Waste and Organic Recyclable Managment

The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), in Mexico reports that annually are generated 37.7 million tonnes of municipal solid waste, 84 million tonnes of special treatment waste, and 1.9 million tonnes of hazardous waste and this number tends to rise, as is shown by the basic diagnostic for integral management of waste. Under different programs SEMARNAT promotes the proper disposal of domestic solid wastes implementing strategies of training, education, and communication in order to carry out this aim. The Secretariat of Research, Innovation and Sustainability and the Department of Environmental Management and Operational Safety developed a plan for the management of waste generated in the different UANL campuses with the aim of eliminating and/or minimizing the impacts caused by improper waste handling, thus fulfilling environmental regulations in this matter and promoting environmental care in the university community.

Electronic Waste

The General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Wastes defines special wastes as potentially infectious waste, hazardous waste, pollution control waste or industrial process waste and are produced by large generators of municipal solid waste.

Electronic Waste is considered to be one of those wastes of special management (televisions, cellphones, computers, fans, etc.) since its manufacturing process some materials of potential environmental concern are used (lead, zinc, aluminum, etc.) if this devices are used or disposed of improperly may pose a potential risk to public health and especially for the environment.

Due to the above, the UANL in collaboration with SIIS and SEMARNAT conducted campaigns of collection and electronic recycling with this, it is sought to raise awareness among citizens and university students about the adequate final disposal of wastes that many times are being accumulated at home and offices.

Further, during 2015 the School of Physical Education, the School of Chemistry and the Department of Social Service carried out several collection campaigns of this wastes of special management and during 2016 have been carried two additional campaigns at the School of Economics and High School 25. By next November 2016 it is intended to perform a new collection campaign where all departments and schools will be involved.

Solid Urban Waste

All solid wastes that are generated from UANL campuses are collected and taken to a transfer station and subsequently will be transported to the landfill site of the System for Ecological Waste Management and Processing (SIMEPRODE in its Spanish acronym) (http://www.nl.gob.mx/simeprode), which is located at the municipality of Salinas Victoria and it is managed by the government of the State.

A landfill is a specific place to handle with waste disposal aimed to avoid the dissemination of toxic substances in the subsoil and aquifers. Sorting centers for the segregation of recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste are established. Pieces of glass, aluminum, cardboard, paper, plastics and steel are segregated before compacting and being covered with layers of clay and sand. Biogas is produced as a result of this process which is conducted through a pipe line and then is turned into electrical energy. This energy is distributed and used in public lighting among seven municipalities of the Monterrey Metropolitan Area a program that favors greenhouse reduction measures.

 Waste Separation and Recycling (PROSER in its Spanish acronym)

Now in Mexico, waste management is going through a time of change. It is about a critical period between two approaches: preventative solutions under the rule of the Three R’s “Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling” and a fourth “R” is added “Reject” which means to avoid using products that are considered to be unnecessary. Talking about the first approach, everyday landfill capacity is markedly reduced, one solution leads to consider waste incineration but, however this could endanger human health because of the emission of ashes, dioxins and furans, polychlorinated biphenyls, and heavy metals. On the other hand, the second approach aims a comprehensive and sustainable management of solid wastes through different techniques such as, reuse, recycle, composting, biogas production, incineration with energy recovery and proper disposal in landfills that comply with local regulations.

In February 2013, the Secretariat of Research, Innovation and Sustainability established a waste separation and recycling program (PROSER) at the central administration offices in Ciudad Universitaria Campus (CU) in the ‘Raul Rangel Frias’ University Library and the School of Chemistry. On May 2013, UANL signed an agreement with the COPAMEX Reciclados S.A de C.V. company, so that the recyclable municipal solid waste generated in the central areas other than the Schools and High Schools, are managed through this company which in return for the material handled help the schools with 100% recycled paper or with cash, which can be used to the buy containers or for any other activity related to the Program. Within one month of the date of recollection, COPAMEX generates a report for every department and school about environmental benefits.

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A 64% of UANL Schools located at Ciudad Universitaria campus have a recycle program.

Recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, PET, and aluminum are collected in Ciudad Universitaria campus and some other departments and Schools of Mederos and Health Sciences campus which joined to this program during 2016. During the period February 2013 to June 2016, a total of 204.88 tons were collected, as shown in the following graph:

Gráfica PROSER

PROSER, caracterización de residuos reciclables, febrero de 2013 a junio de 2016

Source: COPAMEX reciclados y Biopappel

We have obtained significant environmental benefits, highlighting the commitment of the university community by caring for the environment, in addition to its interests in promoting sustainable practices within the university campus.

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It should be noted that UANL promotes the efficient use of paper and plastic, which aims to reduce the consumption of these materials and reduce the amount of waste generated. Thanks to the good results obtained so far, the implementation of this actions is in process of becoming an institutional policy.

Organic Waste

The School of Agronomy, Marin Campus is currently developing a project for the use and management of organic waste generated carried out a project of use and use of waste from livestock (manure) and the use of prunings (garden waste) university campus, which through a process with vermicomposting obtained humus and rich leachate in essential nutrients (fulvic acids), considered as raw material for the production of organic fertilizer, which is used to fertilize crops and gardens experimental university campus.

 

Carcass Digester

The School of Veterinary Medicine, on its commitment to protect the environment is in the process of installing a carcass digester in the necropsy area of the Hospital for Large Species, in order to have an efficient and friendly way the environment to dispose of the bodies generated in the practices performed by students of Veterinarian and veterinary hospitals of large and small species that belong to the School. This service is also available to veterinary clinics that are located in the metropolitan area of Monterrey.

Technical Guidelines for waste management

The Secretariat of Research, Innovation and Sustainability has developed technical guidelines for the handling and management of municipal solid waste, recyclable waste, special handling waste, hazardous infectious biological and chemical waste generated within different campuses.

Technical guideline for the efficient use and management of organic waste from the UANL

Technical guideline of the management of municipal solid waste with recyclable characteristics and special handling