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Reduced chemicals and improved waste sorting

2019-03-12

ENVIRONMENT. The University is taking steps to reduce its environmental impact by decreasing the use of chemicals and sorting waste more efficiently.

Facility Service has recently signed an agreement with a supplier regarding deionized water.

“We’ve conducted pilot tests that show that the water works very well in terms of removing contaminants,” said the head of Facility Service, Per Bjurnemark.

The University has installed a filtering machine that purifies water. From the first of March, this deionized water will used to clean equipment, walls, toilets, indoor glass doors and classrooms. The water will, however, not be used for cleaning windows, carpets, or washing textiles. The University’s floors are already cleaned without chemicals.

“With this new system in place, we will be able to reduce the use of chemicals on campus areas by about 80 percent,” said Bjurnemark.

Standardising sorting containers is the next step 

To further reduce waste, Facility Service is working on introducing standardised sorting containers across all University premises. All the University’s buildings currently have containers for disposing rubbish, but the systems and colour codes vary, making it difficult for staff and students to properly segregate and recycle waste.

The initial investment cost of the initiative is substantial, but the hope is that the standardised containers will be introduced next year. In the meantime, different types of containers and colour coding systems will be tested.

“We’ve been seeing a slow but sure reduction in the University’s waste costs since 2016. Since our total volume of production has decreased, we’ve already managed to bring down the costs by about 45 percent,” said Bjurnemark.

Make sure to always sort waste

You may have heard rumours that all waste eventually ends up in the same place, but this is a myth. In fact, when materials are not recycled properly, they sometimes end up being sorted as residual waste, so keep sorting your rubbish! 

“We conducted a pilot project on the eleventh floor of Niagara where we saw a clear improvement. The success was due to the fact that the containers were larger, it was made clearer what type of waste belonged in which container and the container for residual waste was purposefully small and less visible than the others,” added Bjurnemark.

Text: Johanna Svensson