Continuing in its efforts to push the frontiers of ecological consciousness in the Gulf region, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) has made the iconic interlocking green arrows of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle a key building block in all of its sustainability-related ventures.
“We don’t just want to think about recycling,” said Clare Wait, director of the Facilities Management department at SFS-Q. “We want to reduce what we use in the first place.”
One of the comprehensive ways in which SFS-Q is effecting this sea change in attitudes towards sustainability is through a plastic recycling program in partnership with the financial institution HSBC. “As our corporate partner, HSBC will provide reusable water bottles and help to fund the purchase of plastic recycling bins for use throughout the facilities of Georgetown University SFS-Q.”
In addition to the expansion of SFS-Q’s recycling program toward the inclusion of plastics, the university will host QF’s pilot program for composting in Education City. With the purchase of the A900 Rocket, a 2 m long metal cylinder capable of handling up to 1750 liters of food at a time, SFS-Q will be able to process up to 5260 liters of organic waste products per week, greatly reducing its output of material destined for Qatar’s landfills.
“The three R’s we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, with their trademark curved arrows, have been joined by a fourth R,” explained Clare Wait. “Recover. We want to build awareness amongst our constituents that it is possible to recover materials from landfills. Part of this awareness comes from composting, recycling and reducing to begin with.”
The proposed A900 composting unit can transform meat, fish, vegetable, garden and animal waste into rich mulch for use in growing food and other crops. This joint QF-SFS-Q composting pilot project was proposed in response to the significant quantities of food waste produced in the catering facilities of Education City. It is designed to generate recommendations for a long-term organic waste management strategy through an official post-trial report.
The symbiotic relationship between used horse bedding provided by Al Shaqab stables in Education City, the funding and interest of Qatar Foundation, and user-generated knowledge from SFS-Q’s participation in the program will allow for the transfer of the benefits of this composting initiative to all member institutions of Education City.
Beyond on-campus projects, SFS-Q is heavily invested in extending its sustainability-related best practices to its dedicated accommodations. This process has already begun with a paper recycling program for Education City Community Housing compounds, initiated by Katrin Scholz-Barth, president of Sustainable Qatar, and subsequently supported by Georgetown University SFS-Q.
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