AUS Audits Campus Waste Stream

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By Karim Aziz Oghly

UNIVERSITY CITY – The AUS Green Team for the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency’s Sustainable Campus Initiative at the American University of Sharjah, working with the AUS Sustainability Office, conducted a series of audits concerning waste in two prominent campus buildings on Feb. 17-19 and 24-26.

Following the collection of the trash by Cleanco, the bags were individually searched to find items that could be recycled. Two types of bags were sorted, the segregated bags were sorted for percentage of recycling accuracy and the general trash bags were sorted for percentage of segregation accuracy.

The audit happened as part of the AUS Green Team Green Campus Audit of sustainability indicators of Climate Change, Biodiversity, Water use, Energy use and Waste management to ensure the university’s top spot in the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency Sustainable Campus Initiative’s annual competition involving a Green Campus Audit.

Over the course of two weeks, over 20 student volunteers aided Dr. Sandra Knuteson, senior lecturer of environmental sciences, and Rose Armour, head of AUS Sustainability.

For each building, a three-day audit was performed. Trash was taken from containers located in one of the buildings the School of Business Administration and the newly inaugurated Engineering and Sciences Building.

Armour said recycling bins were checked for improper practices and correctness of disposal.

According to Knuteson, results from ESB audit showed only about four percent accuracy of paper thrown into recycling bins and less than 50% accuracy of plastic bottles and cans, while the general trash has about 13% recyclables in it. In addition to the typical recyclables, items such as syringe needless from laboratory, batteries, wiring and reusable grocery bags were found.

Hashem Nasralla, a volunteer, said “these opportunities represent an initial step towards bigger initiatives … to reduce waste and be informed.”

ESB Audit: Waste streams Three Day Average % Recycling Accuracy
Paper stream 4%
Plastic stream 44%
Metal stream 45%
Office Paper Blue Bins 98%
% Recyclables in Trash 13%