From bulging trash cans.. to 50% less waste

Moving from a waste economy towards a circular economy is our aim. But how are we going to make this happen? A new vision on raw materials and waste management was launched in 2020, called the ‘vision on circularity’.

We want to at least halve our amount of waste; by no longer using certain products and by making smarter use of products. For example, by using products for a longer amount of time and re-using products within WUR or elsewhere. This will not only help us reduce our amount of raw materials, but also the amount of waste.

Strategies to achieve circularity include:

  • Longer use and reuse of existing products;
  • Closing the loop for new products to be purchased; meaning that the amount of material incorporated into the product must be equal to the amount of material that can be recovered for new uses;
  • Explore other circular possibilities, such as making toilet paper out of coffee cups.
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Next to making our use of products more circular, we also recycle our waste. WUR has three main waste streams, namely industrial waste, paper, and hazardous waste. In 2020, 98% of the waste had a processing method that can be classified as ‘useful recovery’, which entails 59% recycling, 33% energy recovery and 6% other recovery (read more about this in our Sustainability Report (Dutch only)

How are we keeping track of our waste and reach our ambition? We monitor our waste and we will also start monitoring the use of materials and resources. By getting a grip on the resources that flow into the organization through purchasing, the outflow of resources (waste) can be made more sustainable by reuse, refurbishment or recycling. WUR is currently looking for a partner for Material Flow Management, with this innovative tender we are taking the next step towards circular operational management (read more about this process here).

Sort it out: waste sorting on campus

On campus, waste is collected separately for optimum recycling. We distinguish the following main waste streams by means of special waste units:

  • Organic waste (vegetable, fruit and food waste)
  • Paper
  • Plastics and drink/beverage cartons (PD)
  • Coffee cups (Cup2Paper)
  • Other waste
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The new Waste sorting guide indicates which trash belongs in which bin. The waste posters can be found at each waste unit, so you can always check on the spot how to sort your waste. With your help, we can recycle and reuse as much waste as possible, so thank you for your cooperation!

Want to help us reduce our waste? Here are some tips!

  • Bring your own cup, or use a Billie Cup!
  • Generate as little waste as possible. If you do have waste, you can throw it away in separated bins. This helps us to reuse your waste in a valuable way!