Universities and colleges are finding that waste management issues are being forced up the management agenda by three key issues: environmental best practice, economic efficiency and compliance with legislation.
For many, the environmental impacts associated with the disposal of waste are now recognised as making a key contribution to the overall environmental impact of the organisation. In addition, the increasing numbers of statutory requirements, coupled with escalating disposal and other costs, means that addressing waste management issues is becoming an important priority.
Society’s perception of waste has also changed. It is no longer viewed as an unwanted substance but rather as an unused resource. Minimisation, reuse and recycling of waste now have a high profile and a recognised role to play in waste management. Local Authorities now have to meet statutory recycling/composting targets, which have driven a marked increase in the number of recycling schemes, and raised the public profile of recycling significantly during the last few years. Increased public awareness also means increased staff and student awareness so institutions that have not begun to introduce recycling schemes will find themselves under growing pressure to do so. Institutions must consider waste management in its entirety rather than simply dealing with the disposal of waste.