Waste is an old-fashioned word

Within the next 7 weeks my columns will consist about two things; first I will identify the main challenge of that week. Then, I will write about a few Climate-KIC initiatives that are trying to deal with these problems. These initiatives can be either start-ups or Climate-KIC projects. As a Climate-KIC student, I am trying to promote my platform and hope to inspire my fellow students with initiatives from the Climate-KIC community. This week: Waste!

Hello. My column of this week will be written about waste. Although I couldn't attend this week due to a conflicting class on Climate Ethics, I did take a look at the powerpoints that were posted. Especially the one on waste I found very inspiring. Why? Well, for one it is the main topic of the subsystem my group has to deal with. But what is inspiring about waste, one might wonder. 

Well, waste is in my opinion a bit of an old-fashioned concept. In fact, I prefer to look at waste as an unsorted collection of useful stuff that people don't consider useful anymore, therefore free to collect and to process in any way you like, if you want to make money on it! Some people who will agree with me on this statement is the Dutch Climate-KIC start-up 3R Waste Management who look to collect plastic waste and turn it into quality virgin plastic again! 

Around 13% of the waste produced by Texel civilians are plastics. In 2012, there was around 3800 kg of "other waste" produced by the Texel civilians. So this accounts for about 500 kg plastic a year. What if this could be sold to this Dutch start-up I mentioned in the previous alinea?! In fact, there are more solutions like this. I believe that if you get the civilians of Texel to sort their waste very well, this might yield some interesting revenues. 

So, turning waste into money hm? But how much money exactly? Say, I have a lot of used envelopes here, like, a lot! About 0.5 ton. So what's the value of that? The answer is unfortunately; not really a lot. Around €40 according to DeAfvalmarkt.nl. This innovative website is a platform where waste producers and waste processors can find eachother and trade their waste for money.  Of course, it is not a lot of money. But hey, €40 is more than when you just dump it in the container around the corner, right?

So, if we can consider waste a resource, isn't Texel just lucky that they have this high amount of waste per person due to the tourists that visit the island? In the future this might just be turned into a profitable business! 

Thijs Schaap

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