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Waste policy

Legislation and regulations

Waste policy in the Netherlands is geared primarily to preventing, re-using and recycling waste. The principle is that waste should only be incinerated or go to landfill if it cannot be reused.

The waste regulations are based on European, national, provincial and municipal legislation such as the Waste Framework (2008/98/EC), the Hazardous Waste Directive (91/689/EEC), the National Waste Management Plan (Landelijk Afvalbeheerplan, LAP2), the Nuclear Energy Act (Kernenergiewet), the Soil Protection Act (Wet Bodembescherming) and the Environmental Protection Act (Wet Milieubeheer).

Hazardous substances are separated from other waste so that they can be re-used/recycled, and because they pose a risk to health, safety and the environment. Hazardous waste that cannot be re-used is burned in specially designed incinerators. It is against the law to mix hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

The policy document Integrale duurzaamheid – onderdeel Milieu (‘Integrated Sustainability - Environment’) of the University of Groningen sets out the general principles for policy regarding the performance area ‘Environment’ (including waste). Relevant keywords in this context are ‘integrated approach’, ‘measurability’ and ‘visibility’. The main unit of measurement for quantifying waste is the Environment Performance Indicator (EPI), developed by the University.

Waste policy of the University of Groningen

The main principle on which waste policy at the University of Groningen is based is the ‘polluter pays’ principle, which results in a system whereby rental, transport and processing costs are payable by the University’s departments. The policy document Afvalbeleid Rijksuniversiteit Groningen 2014 - 4∞, which sets out the University’s policy on waste, can be found on: http://www.rug.nl/about-us/who-are-we/sustainability/practices/waste

Prevention, re-use and separation of waste

Prevention : Sustainable procurement is an important aspect in terms of waste prevention. In the context of the integrated approach referred to in the policy document on Integrated Sustainability, the document Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Inkopen (‘Socially Responsible Procurement’) produced by the Purchasing Management department of the University Services Department, must be complied with.

The decision to purchase sustainably produced products has an influence on waste flows. Purchasing no more than is required and making agreements with suppliers about packaging materials are ways to prevent surpluses and waste. This also has financial benefits for users.

Reuse: The University of Groningen strongly recommends that products are re-used where possible. This applies to chemicals and office supplies, and also to radioactive sources.

Waste separation : This involves separating as much waste as possible ‘at source’, keeping it separated and disposing of it separately. Waste separation is included in the Environmental Protection Act (Wet Milieubeheer, WM).

Sustainable waste collection

In addition to the above, the priority of future waste policy of the University of Groningen will be to ensure that waste is collected as sustainably as possible. The principles are as follows:

  • Efficient and effective collection: Efficient organization and logistics for waste collection.
  • Collecting waste as sustainably as possible, for example by using electric trucks to transport waste, or solar-powered compacting bins (BigBelly).

The Integrated Sustainability policy document (Environment section) states that, in the focus area of energy/waste, the University of Groningen aims:

  • to make visible the reductions in CO2 emissions resulting from measures taken
  • to ensure that waste production in 2015 is no higher than the 2012 level (taking into account the number of students and staff)
  • to carry out studies to determine, for 2015, how far waste separation can be increased and how far waste production can be reduced.

Last modified:25 October 2018 12.26 p.m.
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