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UM Zero Waste Campaign

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Introduction: 

With the growing number of universities, the population of each campus is significant and generate waste that causes adverse impact to the environment. It is estimated that waste from all academic institutions amounted to approximately 1,500 tonnes per day, which represents 5-10% of the total waste generated in Malaysia. Universities worldwide are embracing the move towards sustainability, including UM as the premier university in Malaysia which set an agenda for sustainable development goals since year 2009. University of Malaya Zero Waste Campaign (UM ZWC) as one of the university’s longest and most consistent sustainability living lab, it is developed to spearhead the development of a sustainable waste management model in the campus and ultimately achieve the status of a zero waste campus. UM ZWC has the following goal and objectives:   

Goal: To achieve a campus with zero waste to landfill with the development of integrated and sustainable waste management model

Objectives:

  1. To develop policy and innovation system to divert solid waste (non-hazardous) from disposal in landfill for resource and energy recovery.
  2. To streamline recycling activities and strategize efforts to increase recycling rate.
  3. To create awareness and inculcate best practice of waste separation at source among the campus communities.
  4. To form strategic partnership with various stakeholders to develop integrated waste management system.

Description:

Solid waste generation in Malaysia is increasingly rising, from 30,000 tonnes/day in 2013 to 38,000 tonnes/day to date. The official recycling rate announced by the Federal Government in 2013 was 10.5%. There are 176 landfills in the country, however, only eight are sanitary landfill while the rest are open dumpsite.  The 10th Malaysia Plan target recycling rate to be 22% by 2020. It is essential to achieve this and cut down food waste disposal to landfill, in order to reduce the negative environmental impacts, reducing greenhouse gases emission and to develop a sustainable solid waste management comparable with developed countries.

University of Malaya Zero Waste Campaign (UM ZWC) is one of the UM living labs under The Sustainability Science Research Cluster. It was set-up to spearhead development of a sustainable waste management model in UM and ultimately achieve the status of a zero waste campus. Besides environmental benefits, UM ZWC also provides research opportunities for teaching and learning, contributes to UM Low Carbon City Framework (LCCF) target and serves as a platform to improve students’ soft skill and entrepreneur skill. Furthermore, UM ZWC has assisted several local communities to develop sustainable waste management system including communal composting project through various collaboration and partnership.

UM ZWC aims to increase the current recycling capacity to more than 30 tonnes/month (recycling rate: 20%) by 2020. The first phase of the campaign aims to increase capacity of organic waste composting, formalization of recycling collection as well as robust waste tracking and data collection mechanism. In the next 5-10 years, UM ZWC will play a vital role to formalize collection of recyclable materials in UM and further increase the organic waste recycling, while kitchen waste will be treated anaerobically with AD and aerobically with in-vessel composting. Collaborations with local and foreign organizations, government agency and private entities will be intensified to introduce environmental-friendly waste sorting, recovery and treatment technologies. Multi-stakeholders participation, support from top management and industrial collaboration are key factors that drive the development of sustainable waste management model in the campus. UM ZWC serves as an institutional sustainable and integrated waste management model and contributes to the national recycling target while bringing benefits to the Mother Earth and society at large.

 Results:

UM ZWC has contributed significantly in environmental protection with the diversion of a total of more than 1,141,190 kg of different wastes from disposal to landfill with its recycling and on site treatment in UM since year 2010. The waste streams collected separately are food waste and green waste for in-house composting and anaerobic digestion, used clothes for reuse and recycling, wood waste for energy recovery for a local independent power plant, materials recyclables for re-processing as secondary materials and e-waste for recycling. From analysis using LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) approach, a total of more than 5,341,576 kg CO2-eq emission has been avoided by the integrated and sustainable projects under UM ZWC.

In term of social benefits, UM ZWC has provided training to more than 12,000 individuals from various local and international organizations since inception in year 2010. Every year, there are about 60-70 delegates of visit to UM ZWC center with about 10-50 person per delegate. These visitors come to UM ZWC for learning of knowledge in biological treatment such as composting and anaerobic digestion, separate collection and integrated waste management in a campus level.

In the context of economic dimension, with the monthly reduction of about 6-7 pulls of open top bin hauled to landfill, a total of more than RM390,000 of waste disposal cost has been saved since inception. Besides, a total of RM38,000 amount of proceeds from selling of used clothes from UM campus were donated to several charity bodies.

With an expansion of Circular Economy approach carried out by UM ZWC with Organic Farming and Capacity Building Trainings, a total of more than RM100,958 has been generated as an income generation for the University. All these make up the total monetary gain since 2010, a total of RM490,958 for the University from this initiative. 

General Policy Statement on Sustainable and Healthy Food on Campus Initiatives

a) UM via UM Zero Waste Campaign (UM ZWC) and its other counterpart both internal and external are fully aware of the of the impact that procurement, storage, production, consumption and wastage has on the environment and the need to ensure that the Sustainable and Healthy Food Initiatives via Circular Economy approach supports the University's environmental policies and practices. Due to the nature of our diverse food and drink business we will encourage and continue to support urban farming practices in particular the organic vegetables in this initial phase  that are already in place at the UM ZWC site. This Sustainable and Healthy Food on Campus initiatives are supported by the Procurement Division, UM Bursar through the enforcement of licensing, agreement, as well as continuous monitoring of the food premises on campus by the Occupational Safety, Health & Environment Office (OSHE).

[UM Sustainable and Healthy Food Initiatives on Campus: June 2019]

UM Bursar: https://bendahari.um.edu.my/index

OSHE UM: https://umresearch.um.edu.my/oshe-umresearch

b) Scope of the Policy: This policy is focused on but not limited to provision and procurement of food at The University. It applies to all aspects of sustainable and healthy food,
including:
i) Procurement
ii) Preparation
iii) Food waste and waste management
iv) Growing
v) Education
vi) Climate change and carbon emissions

All suppliers as well as food and canteen premises operators will be expected to assist the University in meeting the sustainable and healthy food policy. 

Last Update: Nov 30, 2020