The improvement of separate collection of biowaste on the Campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) begins by implementing a new separation system in the restaurants.
Separate collection at the UAB premises was available for some time now, but in the context of the DECISIVE Project, joint efforts were undertaken by ARC and the University to improve the separation and collection performance with particular attention on biowaste. In order to achieve that, a new communication and awareness campaign and the deployment of specific equipment were undertaken. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and the complete or partial shutdown of activities on campus delayed the beginning of the awareness campaign until April 2021. Even though attendance based presential lectures have been re-established, the activity in bars and restaurants were far from reaching its original level and most of them now offer a partial service. This situation has consequences on the generation of biowaste.
The communication campaign was initiated with the aim of creating awareness about the value of waste materials, particularly biowaste, in a circular economy and the importance of separate collection. The key messages and supporting information are displayed visually on posters on walls and trolleys in restaurants and kitchens, as well as digitally on social media and in e-mails.
Of course, every campaign and initiative come with certain challenges. The separation instructions had to be adapted to the different areas such as kitchens, restaurants and the picnic places. This is why different sets of posters were developed in order to have tailored advices and messages for each of those areas. Following to the kitchen staff’s demands, specific advices about waste generation and management were given, and the visual sorting instructions were based on the waste streams that are common in kitchens. The separation system implemented in the guest area of restaurants involves separation and disposing of all waste from the plate except food waste and glass, which would be separated in the kitchen by the staff. For picnic areas, people are requested to separate food waste but also paper, packaging and glass and dispose of them in corresponding bins. As a result, an improvement in the quantity and the quality of food waste is expected, as well as other recyclable fractions, while the residual fraction would be reduced.