SarSubz LUMS - Recycling and Waste Management at LUMS
As part of the recently launched SarSubz LUMS Initaitive which aims to make the Lahore University of Mangagement Sciences (LUMS) campus more sustainable and environment friendly, LUMS has also begun looking at its own waste management and recycling efforts. While much can be improved and while the University administration actively seeks creative ideas of how to make things better, the good news is that there is already much more recycling and reuse happening on campus than many of us realise.
As the head of General Administration at LUMS, Mr. Amer Khan, explains: "The goal now is to continue doing the good things we are doing, to improve the things we are doing further, and to identify things that we should start doing to make the campus - our home - even better."
“Waste at LUMS can be found in four forms,” explains Mr. Amer Khan, Director, General Administration Services at LUMS. “These waste categories are dry leaves; cans and bottles; paper plates, cups and tissues, and packing materials such as cartons, fruit crates, oil tins and so on. Another category is the food and breads which are leftover and are unusable from the Pepsi Dining Centre (PDC).”
Recycling of the majority of these waste items takes place at LUMS through one form or the other. Leaves are collected from around campus by gardeners and put into a large compost pit, located on campus. The pit measures 10 feet by 40 feet, with a 3 foot depth. With the addition of soil and water to the plant remains, the result is compost manure which is then utilized during the winter months to ensure the LUMS campus remains green even during the harsh winter climate.
The recycling of cans and bottles from around campus is outsourced to a contractor who collects the items once a month. Garbage is also collected regularly and around 15 to 17 trolleys of garbage are collected from the campus (excluding the PDC) every month. Stale breads and rotis are also collected by two vendors and are then recycled by them. Similarly, packaging material from across campus is collected and separated regularly and then sold back to paper producers for reuse and recycling.
“We try to ensure that we waste as little food as possible at the PDC, by strictly monitoring the number of people on campus at all times and calculating the food required for them,” says Mr. Khan. The staff members at the PDC are always monitoring the electricity usage. If there is no one sitting in a particular area or if there is enough sunlight coming in, lights are switched off immediately. Mr. Khan explained that not too long ago, the dining centre was one of the main consumers of electricity on campus. Now however, it is one of the lowest. Some of the waste food from the PDC, eg the stale rotis, is also used to make fish food for the 250 fish in the pond near the female hostels.
One major problem at LUMS is that of littering, according to Mr. Khan. “We really need to educate the LUMS community about avoiding littering and placing all waste in the numerous waste bins that can be found all over campus,” he states. Reading packages found discarded around the campus are sent to the LUMS library.
Speaking of new initiatives, the Director of General Administration Services said that plans were in place to make the campus more ‘green’.