Characterization of solid wastes as a tool to implement waste management strategies in a university campus

Catégorie : Politiques & Réglementations
Date :6 novembre 2020
Nolasco, Elaine; Vieira Duraes, Pedro Henrique; Pereira Goncalves, Julia; Oliveira, Maria Cristina de; Monteiro de Abreu, Lucijane; Nascimento de Almeida, Alexandre.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education :
Purpose Universities are an example of institutions that aggregate people around work/study who consume water, energy and produce waste daily in their activities, generating an impact on the environment. The purpose of this study is to determine the quantity, composition and recycling potential of waste generated at the Faculdade UnB Planaltina (FUP) campus, of the University of Brasilia in the Federal District, Brazil, to develop a waste management strategy compatible with national legislation and sustainable global practices. Design/methodology/approach This study was based on conducting on-site visits to identify the sources of generation, hazardousness, management and gravimetric characteristics of residual waste from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, a selective collection was implemented on the FUP campus, and since then, actions to raise awareness for the selective disposal and monitoring of waste were conducted with the academic community. Findings The results showed that the campus generates 148 kg of waste/day, whereas the per capita generation is 92 g/day. The production of hazardous waste is related to campus laboratories which manage it under a specific program. The campus restaurant is the place that generates the most waste, of which organic waste is the most representative. When categorizing the waste generated on campus, the authors found that the majority are recyclables at 67% of the total. This category includes material composed of cardboard, paper and plastic, all able to be recycled in the Federal District. Practical implications The recyclable waste generated at the FUP campus is being diverted from the city’s landfill because they are donated to a recycling cooperative. These actions promote income generation, social inclusion of waste pickers and a circular economy, all in compliance with the National Solid Waste Policy. As a result, the FUP campus is more in line with Brazilian legislation and the global context of adopting sustainable waste management amongst higher education institutions. Originality/value This paper contributes to the literature on sustainability in higher education by reporting the process of implementation of a waste management strategy in a university campus. Further, it presents tools and methods that can be used to achieve sustainability in waste management. The study also identifies that the crucial factor for the success of such actions is the mobilization and participation of the academic community in the process. It does so by presenting findings demonstrating how the University of Brasilia has been concerned with adopting pro-environmental measures for sustainable development.