”Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” high on the agenda of Frederick University

”Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” high on the agenda of Frederick University

Frederick University has implemented a policy for sustainable waste management having recognized its significance to the environment and public health.

Frederick has implemented the policy for “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” trying to reduce the volume of garbage it produces.

It also seeks the cooperation, involvement and collaboration of other bodies to promote the principle of reuse.

Chrysanthi Katzi, assistant professor and researcher at the School of Education (Primary Education Department) in an interview with CNA pointed out that the University has limited the use of printed materials addressed to students, professors and staff and the communication is done via emails.

She said that all application forms and other material are available in electronic form on the internet while at the same time the University is trying to drastically reduce printing invitations, notices, announcements etc.

According to Dr. Kadji recycling bins for paper, PMD and batteries have been placed at the premises of the University, while at the same time all empty cartridges from printers and photocopiers are been collected and reused.

Asked whether these practices lead to the reduction of operating costs for the University, Dr. Katzi noted that certainly through the adoption of environmentally friendly practices such as recycling, the University enjoys some economic benefits.

“Access to data in electronic format reduces costs from reduced printing, but mainly increases the productivity of the staff at the University, since they can have immediate and simultaneous access to information”, she says.

According to Dr. Katzi, the staff has welcomed these practices and policies as they improve the image of the University and promote a positive atmosphere leading to increased productivity.

To promote environmental awareness and sustainable development the University has incorporated in undergraduate programs, courses on the environment and sustainable development.

Similarly the curriculum of the School of Architecture includes bio-climatic design courses, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences offers a degree specifically in Sustainable Built Environment and Business Administration degree offers a course on Environmental Economics.

Dr. Kadji told CNA that environmental awareness and sustainable development are also promoted through partnerships with NGOs (eg AKTH, Green Dot) and through participation in various events.

“We believe that an academic institution has a very important role to play in informing and educating society on issues related to the environment. This is our main objective and thus we participate in several programs”, she added.

“Through our undergraduate and graduate programs mostly students have the opportunity to do business and cooperate with governmental and non-governmental bodies to take social action on sustainable development issues. The university cooperates with NGOs and Cyprus government through voluntary actions,”said Dr. Kadji.

Students of the School of Education every year participate as volunteers in campaigns run by Green Dot. Students are also involved in environmental events organized by local authorities (Municipalities of Lakatamia, Aglantzia and Latsia).

“At the same time, students who are preparing their graduate thesis are choosing to do research on production and consumption issues, waste management, social corporate responsibility of organizations and their importance in education,” says Dr. Kadji.

A very successful program run by the University is the one titled “I am a t-shirt bag”. Students from the Department of Fashion Design and volunteers from various departments participate in this campaign and are trying to promote the principle of reuse, making bags from old shirts.

The program aims to contribute to the development of environmental responsibility and consciousness through the involvement of individuals, families and other groups.
The University also launches programs for the construction of various products from recycled materials.

Equally important is the action taken by the Environment Group of the University which gives its members (students, academic and administrative staff) the opportunity to learn, to love and respect the natural environment of Cyprus.

Dr. Kadji also told CNA that the Nature Conservation Unit at Frederick University focuses on management and conservation of natural resources, biodiversity conservation and environmental education and training.

“In particular the Unit specializes in the study, monitoring and maintaining the Cyprus flora and fauna with emphasis on endemic, rare and endangered species, conservation and management of Cypriot habitat management areas with special ecological importance and growing environmental culture in Cyprus. The Unit is the only structured one on the entire academic system in Cyprus, specializing in biodiversity conservation, ” she pointed out.

Replying to a question about major flaws in implementing the strategy for recycle, reuse and reduce of waste. Dr. Kadji says that the weakness lies in prioritizing solutions in the consciousness of the consumer.

“In an effort to boost the recycling process, the campaigns that were done in the past managed to pass on the conscience of the world recycling as the solution to the problem of waste. Recycling saves energy and natural resources, but this does not mean the complete recovery of waste or the limitation of environmental impact, ” she says.

She added that unfortunately, this emphasis has put recycle at the beginning of the chain when it should be at the end of our list.

“Before recycling there is much more we should do, such as reusing and reducing our waste, the society needs to become more alert to such practices,” says Dr. Kadji.

Asked about the role of academia and education in general in shaping environmental awareness, she emphasizes that the universities in particular play a multidimensional role and have a major responsibility in shaping environmental awareness and achieving a sustainable society.

“Our University, as mentioned above, has succeeded to incorporate all dimensions of sustainable development (environment, economy and society) in the curricula, both increasing the awareness of students on these issues and on the other, forming professionals capable to implement rational management strategies and environmental protection policies and to promote the principles of sustainable development, “she says.

Asked why Cyprus has failed to reach European levels in recycling and in respecting the environment in general and whether this is due to a lack of culture and infrastructure, she said that both of these factors are important for the manifestation of environmentally sound and sustainable behavior.

“Infrastructure and institutions give incentives to the public and help the adoption of sustainable habits and behaviors (eg participation in recycling, sustainable consumption, etc.). Education raises awareness and conveys attitudes and values which are intrinsic motivation for sustainable habits and behaviors, “she says.

According to Dr. Kadji usually the policy followed with respect to public awareness and the adoption of the desired behaviors, is the simultaneous investment in institutions and infrastructure, but also in education.

She said that institutions, education and infrastructure, together, create the culture, pointing out that other EU countries began combining these three factors long ago and thus the behavior of their citizens is now defined by the inner incentives that are embedded in their consciousness.

“This is the` culture` we seek. The reason why this culture is not observed in Cyprus, is because we decided just recently to go through the process which other European countries had gone through in the past decades. Environmental education, despite significant initiatives that have been taken in the past, only recently officially became part of our education policy and university curricula, “she says.

Dr. Kadji also notes that institutions and infrastructure to support the pro-environmental behavior and sustainable civic only recently were developed in a more organized and wide scale.

“The progress made is significant and I think we can look forward to even better results. The culture cultivation takes time to be formed and to become a way of life. The fact is that we are heading in the right direction, “she says.



** The interview is in the context of the project Rethink: Reduce- Reuse – Recycle which is funded by the EU programme LIFE+ (project code: LIFE13 INF/CY/000910) of the EU. Coordinating Beneficiary: CyBC. Partners: Green Dot Cyprus, Department of Environment, Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, CNA, Fost Plus Belgium **