Published: 01-09-2023 13:46 | Updated: 06-09-2023 12:52

Food waste recycling to be introduced at KI

A green container with a brown paper bag in a kitchen setting.
New bins for food waste will be in place in Aula Medica and the administration building in Solna starting on 4 September 2023. Foto: N/A

To start with, new bins, cleaning routines and staff information channels will be trialled over the coming weeks in Aula Medica and the administration building in Solna. The aim is for food waste to be recycled effectively throughout KI by the end of the year.

There is currently no centralised processing of food waste at KI. As of 1 January 2024 households and businesses in Sweden will be obliged to recycle their food waste for use in the production of biofuel and other purposes.

“This is a necessary and long-awaited step for KI,” says Karin Dahlman-Wright, chair of KI’s Council for Environment and Sustainable Development. “While there are already some local initiatives in place around the university, everyone needs to help in the recycling of food waste.”

A quarter of KI’s waste can become biogas

Unused food is estimated to constitute as much as a quarter of the total waste generated by KI. This means that every year, KI could send over 100 tonnes of food waste to biogas or bio-fertiliser plants instead of incinerators.

“By recycling and preventing food waste we will be able to make more effective use of the planet’s resources,” she explains. “This is also a priority of KI’s Climate Strategy 2030.”

Successive implementation this autumn

The recycling of food waste is a logistical challenge at such a large workplace as KI, with its different activities and buildings on two campuses.

“If we’re to succeed in recycling our food waste, it must be easy to do the right thing and everyone – students, researchers, guests and staff – must do their bit,” says Rikard Becker, facilities director at KI.

To ensure that the implementation runs smoothly, it will be done in several phases. Phase one will run from 4 September to 6 October (inclusive) at the administration building and Aula Medica on Nobels väg in Solna. The kitchens in these building will receive new bins into which everyone will be able to discard leftovers, fruit peel, etc. in specially provided paper bags.

Routines will need trialling and adapting

“We’ll be evaluating this first phase before we roll out food waste recycling and management throughout KI,” explains Becker. “We’ll be looking at things like how efficiently the waste can be transported from kitchens and dining rooms to the refuse rooms, how often the bags need replenishing and if the information to staff and students is clear enough.”

It is hoped that KI’s departments, libraries and other operational units will have the logistics and procedures in place to recycle food waste by the end of the year.

How well do you think it is working at the administration building and Aula Medica?

If you have any queries or suggestions for how we can make it better and easier to recycle food waste, please complete our Mentimeter survey, which is open from 4 September to 6 October (for this phase, in Swedish).

Your input is valuable to us, so that we can make any necessary changes to routines and information when we come to implement the food waste recycling programme throughout KI later this year.