Waste Sorting Habits by the Community of Kaunas University of Technology, Reasons and Influencing Factors
The article presents the waste management system at Kaunas University of Technology, surveys the waste sorting habits of its community, both students and employees, and analyses the reasons and factors influencing waste sorting and non-sorting. The introduction of a separate paper waste collection system has made it possible to reduce the amount of mixed waste by 25% during the first three months of its functioning.
58% of employees and 45% of students sort some of their waste partly, 23% of employees and 11% of students sort all their waste. 8% of employees and 19% of students sort their waste sometimes. 8% of employees and 24% of students do not sort waste at all. 77% of employees and 66% of students think that the main problem caused by waste generation is pollution of the environment. Therefore willingness to reduce an impact on it is the main reason for sorting, while a lack of conditions to keep separated recyclable refuse and a lack of nearby containers are main factors that are distracting people from source-sorting.Growth of environmental awareness and formation of sorting habits that are transmitted to family members are identified as the strengths. Lack of conditions for sorting (e.g. no place to keep sorted waste at home, insufficiently developed waste collection infrastructure), mistrust in a sorted waste collection system (e.g. belief that sorted waste goes to a landfill), and lack of information are the weaknesses. The opportunities comprise development of a convenient waste collection infrastructure, introduction of economic incentives and rise of further awareness. Identified threats for sorting at the source that discourage source sorting are the following: a developed infrastructure will not satisfy real needs; sorting will not become financially rewarding; improper decisions about a waste management system and waste treatment practices made at the state level, no real use of sorting.