Almost all the facilities the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has to offer are located on its campus. As a Green Office we aim to create a sustainable campus in the best possible way. We want the buildings and the operations at the VU campus to meet various sustainability requirements. This has to be achieved in areas such as energy, (food) waste, recycling and water.

The Campus portfolio is divided into two specializations: Internal Campus and an External Campus. The Internal Campus coordinator takes upon projects that directly affect the operations of the VU’s stewardship. The External Campus coordinator manages the contact with the third-party entrepreneurs present at the campus such as Sodexo, the Basket, Spar and Doppio.

Within the Campus portfolio we have various projects ligned up in order to achieve a sustainable campus. These projects include:

Join the Pipe is a great initiative that provides water taps to get installed on several places. At these water taps students can refill their water bottles with fresh drinking water instead of having to buy new (plastic) ones every single time. By doing so we encourage the reduction of plastic waste. By refilling your bottle you reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and you save money whilst also sponsoring a clean drinking water project in a developing country.Currently, the VU Vampus has three Join the Pipe water taps which are located at the Green Roof, in the main hall of the central building, in the main hall of the W&N building and at the campus of the VU Sportcenter. Have you spotted one? Let us know by taking a pic and tagging #GOreducePlastic
The Green Office VU supports and encourages to go Meatless (on Mondays). In collaboration with us, the catering of the VU provides us with more veggie options on Mondays. Foregoing meat at least once a day per week has many benefits for the environment, your health and your wallet.
On average, Dutch people throw away approximately 50 kg of food per year. Most of this food can still be consumed. The VU also produces a lot of food waste. On average, 350 kg of swill waste is disposed every week by the catering. Swill includes raw and cooked food, which couldn’t be sold or consumed anymore. This adds up to 4200 kg of food waste every year! Via this project we strive to reduce the amount of food that is being wasted at the VU Campus. How? Stay tuned for more information.
Currently, the VU seperates waste in 25 streams. Unfortunately, plastic isn’t one of them. In 2015 we visited Icova, the company responsible for collecting the waste of the VU. We learned that it is possible for them to collect plastic as a seperate stream, but only if we take care of the seperation correctly. So 2016 we’ll focus on seperating our plastics! During 2016, we would like to raise attention for the seperation of waste. We will teach you how to recycle you waste in the best way possible and which items belong to which stream. An example of how we strive to do this are the WasteLESS Weeks we organized in May 2016 and the Zero Waste Lab we have participated in in April 2017.
Most of the waste we produce comes from packaging. Next to making sure the seperation process of plastics work, we will also try to find ways to reduce the total amount of waste produced. Currently, we are researching the possibilities of downsizing the amount of waste resulting from packaging.
ICT devices are growing in number and volume. Because of a high turnover rate, caused by either physical ageing or technical obsolescence, ICT equipment rather quickly reaches a status of waste. VU Amsterdam is no exception to this. Like in all big organizations, E-waste is a growing problem at our university. Before steps can be taken to tackle this problem, a proper inventory is needed. Currently, our Research portfolio manages this inventory and a thesis topic is made available (click here to consult this).
Paper towels are the least environmental friendly way of drying your hands after you have washed these. The use of disposable paper towels has a large impact on the environment by contributing to deforestation, water pollution and global warming.In 2016, the VU will install two Dyson hand dryers in the MF-building. These hand dryers are the most sustainable solution for drying your hands according to researchers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Unfortunately, most of the toilets on VU Campus aren’t equipped with sockets, which are needed to install the hand dryers. We lobby to get the hand dryers in the new building, which are currently being built at the campus.
Green surroundings are not just nice to look at, but research also indicates that it increased productivity. In the coming years, the VU will introduce more concrete plans to its campus and surroundings. The Boeletuin will dissapear and the size of the Hortus will be reduced. The Green Office VU wants to brighten up the gloomy hallways and the VU Campus by bringing in more green spots.An example of this is the Green Roof, a rooftop garden located at the third floor of the main building. The Green Roof is accessible via the stairs next to the coffee corner at the main entrance. Together with Gyrinus Natans, we manage the maintenance of the Green Roof.
The VU wants to promote environmental friendly modes of transportation, so we will ensure there are enough facilities for cyclists and charging points for electric and hybrid cars/scooters.In 2016, the VU campus will acquire new facilities for bikes. The Green Office VU will review these new bikespots to see whether they are sufficient and to see which improvements can still be made.
By encouraging students and employees to bring their own mug we can save a lot of paper cups. To ensure people will actually bring their own mug, we will try to provide a discount at the cafeteria and/or the vending machines. Apart from the discount the most important factor of this project is the promotion of the Bring Your Own Mug initiative so the students and employees are aware of it.

Do you want to help us to accomplish these projects or do you have another idea? Let us know!

Internal Campus coordinator: lotte@greenofficevu.nl
External Campus coordinator: michelle@greenofficevu.nl