.In2017/2018Kopytziokandthoseinvolvedinthestudent-ledWastePreventionWorkingGroupcommissionedthedraftingofastrategyinwhichwastevolumeswouldbeanalysedandcountermeasuresderivedfromthis.

Theresultsofthewasteanalysiswereimpressive,explainedChantalZinkeandLarissaGuhlfromtheWastePreventionWorkingGroup.KielUniversity'sreportprovidedevidenceofawastereductionpotentialof15to30percent.Thisisbecausenoteverythingthatendedupinthebinforotherwastewasevenused.Forexample,aroundtentonnesofcleanpapertowelswerethrownawayeachyear.Onereasonforthiswasthatthepaperwasofsuchalowqualitythatwhenpeoplepulledoutonepapertowel,awholepilewouldcomeoutwithitandthesewouldthenbethrownawayunused.Inaddition,60tonnesofpaperprintedononesideonlyaswellasfourtonnesofblankpaperwerethrownawayeachyear.Puttogether,thismadeup30percentofthewasteproducedbyKielUniversityin2017.Thishaschanged,saidKopytziok.Asitsfirststepin2018,basedonthecoordinationcentre'srecommendation,theuniversitysprocurementdepartmentpurchasednew,betterqualitypapertowelsmadefromrecycledmaterialforallsanitaryfacilitiesthroughoutthecampus.Stickerswerealsoputonallpapertoweldispensersstatingthatoneortwosheetsofpaperaremoreenvironmentallyfriendlythanonecottonhandtowelthathastobemanufactured,deliveredacrossEurope,andchanged,washedanddriedregularly.Theproblemlieswithmanufacturingandtransportingthings:fromextractingtherawmaterialthroughtoprocessing,fromthemanufacturingoftheproductthroughtoitstransporttotheconsumer,fromitsusethroughtoitsdisposal,theburdenontheenvironmentisfargreaterthanthepositiveeffectscreatedthroughrecycling,saidKopytziok,adding:Itisproventhatafrugalconsumerleavesbehindasmallerfootprintevenwhenhe/shedoesnotrecyclethanamajorconsumerwhoseparateshiswaste.

Thisiswhytheuniversityiscommittedtoincreasingknowledgeandawarenessamongstaffandstudents.Weneedeveryonessupporttoachievethetargetofbecomingazerowasteuniversity,saidtheklikleader.Forthisreason,forexample,everyoneisurgedtoprintpaperonbothsides,hesaid.Stickersonprintershelpremindpeopletodothis.Andthishasbeenasuccess:KielUniversity'stotalwastevolumehasdroppedby40percentinthelasttwoyears.Thisissignificantlymorethanexpected,saidtheteam,delighted.Itcouldbeincreasedevenfurtherin2020,however,iftheuniversityimplementsfurthermeasures.Onerelatestothedailyemptyingofwastepaperbasketsinalloffices.Althoughthereareoftenonlyafewitemsintherubbishbags,theyarestillreplaced.Thisamountsto42tonnesofplasticbagsperyearthatarelessthanhalffull,theexpertssaid,astounded.Oneideaistocollectgeneralwasteatcentralpoints,suchasofficekitchens,andemptythemjusttwiceaweek.Inordertoreducewaste,theuniversityisalsocommittedtoprovidingreusableto-gocups.Everyonehasthechancetoprotecttheenvironmentandtheclimatethroughtheirbehaviourinthisregard,too,explainedthestudentsfromtheWastePreventionWorkingGroup.

Theworkinggroupsupportsklikmeasuresbygivingpresentationsonwaste-relatedproblems,puttingonfilmsandorganisingotherevents,suchasfortheEuropeanWeekforWasteReduction.Thesealsohelpmakepeopleawareoftheproblemsandbringpeopleonboard,saidKopytziok.Afterall,wastepreventionforthebenefitoftheenvironmentisonlysuccessfulifeveryonechangestheirbehaviourthemselves.

Author:JenniferRuske

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