How to reduce solid waste generation within the EL BOSQUE UNIVERSITY, BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA?



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Posted by Carine Bergez on 31-10-2016 - Last updated on 31-10-2016

> Using gamification techniques in order to encourage sorting. > Turning waste into (teaching) resources. > No waste produced = no waste to sort. > Rewarding eco-friendly behaviors.

  • Using gamification techniques in order to encourage sorting. Sorting waste shouldn't be a hassle. It should be FUN !

    Universidad El Bosque can first create momentum by organizing a month-long event that involves the entire community:  launching a competition between classes towards zero paper use ; asking fine arts students to build sculptures made of plastic waste in order to create a giant on-campus exhibition ; encouraging dramatic art students to write a play on the topic of waste, and then play it in front of other students during lunch breaks ; involving students by asking them for waste reduction ideas (prizes awarded to the best ideas), etc.

    Picture below (Copyright Hubbub): in order to stop people from littering the streets, the projet "Neat Streets" asks people to vote with their cigarettes butts. Universidad El Bosque may organize similar polls with other types of waste. For instance : a dining hall may ask people what they want to eat next Wednesday, using bottle caps as a way to choose between three available options.


  • Turning waste into (teaching) resources. Universidad El Bosque offers Biology and Environmental Engineering classes. These courses could benefit from real-life, waste-related pilot projets - for instance, students may look into : how organic waste turns into compost (that may be used to grow food or flowers on campus) ; how organic waste can produce biogas, which may then be used in order to heat the university's dining hall, thus promoting a circular economy, etc. Installing a composting or methanization unit on campus will help raise awareness : students will see that by sorting waste, they help turn it into valuable resources, such as energy, fertilizer, etc.
  • No waste produced = no waste to sort. Universidad El Bosque may review its supply policy in order to minimize the amount of waste. For instance, instead of offering bottled water and/or plastic glasses, it might install tap water fountains and distribute reusable, customizable water flasks to all students and staff members (e.g. GOBI water flask below). Other rules may be enforced : only ONE paper towel will be distributed per person at the dining hall ; non-recyclable disposable cuttlery will be replaced with eco-friendlier cuttlery, etc.

  • Rewarding eco-friendly behaviors. The university may appoint a Waste Ambassador in charge of promoting waste reduction. That person may also be managing an incentive program aiming to maintain student's interest over time - e.g. awarding gift/food/book vouchers to students who regularly bring in recyclable waste.


  1. JanStehlik JanStehlik

    Yes! I love this concept from the first time when I saw the voting ashtray in Edinburgh. The trick is in teaching the consumers to behave responsibly. Gamification is an obvious answer, when monetary incentives or regulatory restrictions fail or are not feasible.