Sustainable waste processing starts with optimal internal waste separation. But what is optimal sustainable waste separation? It doesn't always have to mean that absolutely every last bit of waste has to be separated. In some locations, waste flows are so small that it's not efficient to separate them. Paper, cardboard and plastic are always separated at all Wageningen University & Research locations.

Optimising waste flow in Forum building has reduced waste by 25%

Wageningen University & Research produces approximately 2 kilotonnes of waste per year. In recent years a number of agreements have been reached with the waste processing companies regarding to sustainable waste processing. These agreements include the following:

  • Wheelie bins are emptied on a set route and a set day. This reduces the number of transport kilometres. This route is also evaluated on a yearly basis and optimised where necessary.
  • The general waste produced in Wageningen is weighed.
  • Per waste flow separate agreements have been reached regarding sustainable processing.
  • Every quarter, Wageningen University & Research receives information about costs, tonnages and transports.
  • The waste processing companies are responsible for implementing a quality assurance system and an environmental management system, improving waste collection efficiency, providing waste disposal instructions and ensuring sustainable processing methods for each waste flow.
  • Waste sorting tests are being carried out in Lelystad and Wageningen in order to optimise waste separation.
  • Green waste is used as compost on Wageningen University & Research property.

In the Forum and Orion buildings on Wageningen Campus, waste is collected in accordance with the  EcoSmart concept. Using EcoSmart's collection methods 16 waste flows are separated. The largest waste flows are paper, cardboard, plastic, biodegradable waste, packing material and general waste. Separating the waste in this way means that large amounts of raw materials can be made suitable for reuse. EcoSmart's goal is to recycle 100% of all waste for reuse. Due to EcoSmart's methods, the Forum building generated 25% less waste for processing as compared to the reference year 2009.

The waste policy is an integral component of the overall operational management. Preventing waste generation is an important aspect. Wageningen University & Research's approach to waste processing follows Lansink's Waste Hierarchy: Prevention - Reuse and preparation for reuse - Recycling - Recovery - Disposal.