News - April 4, 2019

‘You know litter is bad for the environment’

Roelof Kleis

At the litter hotspots on campus there are going to be more, and larger, bins in a bid to prevent litter. And they will now offer us the chance to sort our waste out of doors as well as indoors.

Master student Sylvana Harmsen: 'It’s people’s selfishness and laziness which annoys me most'. © Sven Menschel

Litter on the campus, surely there’s not much of that? Oh yes, there is, says Master’s student of Biology Sylvana Harmsen. And if you don’t see much litter, it is because the groundsmen from the gardening company Donkergroen pick it up every day. At the end of January, Harmsen went around with them for a day. The result: ‘Three sacks of litter. And that’s in the middle of winter. On a summer’s day they get seven to 10 sacks.’

Selfishness and laziness
Harmsen lives at Campus Plaza. ‘The campus is my back garden and I often walk around it. I see a lot of litter and that irritates me. It’s people’s selfishness and laziness which annoys me most. Because you know litter is bad for the environment.’ Harmsen decided to do something about it and knocked on the door of campus manager Elike Wijnheijmer at Facilities and Services. ‘The waste problem is worst around the education buildings,’ explains Wijnheijmer. ‘People buy something to eat at Campus Plaza, take it to the Forum or Orion and throw out their rubbish there. That leads to full bins and litter. Donkergroen would need to empty the bins three times a day to keep up.’

Coloured labels
A start was made on installing new, larger bins for separate waste collection at the beginning of this week. Bins for plastic and non-recyclable waste will be placed outside the Forum, Orion, Atlas and Radix. Bins for food waste will be placed near Forum and Orion. The new bins are a discreet grey, with coloured labels for plastic, organic or non-recyclable waste. The old bins will be given to Campus Plaza.

A campaign to inform students and staff of the new recycling possibilities will follow later this month. Harmsen has no illusions that this will solve the litter problem at one blow. ‘But it is definitely a step in the right direction.’