Since August 2019 – June 2020, Thammasat University has monitored the amount of waste generated by the university and how they were treated. Almost a year after implementing the waste tracking, the statistic shows that the total amount of waste generated by the university has decreased but increasing the proportion of waste recycled by Thammasat University Facilities is still a challenge.
Since August 2020, the total amount of waste generated by Thammasat university gradually decreased. In the pre-lockdown period, the waste was reduced from 314,587 Kg. in August 2019 to 253,718.50 Kg in February 2020. During the lock down, the amount of waste decreased dramatically as the university was operating at the minimal level. All classes were migrated online. After the lockdown, in May and June, the amount of waste resumed its level but still less than the February-2020 level. Therefore, the overall trend of the amount of waste is decreasing, which is positive from the environmental point of view.
Thammasat University has two waste management facilities, namely TU Recycle Bank, and TU waste facility. The Recycle Bank buys recyclable waste from faculties and university departments and then the waste is managed by an outsourced private sector. All other waste from within the university will be segregated by TU waste facility before sending the rest to the municipality’s waste facility.
According to the statistic, the TU Recycle Bank played more important role in recycling waste in Thammasat as every month from August 2019 onwards the Recycle Bank bought recyclable waste and managed them at the larger amount. Nonetheless, the proportion of waste recycled by the facilities in Thammasat University is gradually decreasing. This poses a challenge to Thammasat Recycling Facilities.
Interestingly, during the lockdown, the proportion (figure 3) and number of recycled waste (figure 4) spiked in March and April 2020. This is explained by the increase in the use of food delivery service during the lockdown for students in the dormitory and Thammasat Field Hospital. The university responded to this increase of waste from food delivery by implementing a project “Pinto Save the World”, replacing plastic packaging with food carrier (or Pinto) for food delivered to patients and medical staff in Thammasat Field Hospital, which may contribute to the reduction of recycled waste in May 2020. In contrast, the total waste sent to the municipality’s waste facility was greatly reduced due to the lock down (figure 4).
The non-recyclable waste from the TU waste facilities will be transferred to the municipality’s waste facility. The facility then segregates the waste once again and utilizes the different kinds of waste for different purpose. For instance, food waste will be utilized as bio-fuel and organic fertilizer, the rest will be used for Refuse-Derive Fuel (RDF). No waste goes to landfill.