Put waste in its place

It doesn’t take much of an effort to sort waste, but what a difference it can make - to the environment, of course, but also to CERN’s incineration bill.

A variety of containers are provided to allow waste to be sorted before disposal, thereby making recycling easier.

Everyone knows that sorting waste reduces pollution. By recycling or recovering waste materials, we can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in an incinerator or land-fill, while giving the used material a second life. That reduces the consumption of raw materials and natural resources—and of budget resources. CERN pays lower bill: disposing of a tonne of waste by incineration costs 230 Swiss francs, while a tonne of paper only costs 10 francs to dispose of.

The problem is that much of the waste is not properly sorted. "In 2008, out of more than 1600 tonnes of waste we had to incinerate 600 tonnes, which is an enormous figure!" says Martine Auerbach, who is responsible for the waste removal contract, currently held by Transvoirie. At the end of the day, disposal by incineration accounted for 51% of the bill. Had the waste been better sorted, much of it could have been kept out of the incinerator, and recycled at a lower cost.

For this reason, an awareness campaign will be conducted at CERN: "We will put up posters and ensure waste containers are clearly identified," continues Auerbach. The containers are situated at different points around CERN. It may seem confusing at first, as a separate container is allocated to each type of waste: household waste goes in the containers made of gray metal or black plastic; paper and cardboard go into the green plastic containers; metal waste into special steel containers; and glass goes into the bottle banks. Wood should be stacked next to the paper or household waste containers which are situated outside the buildings, while plastic collection bins have been placed next to the entrances to restaurants and cafeterias. For large quantities and for special waste, for example construction rubble or chemicals, special bins are provided on request.

If people are to become more attentive to this issue, they need to clearly see the benefits of recycling. To this end, awareness campaigns will be conducted on CERN’s sites. Did you know, for example, that recycled plastic can be used in the manufacture of piping and floor tiles? Even coffee capsules can be recycled: "The aluminium can be recovered, while the coffee grinds can be processed for composting or as a source of energy for domestic heating. We are therefore looking into ways of collecting the capsules from all the offices." Stay tuned.

 Antoine Cappelle 

To order a waste bin, call 7 7777 or send an e-mail to mailto:fm.support@cern.ch. Full details are available from CERN’s website at the following URL: 


Special Waste

Collection and disposal of conventional rubbish and waste coming from the CERN's site.

Special waste are made of conditioned chemical waste (acid, mixed hydrocarbons, oils, light bulbs, neons, etc...).

The evacuation request of special waste must be carried out via GS-SEM, to the building 262:
GSM: 160370, Dominique.Perez@cern.ch