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University of Basel

Procurement & recyclables

Discarded server components in a wooden frame
E-waste (here: server) ready for disposal. (Image: Anna Wirz, © NMC, University of Basel)

To save resources and reduce environmental impact, every organization needs a systematic recycling management plan that addresses not only the reuse and recycling of materials, but also procurement – in particular with a view to avoiding waste. Important progress has been made in both respects in the past two years.

Recyclables

Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 and 12.5
Contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (https://sdgs.un.org/)

A primary goal relating to recyclables identified in the last sustainability report was improving data collection. An innovative monitoring tool was developed in order to obtain a preliminary idea of where and which recyclables occur in the more than 80 university buildings and the extent of the environmental burden of their production and disposal. Recyclables are materials that can be reused after their first use, such as glass, aluminum and PET bottles.

 

A preliminary study analyzed which recyclables are particularly harmful to the environment and how easy it would be operationally to reduce this environmental impact. The result was that the more visible and well-known recyclables, such as plastic, paper and metals, tend to play a less important role compared with electrical and electronic devices. This is due to the complex production of these devices.

Stefan Keller, Campusmanager Petersplatz/ Münchenstein.

An optimal recycling management plan contributes to a saving of resources and a reduction in the environmental impact. This is not limited to waste and disposal, but also includes the procurement and use of materials. Our new monitoring system now allows us to implement targeted measures to reduce the environmental impact of our resource consumption

Stefan Keller, Campusmanager Petersplatz/ Münchenstein.

Procurement

Procurement is another crucial element of how we handle resources. The choice of products and materials purchased and the ways in which they are used (e.g. duration of use) can profoundly influence the university's environmental impact. A few sustainability criteria have already been integrated into the procurement process. For example, a new agreement was signed with a supplier that directly reduces waste by using reusable transport bags.

However, it is also evident that many purchases by the university are subject to stringent specifications (for example, laboratory equipment), and thus few options of suppliers. A systematic review of integration of sustainability criteria is still pending.

Karsten Fechtig, Head of Facilities Controlling & Services

For us, sustainability issues are an important factor in the procurement of goods and services. We have defined sustainability criteria in several calls for bids in recent years. With the new federal procurement legislation, we are now making a greater effort to incorporate these criteria into every call for bids, taking into account the university's financial resources.

Karsten Fechtig, Head of Facilities Controlling & Services

Hazardous waste

Disposal of hazardous waste is subject to separate legal regulation and can only be provided by certified disposal companies. A hazardous materials platform with guidelines and resources and an e-learning course have been set up to provide information to university staff and students.

Goals & actions

Goals 2021/2022
Actions
Responsible unit
Goals 2021/2022

Improve data collection on recyclables

Actions

Implement recyclables monitoring at all University of Basel campuses. Develop
centralized data monitoring for recyclables; publish in Sustainability Report every two
years

Responsible unit

Facilities
Campus managers

Goals 2021/2022

Integrate sustainability into procurement

Actions

Create and implement sustainability guidelines for delivery companies and service providers; integrate sustainability criteria in submissions and procurement for other services and product groups

Responsible unit

Facilities Controlling & Services
Sustainability Office

Achieved goals 2019/2020
Actions
Responsible unit
Achieved goals 2019/2020

Improve data collection on recyclables

Actions

Develop a waste management plan to establish effective measurement and monitoring options (quantities, recycling rate, disposal costs)

Responsible unit

Facilities

Achieved goals 2019/2020

Integrate sustainability into procurement

Actions

Include sustainability criteria in invitations to tender for office supplies contractors

Responsible unit

Facilities Controlling & Services
Sustainability Office

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