In preparing the strategy for the years 2023–2028 the faculty was inspired and led by the internal audit of the waste management processes at the university conducted by the Sustainability and Circularity Institute (SCI) in 2021. The outcomes of the audit have been incorporated in future measures in the area of waste management and the corresponding sustainability efforts.
The key principle of the strategy is the “zero waste concept” whose main pillar is the prevention of production of waste. The concept is explained through three basic principles: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (3R):
1. Reduce – the quantities of things that we buy and the volume of waste that we produce on a daily basis.
2. Reuse – attempts to try to find new use for things before we throw them away. The fundamental requirement is the ability to consider what we get rid of, as in “Can I donate this old T-shirt or exchange it with a friend?” or “Can I use this pickle jar as a vase?”
3. Recycle – the yellow bin is used for plastics, the blue one is for paper and the green one is for glass waste. That being said the recycling process can get way more sophisticated and detail-oriented. For example your organic waste can now be turned into worm tea in a composter – your plants will thank you.
Zero waste is not just a concept, it is a lifestyle choice where our goal is to adapt the way of doing things and shopping habits to make sure our environmental impact is as low as possible in terms of waste. In principle, it consists in avoiding buying unnecessary things and, as a result, producing waste that will degrade for tens or maybe even hundreds of years. You do not have to mindlessly destroy all plastic straws. You can start by considering your consumer behaviour and adapt is step by step. Forget plastic bags and use your own linen tote bags, use your own water bottle and do not buy so many things that you do not really need.
HQ leads by example
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, organic waste, e-waste and mixed waste – the employees of the Masaryk University headquarters will now find dedicated bins for all these sorts of waste.
Two hundred and fifty bins are now visible and easily accessible.
If you are still not confident about all of this, check out the information at www.sustain.muni.cz. The section “Waste and recycling” each waste category has its subsection. On top of that, you can find QR codes on the bins as well.
On a side note you can now recycle even apple cores or coffee grounds. There are bins for them as well.
The bins for the aforementioned waste sorting project that can now be found all over the headquarters feature the unified visual style of the university, which makes them transferable to all faculties and other parts of the university.
The decision to obtain sorted waste bins comes in response to a survey on waste sorting that was carried out in mid-2022. A total of 230 respondents answered 15 questions; their responses concerning proposals for improvements in the area of waste sorting mostly focused on improved visibility and availability of the bins and the opportunity to separate very specific types, such as organic waste, glass and metals.