Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts
MAASTRICHT. Rubbish was an item on the agenda at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) council meeting last summer. The following dialogue developed:
“I have heard a rumour that wastepaper baskets are going to disappear from offices and classrooms,” says council member and lecturer Marc van Ekert. “And that we would have to take our rubbish to a central location.”
Director Edward Peters: “That is not a rumour. It is something the directors (CBB) have decided together with the Green Office. A pilot project is going to be launched here at SBE.”
Van Ekert: “But won’t that result in a terrible mess in the classrooms. The wastepaper baskets there are always filled to the brim.”
Appropriate criticism or not: if the pilot project doesn’t end in a disaster, UM staff will deposit their rubbish in one of three containers within walking distance from early 2017. They will do so with paper, plastic but also banana peels or broken pens. The latter two would be classified as residual waste. This includes the coffee cups, because they are made from both recycled paper and plastic. A solution is still being sought for this problem.
What is the purpose of all this? Sustainability is one of Maastricht University’s core objectives, states the concept memo Let’s get wasted by the Green Office. Together with the UM, this organisation has taken the initiative for a more consistent separation of waste.
According to the Green Office, UM students and staff generated 20 kilos of residual waste in 2015. Only paper and an unknown fraction of plastic are currently being recycled. The Green Office feels that “sustainable practice means engaging with the cradle-to-cradle approach and aiming to reduce, reuse, or recycle all waste.”
Coming back to the ‘mess in the classrooms’, Matthew Neary from the Green Office doesn’t think that students will leave their bottles and lunch bags on the tables expecting lecturers to clean up afterwards. “Students behave more responsibly than that and I expect them to take their rubbish to the containers.”