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Sorting bins at CBS didn’t get sorted at all during the past six years

If you have been sorting your waste at Solbjerg Plads, it has all been in vain. (Photo: Mette Koors)

Three different colored sorting bins, situated throughout the Solbjerg Plads, have been part of an experiment running for more than six years. But the trash never got sorted. Now, the bins have been removed, the day after CBS WIRE asked what happens to the waste.

News |   10. Nov 2017

Anne Thora Lykkegaard


Mette Koors


General waste. Paper only. Plastic only. The names on the three differently colored trash cans placed at many different places throughut the Solbjerg Plads campus encourages everyone to separate the waste

This was until Wednesday, the 7th of November, when they were removed. This happened the day after CBS WIRE had asked Campus Services, what happens to the waste from the sorting bins.

If you spent time by the bins sorting your waste correctly, it has all been in vain. When they were in use, everything was tossed together at the end of the day, Campus Services told CBS WIRE on Tuesday, the 6th of November.

On Wednesday the 8th of November, all the remaining sorting bins at Solbjerg Plads were removed. (Photo: Mette Koors)

To the questions on, why the waste hasn’t been sorted and why the bins were removed, René Steffensen, Campus Director answer.

“The local sorting of waste in the common areas at Solbjerg Plads was a trial, which was initiated years ago. The trial showed that people didn’t respect the sorting rules, and because of this, it has never been possible to do anything, but throwing it all out as general waste,” writes René Steffensen and continues:

“Neither the cleaning personnel nor Campus Services sort the general waste from the waste bins. It’s not realistic to imagine that they should sort big amounts of waste from the waste bins in the basement everyday. Furthermore, it is important to understand that sorted waste have to be “clean” in the sense that, for instance, a piece of paper with just a little bit of food on it cannot be sorted as paper – it has to be put together with the general waste.”

People don’t use the bins correctly

The experiment was initiated years ago,  but the sorting bins weren’t removed, which could give students and staff the impression that the waste was still being sorted. Even though it wasn’t.

The conclusion from the experiment was clear. Making students and staff sorting their waste in the common areas wasn’t working. Why this was the case, wasn’t clear at all.

“The trial showed that people don’t sort correctly, why it happens, we can only speculate. Are the bins not good enough? Is the waste sorting-culture different in Denmark compared to other countries where children learn it at an early age? Or have we made too few campaigns?” René Steffensen wonders.

So far, there are no plans of a new waste sorting concept in the common areas. (Photo: Mette Koors)

Now, that the bins have been removed, the question of what will happen next is yet to be determined. Will CBS give sorting waste in the common areas another shot?

“CBS is actively supporting the sorting of waste, and we are already doing a lot,” he writes and continues. (See fact box)

“The experiment showed that this kind of sorting of waste doesn’t work at CBS . We wish to rethink the concept and have removed the sorting bins that were left, and which should have been removed a long time ago. We don’t want to be accused for greenwashing.”

CBS WIRE also asked Kirsten Winther Jørgensen, the University Director, what signal CBS is sending to its students and staff by not sorting the waste from the bins, what signal it sends to people outside of CBS, and what image it gives CBS.

“In our point of view, sustainability is very important, and it is, of course, important to think about the signal we send to staff, students, and people outside CBS. We have, as I see it, not been good enough at telling people about all the things we do. For that reason, reporting and communication will be a part of our efforts going forward,” she writes in an email.


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