21 August 2017

Cups of sugarcane, cutlery of maize sugar and plates of palm leaves

Pilot with biodegradable disposables in Androclus restaurant

Biodegradable disposables
Plate of palm leaves

Do you ever eat at the restaurant in the Androclus building? From 28 August you will not longer eat from a porcelain plate, but from a plate of palm leaves. Cutlery of corn sugar replaces the current cutlery and the cups are made of sugar cane. This is all part of a pilot with biodegradable disposables with the aim of setting up a valuable circular chain and finding a sustainable alternative for porcelain dishes. This pilot fits the university's goal of having a CO2-neutral operational management in 2030.

Circular chain

In the pilot, the porcelain dishes are replaced by biodegradable disposables that are collected together with the organic waste in a shredder (Super Lizzy). This shreds, eases and compresses the waste. The waste processor then ensures that the correct proportions of materials are processed in the composting machine (50% disposables and 50% organic waste). After 24 hours of composting and mixing, the fluids have been removed from the waste (volume reduction of 85%) and bacteria have converted the remaining material into compost. This can then be used, for example, for growing vegetables and fruit.

Research by students

The pilot will run until December 2017. Students of the Green Office will conduct research on the compost in collaboration with the Department of Biology and Botanical Gardens. What is the quality of the compost? What can the university use it for? Furthermore, they investigate how employees and students experience the disposables and what the actual impact is on the environment in comparison with porcelain dishes. Following the pilot, an evaluation and a decision on a possible follow-up will follow.

Cooperation partners

The Facilities Service Center (FSC) of the University of Utrecht works together with several partners in this pilot.

More information

More information about sustainable operational management can be found at www.uu.nl/sustainableuu.