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Article
Publication date: 27 January 2021

Saad Dahlawi and Mahmoud F. El Sharkawy

Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists mainly of several recyclable materials such as paper and cardboard. Inside the educational institutes, especially universities, MSW is…

Abstract

Purpose

Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists mainly of several recyclable materials such as paper and cardboard. Inside the educational institutes, especially universities, MSW is generated from several facilities including offices and cafeterias. Without an effective management program, solid waste can have detrimental impacts on the environment. This paper aims to assess the solid waste management practices followed at the main campus of Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), Dammam – Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

The MSW samples were collected from different sources inside the IAU campus such as the college buildings (such as the teaching rooms and staff offices), the administrative buildings and services buildings (e.g. the main library, the photocopying center, the restaurant and cafeteria) at least one time per week during a full academic term (January–May) of the academic year 2017–2018. The collected MSW samples were segregated into seven categories, and the net amount of each category and the overall weight of the MSW were determined once every week. The MSW samples were characterized for physical and chemical properties including moisture, carbon and ash contents. Food product waste (FPW) of the main university restaurant was studied separately.

Findings

Data on the composition of MSW samples revealed that 80% of wastes were recyclable, 19% as compostable materials, while only 1% of the materials were a non-recyclable waste. More than 73% of the recyclable materials include paper and plastic warranting dire need of an effective solid waste management program. The highest value of FPW was recorded for the breakfast meal.

Originality/value

Most of the waste generated from the university campus was recyclable type that needs to be handled carefully to avoid its mixing with other types of the waste stream. Waste characterization is an important tool that helps in understanding the amount and pattern of waste generation. It can be used as a decision-making tool for implementing sustainable waste management programs for universities.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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