Generation of organic waste from institutions in Denmark: case study of the Technical University of Denmark

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As a response to the growing pressure on the supply chains, developing a resource-efficient circular economy will be fundamental to satisfy the future demands for material resources. In this context, the Danish Government, in 2013, launched its Resource Strategy Plan, mandating that, by 2018 at least 60% of organic waste – that cannot be prevented or reduced –generated by service sector, should be source-segregated and collected separately. In order to establish the baseline of the current situation, and to allow for any evaluation of performance against target indicators, data on solid waste generation and composition are required.
The overall aim of this study was to quantify the potential for source-segregated organic waste as well as mixed waste from institution.
This study was carried at the Department of Environmental Engineering at Technical University of Denmark. In the course of this study, two plastic waste bins of 60 L each were placed in the kitchens: organic waste bins and mixed waste bins. Organic waste and mixed waste from these kitchens were collected and weighed separately, on a daily basis, during 133 working days (29 weeks). However, waste was not sampled during weekends and public holidays, when the offices were officially closed. Furthermore, the composition of source-segregated organic waste was analysed to investigate its purity.
During the sampling period, the number of employees coming to work at the department was recorded. These data were used to investigate any relationship between mass of discarded waste (source-segregated organic and mixed waste) and the number of employee coming to work at the department.
The result showed that 20 to 60 days (e.g. working days) should be considered to obtain reliable data when sampling waste from an institution.
We found a significant correlation between mass of source-segregated organic waste and the number of employees coming to work at the department (0.70 with 95% HDI 0.6 and 0.78). Similarly, there was a significant correlation between mixed waste and number of employees (0.49 with 95% HDI 0.3 and 0.62).
The generate rates of source-segregated organic waste amounted to 23 ± 5 kg/employee/year, of which 20 ± 5 kg/employee/year was source-segregated, with a considerably high purity of 99%. Mixed waste amounted to 10 ± 5 kg/employee/year.
These results show that source-segregated organic waste from institutions offers promising potential. They also suggest that recycling target for source-segregated organic waste might be achievable with reasonable logistical ease in institution areas.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event10th International Conference on "Circular Economy and Organic Waste" - Crete, Greece
Duration: 25 May 201628 May 2016
Conference number: 10


Conference10th International Conference on "Circular Economy and Organic Waste"
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