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University of Limerick pilots new waste segregation scheme

WITH climate action strikes and global summits on the environment, the University of Limerick is playing its part in tackling climate change by piloting a new waste segregation scheme.

After a successful trial of the new scheme in the Kemmy Business School and the Schumann Building, the UL Green Campus Committee along with the Building and Estates Department are now in the final stages of rolling out the scheme throughout the entire campus.

What is the scheme?

The scheme which is spearheaded by Séan M. Collins, Facilities and Mobility Manager for the Buildings and Estates Department, aims to reduce the amount of waste generated throughout the university and limit the amount of waste ending up in landfills every year.

The various strategies set in place strive to ensure the targets set by the Regional Waste Management Plan are met.

The previous model used for waste management at the university found a lack of segregation within the waste, resulting in excess waste ending up in landfills.

Mr. Collin’s waste management strategy exists to combat this issue.

Maintaining its initial goal to reuse existing bins on campus, the committee revamped the bins with new colour-coded stickers ranging from green (recycling), red (general waste), brown (compost) and grey (cans).

It has also clearly identified which bin different types of waste should be disposed into with clear instructions labelled on each unit.

The scheme has also seen a smart allocation of different types of bins – with compost bins being placed in canteens and food halls to avoid unpleasant smells in classrooms and hallways.

Meanwhile, to avoid unhygienic working environments, private offices have only been provided with a single recycling bin and staff are expected to dispose of any other waste using the public general waste and compost bins.

In order to avoid contamination during the final stages of waste disposal, colour-coded bin bags are also now being used. For example, recycling bins now hold green bin bags to ensure they are disposed of into the correct external compounds.

Is it working?

The Limerick Voice got in touch with some students and staff on the ground to see if the new scheme has been effective.

“I can’t say I noticed the new bins too much but it’s not something that would grab my attention anyway. Hearing about it now I’m delighted to see my college do its part. I will definitely be making sure I dispose of my rubbish the right way,” says final year Business student, Sarah Ryan.

“I would however also love to see the same initiative be rolled out throughout all university spaces, for example in accommodation areas and student walkways. This is were I tend to see most rubbish build up,” she adds.

Third year General Nursing student, Lauren Grey, says she has noticed “the waste bins around campus lately, they appeared much clearer and obvious. I like to think I’ll do my part when it comes to recycling. I always have tried my best, but with the new bins that are clearly labelled around campus, recycling will be much easier”.

While the majority of students and staff were pleased to see their university do their bit for the environment, some were less excited about the idea.

Natalie, a member of the university’s cleaning team, found the new waste segregation scheme to be inconvenient and time consuming.

When asked if she was happy to see separate bins segregating waste she replied, “I’m not happy, I used to have one bin to clean and now I have two. It takes me more time now and I don’t have time”.

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