AIT, a cluster of academic buildings and residential colonies, generates a significant amount of waste. The waste flow loop of the institute is a linear one. Wastes generated are disposed in the collection bins spread across the campus, which is collected on a daily basis. Thus, collected waste is temporarily stored and then transported (twice a week) by the local Tha-Klong Municipality to the Integrated Waste Management Facility for energy recovery through Anaerobic Digestion (AD), refuse derived fuel (RDF), and as compost.
Despite the capacity (excellence in knowledge and technology) and resources (enough waste quantity and land space), AIT succumb ignorance and an unfortunate lack of a visionary lead on the institutional waste recovery. The waste recovery activities are limited to segregation and sale of recyclables by some residents to the junk dealer as a part of “cash-for-trash” event, the Sodexo run cafeteria’s food waste sale as animal feed, and yard waste decaying in a pit. Therefore, there is a dire need to address the solid waste management issue at the institutional level, by demonstrating and encouraging the AIT population with doable 3R activities.
To translate the AIT campus into an exemplary behavior of responsible waste management, and rise as a 3R champion institute that meets or exceeds Thailand’s regulatory target of achieving at least 30% of total waste recovery between 2012-2016 (PCD, 2011). The study will review the existing good practices as well as the loopholes and challenges for practicing and achieving 3R targets on-campus. A set of recommendations will be provided to encourage 3R code of practice in AIT.
A monthly waste sampling is being carried out applying the waste quartering and coning and manual sorting, various waste composition will be identified. The purpose of waste characterization is to compare how the waste composition has changed from previous years (with 2007 baseline), and also identify how much and what waste types can be recovered for recycling, hence reducing the waste load that goes for disposal.
Preliminary waste audit shows the following waste composition:
Waste Composition Analysis/sampling
Pilot demonstration activities
To initiate and encourage the AIT community to practice sustainable waste management, three demonstration activities were identified:
1. Food waste composting
Majority of the waste at AIT comes from food. If AIT can compost this food waste, the overall waste volume significantly decreases. Hence, to explore if the residents are interested in household scale kitchen waste composting, the project was designed and distributed to four interested people who each were given the compost bin; an aerated in-vessel composter.The performance of the composter will be monitored every month. Parameters like quantity and types of waste feed, moisture, temperature, pH, odor, and vermin and flies presence will be observed regularly. The quality of the compost produced will be tested through chemical testing at laboratory, and will be compared with Thai Compost Standard.
2. Source segregation of waste
Waste segregation at source is an important aspect of waste recovery. A pocket of residential colonies at AIT are selected as the pilot location for household waste segregation. Each household is provided with 1 black and 1 white bin bag per week to segregate dry and wet wastes.
Waste segregation and recovery activities at the cage bin
The black bag will be binned in green bin and white bag into yellow bags located at each building. The recyclables segregated into white bags will be recovered by the institute’s cleaning staffs for selling. Promotional materials such as flyer and brochure/stickers have been distributed to each household for facilitating proper waste segregation.
3. Packaging Waste Segregation at Community Scale (Kerb Side bin)
A cage bin with three compartments for plastic bottles, metal cans and glass bottles was placed in 108 Lawson Grocery Store premise on 30 July 2014. This was to facilitate AIT community to segregate their packaging waste/recyclables than throwing as mixed waste. With this activity, the project is also testing the self-sustainability of such activity through livelihood support to the cleaning staffs who are supporting the project team to weigh and take-away the segregated waste. It is expected that these cleaning staffs will be able to earn extra money by selling these segregated recyclables, as a motivation.