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Specially managed waste (RME) is the materials that are generated in the production or service processes and that do not meet the characteristics to be considered urban solid waste or hazardous waste, as defined by the General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Waste (LGPGIR). According to the Basic Diagnosis for Integral Waste Management (SEMARNAT, 2012) 84 million tons of 14 streams of special handling waste are generated annually, for example: copper, aluminum, tires, construction waste, sludge from of wastewater treatment plants, among others, to which the more than 800 thousand vehicles that arrive at the end of their useful life every year throughout the country, whose number is increasing.

At the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, a permanent awareness campaign is conducted aimed at members of the university community so that special handling waste (RME) is transported and confined properly, in order to prevent exposure of risks they generate.

Electrical and electronic waste

The technology of rapid innovation and short periods of life are some of the factors that contribute to the increasing amount of electronic waste. Electrical and electronic equipment (televisions, cell phones, computers and home appliances, among others) are composed of hundreds of different materials, both valuable (gold, silver, palladium and copper) and potentially hazardous (lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic), which depends on the type of technology, country of origin and the manufacturer, these compounds can be accidentally released to the environment during disassembly which represents a danger to human health and the environment in case an adequate disposal is not made thereof.

An example of the consequences generated by the inadequate disposition of this type of materials is leachates, which are liquids that release toxic substances to the environment, which can seep through the ground and contaminate the aquifers with heavy metals, causing damage to Human health like the ones mentioned below, when water is consumed by human populations:

  • Acute poisoning

  • Neurological damage

  • Damage to the respiratory tract

  • Cardiovascular conditions

  • Liver and kidney damage

  • Osteoporosis and bone deformations

  • Cancer

  • Immune system damage

The Ministry of Sustainability since 2014 has carried out campaigns to collect electrical and electronic waste in order to raise awareness among the university community and the general public of making an adequate disposal of this type of waste that often has accumulated in houses and offices.

In November 2018, a campaign for the collection of this type of waste was carried out, during 5 days with the enthusiastic participation of different units, both of the UANL and external, where collection centers were installed:

  • Raúl Rangel Frías University Library

  • School of Public Health and Nutrition

  • High School No. 1

  • High School No. 4

  • High School No. 7 Dr. Oscar Vela Cantú Unit I

  • High School No. 7 Dr. Oscar Vela Cantú Unit II

  • High School No. 25

  • Bilingual Education Research and Development Center

  • Organization Soriana S.A.B. from C.V.

In total, 16.02 tons of electrical and electronic waste were collected, characterized as mentioned below:

 

This campaign was also aimed at the general public.

This amount of collected waste generated significant environmental benefits such as 378,042 kWh of electricity not consumed and 59.14 tons of CO2 not emitted into the atmosphere.

Organic waste

The Faculty of Agronomy of the UANL currently 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 humus or fertilizer (vermicompost) and a leachate rich in essential nutrients (fulvic acids) are obtained which are used to fertilize the nursery, the experimental crops and the gardens of the same campus.

According to the information provided by the project managers, 1.5 tons of organic waste are treated every year, obtaining a total of 700 kg of humus or fertilizer as well as 1,000 liters of leachate annually; The latter is rich in nutrients and is used for irrigation of gardens or fields or in foliar form by sprinkling.

The treatment of organic waste every day is more important given the dimension of the problem that represents not only the increase in volumes generated but also 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.

Due to the consolidation and success of the project, it is expected that in the medium term it will be able to present significant growth, which will allow it to market the humus or fertilizer, since it is currently only used internally to meet the needs of the University itself.

Oil waste

Waste generated from used vegetable and / or animal oils and fats is the main cause of water contamination, due to its uncontrolled discharge, which can cause problems, causing obstructions, bad odors and proliferation of pests in the drainage systems and / or sewer.

Due to this situation, in the UANL it is promoted that the residues of vegetable oil generated in the kitchens of the cafeterias, are stored in special containers, avoiding with this being poured into the drainage. Subsequently, said waste is transferred and recycled for use as biofuel by specialized companies.