Finding sustainability in the trash

Before I came here I knew that Chalmers strongly values sustainability, but I never expected to find it in the trash. 

I remember having lunch on my first day of class. My friends and I were seated around one of the tables in the outdoor courtyard of the architecture building. It was a beautiful day, clear skies, warm sun. We were all very happy we only had a half day of lectures. After I finished eating, I walked inside to toss my trash. When I arrived at the receptacle, I paused, somewhat confused. I had expected a garbage and recycling bin, but there were seven options! Combustible waste, plastics, metal, paper, colourless and coloured glass, and recyclable packaging! Of course, the labels were all in Swedish so I had to ask somebody to make sure that I used the correct bin. 

After I did so, the shock of the multiple disposals passed and was replaced by quiet pride and pleasure. It may seem like such a small thing- and it is! But that is why at that moment, I knew I was at the right school. If Chalmers makes the effort to organize waste so meticulously, I could only imagine what other ecological solutions it integrates. I later found out that the list of these solutions is long. It includes solar panels, carbon footprint information about all the food options in the restaurants on campus, vegetarian choices, and many more. Not only the school thinks about sustainability, but even the students do. 

As an aspiring architect, I am a strong advocate for the environment. Thus, I became a member of Chalmers Students for Sustainability. It is a Student Union association that promotes environmental thinking. We host awareness events such as dinners and movie nights featuring films about sustainability. We also take initiative in all kinds of sustainable actions. 

The event ,Re:Cycle occurs every year in cooperation with the student housing at Chalmers. We gather all the bikes left behind by students who have moved out and then give them away for free to those who need one! They are often in worn condition, but each one is saved and given a new life. As you can imagine, such events take time to organize but the students here are thrilled to participate.

I have always been conscious of the impact we have on the environment and I am proud to be at a school surrounded by people who share that same passion and are proactive about it. To be honest, I’m not even surprised by it anymore. It’s all part of being a Chalmerist. 

Author: Emma Norden


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Page manager Published: Fri 22 Mar 2019.