Chula Zero Waste
“Chula People Unites to Beat Waste Problems in University”
Chulalongkorn University Up Against Challenge of Handling 2,000 Tons of Waste Per Year
A growing consumption demand has contributed to mounting solid waste problems. Even in a large educational institution with over 40,000 students and staff like “Chulalongkorn University”,as high as 2,000 tons of solid waste has been generated per year. Today, Chulalongkorn University should strive to not only produce competent graduates but also act toward solving solid waste problems in society.
Chula’s New Strategy Toward Sustainable Waste Management
Chula Zero Waste has been initiated to reduce the university’s waste amount and raise environmental awareness on waste management in the university. The team translates identified challenges and potential obstacles into various concrete and comprehensive action plans and measures to ensure continuous progress. In the early stage, the team launched a survey to collect data and found that the single-use plastic bagsand food waste makesup most of waste found in the university. The initial plan was to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags as much as possible. The sellers were encouraged to ask customers if they wanted a plastic bag. This approach helped reduceplastic bag usage by one third. Later, the university has launched a no-free-bag policy where buyers are charged 2 Baht for eachplastic bag. At first, the initiative received a huge backlash from sellers and customers. But after dialogues and clear implementation policies were introduced along with campaigns to encourage students and university staff to adopt greener habits, it can reduce the use of over 90% of plastic bags. The university also introduced water dispensers to cut bottle wastes, and the Finish-the-Dish campaign to minimize food waste. The leftover fFood scraps waste will be is converted to fertilizer. This wide range of green campaigns also includes a closed-loopbioplastic management project or Zero-Waste Cup. The continued efforts have made green habits our second nature and become a regular part of people at Chulalongkorn University.
Achieving Sustainability with New Mindset
For only three years of implementing Chula Zero Waste, over 90% of Chula people have adopted the use of cloth shopping bags, reducing the use of 4 million plastic bags and cutting down the waste amount by 350 tons per year. The outcome is still far from the target of reducing at least 30% of waste within the university by the end of 2021. Still, the initiative has brought about an even more favorable outcome as now the mindset of zero-waste and resource efficiency has been well-entrenched within Chula people.
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