The Secretariat of Sustainability of the UANL (SS) through the Directorate of Environmental Management and Operational Safety (DGASO) aware of the problem posed by inappropriate waste management, makes available to the university community the Institutional Program for Management and Waste Management, which presents strategies for the integral management of the different types of waste and to reduce the generation of the same in all the UANL campuses, eliminating and / or minimizing the negative impacts to the environment, also promoting sustainable practices in the university community and complying with current environmental regulations.
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Solid urban waste
Urban solid waste (MSW) is generated in residential homes or in work centers as a result of the elimination of materials used in domestic activities (such as consumer products and their packaging, packaging, etc.), establishments or public roads with domiciliary characteristics, and those resulting from public roads and places as long as they are not considered as other types of waste.
In Mexico, according to the most recent figure published in the SEMARNAT Environmental Situation Report, the generation of MSW reached 53.1 million tons, which represented an increase of 61.2% compared to 2003 (10.24 million tons more generated in that period; Figure 1). If expressed per inhabitant, it reached 1.2 kilograms on average daily in the same year.
Figure 1. Generation of MSW, gross domestic product (GDP) and private final consumption expenditure in Mexico, 2003-2015
At the UANL in 2013, the Waste Separation and Recycling Program (PROSER) was launched, which consists of each agency segregating its waste with recyclable characteristics in containers destined for it, to be later taken to recycling and having as main objective is to raise awareness among students and teaching and administrative staff, maximize the use of resources and prevent or reduce environmental impacts.
In the period from February 2013 to December 2018, 633.08 tons of material (aluminum, plastic, paper and cardboard) have been collected, which has represented important environmental benefits such as 9,191 uncut trees, 2,229 tons of CO2 not emitted into the atmosphere and 1,800 m3 of landfill not used, among others.
Special Handling Waste
1. Electronic waste
Special handling waste (RME) is the materials generated in the production or service processes and does not meet the characteristics to be considered urban solid waste or hazardous waste, an example of RME is electronic waste (televisions, cell phones, computers and equipment appliances, among others), these wastes are composed of hundreds of different materials, both valuable (gold, silver, palladium and copper) and potentially dangerous (lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic) which can be accidentally released into the environment during disassemble and represent a danger to human health and to the environment if they are disposed of improperly.
According to the statistical analysis carried out by the United Nations University (UNU), it is estimated that of the 3.9 million tons of electrical and electronic waste produced by Latin America in 2014, Mexico was responsible for around 24%, surpassed only by Brazil, which contributed 36%. It is also estimated that in 2018 Latin America will produce 4.8 million tons of electrical and electronic waste. Globally, the total in 2014 was just under 42 million and in 2018 50 million will be reached, growing at an average annual rate of 4 to 5%.
It is the fastest growing waste group in the world, it is estimated that 75% of these electronic waste is stored in warehouses, offices or in the homes of users because it is not known how to dispose of them.
Aware of the aforementioned problem, the UANL, through the Ministry of Sustainability, annually carries out campaigns for the collection of electrical and electronic equipment and equipment so that they are properly disposed of and encourage this practice throughout the university community, extending it to the general public.
In the last campaign carried out in November 2018, 16.02 tons of electronic waste were collected, generating important environmental benefits such as 378,042 kWh of electricity not consumed and 59.14 tons of CO2 not emitted into the atmosphere.
2. Organic waste
The treatment of organic waste is becoming increasingly important given the dimension of the problem that it represents not only because of the increase in volumes generated but also because of the use of fertilizers of chemical origin which, in addition to contaminating the environment and having a higher cost, represent a risk to the health of the people who handle them and to the consumers of the products.
The Faculty of Agronomy of the UANL carries out a project for the use and exploitation of livestock waste (manure) and the use of pruning (garden waste) of the Marín campus, which consists of treating said waste using earthworms where They obtain approximately 700 kg of humus or compost (vermicompost) and 1,000 liters of a leachate rich in essential nutrients (fulvic acids) which are used to fertilize the nursery, the experimental crops and the gardens of the same campus.
3. Oil residues in coffee shops
Waste generated from vegetable and / or animal oils and fats used in food preparation, are the main cause of contamination of surface and underground waters, due to their uncontrolled discharge. It is estimated that one liter of used oil can contaminate 1000 to 10,000 liters of water causing obstructions, bad odors and the proliferation of pests in the drainage and / or sewage systems. It can even harm the soil also seriously affecting its fertility by altering its biological and chemical activity.
In some units of the UANL the vegetable oil generated in the kitchens of coffee shops, is collected in special containers to be later collected and discarded by a company specialized in the field.
4. Hazardous Waste
A hazardous waste (RP) is a material or product whose owner or holder discards and is in a solid or semi-solid state, liquid or gas contained in containers or deposits, and is capable of being recovered or required to undergo final treatment or disposal, and It also contains at least one of the CRETIB characteristics (Corrosive, Reactive, Explosive, Toxic, Flammable, Biological-infectious) (General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Residues).
Currently, the DGASO implements a program for the management and disposal of hazardous waste (RP) generated in all its campuses, which aims to comply with the applicable legal provisions; said program It consists of classifying, storing and managing the transportation and final disposal of waste with companies authorized by federal entities. During 2018, 168.39 tons of hazardous waste were disposed, of which 124.30 tons corresponded to infectious biological hazardous waste (RPBI) and 44.09 tons to hazardous waste of chemical origin (of which 134.2 kg correspond to expired medicines).