New waste management

Frequent asked questions

1. Why are individual bins replaced by EcoPoints?

In 2015, an analysis of waste management at EPFL showed that the material and signage of waste containers was very disparate, reflecting the different periods of construction of buildings.
In addition, the campus garbage bins were analyzed to identify their contents.

This analysis revealed:
– a potential for reducing the volume of incinerated waste, such as paper, PET bottles and aluminium cans, was found in waste going to incineration;
recurring sorting errors: such as plastic cups in PET or cardboard cups in paper. These materials are not processed in these streams, so they must be incinerated.

These observations led EPFL to establish a new waste management concept: the EcoPoint. This is a centralized collection point whose objective is to recover recyclable materials and reduce the volume of incinerable waste.

Each EcoPoint will collect, depending on the location, 3 to 5 materials: PET, aluminium, paper, glass, and of course other waste (incinerable). It will now replace individual bins, which will make the work of our cleaning colleagues easier. These EcoPoints will be installed at least on each floor and in transit areas.

The objective is to standardize containers and waste-related signage throughout the site by the end of 2020. EcoPoints will be gradually installed inside and outside buildings. The first will be installed in the MED and Garderie buildings.

2. Is EPFL the first institution to implement such a concept?

No, the replacement of individual waste bins with EcoPoints to optimise waste sorting has already been implemented in several companies and institutions in French-speaking Switzerland, such as Nestlé (Vers chez les Blancs site), the University of Geneva (Batelle site), Swisscom, the Retraites populaires and the RTS.

3. Can I suggest another location for an EcoPoint?

The locations of the EcoPoints have been chosen according to the places of passage and safety constraints (1.20m escape route required in case of fire) and of course, economic constraints. If the location of an EcoPoint seems irrelevant to you, you can discuss it with your building’s caretaker and suggest a better location.
Moreover, “aluminum” containers are not systematic at each EcoPoint, but there is at least one on each floor.

4. Can I keep a garbage can in my office?

Yes, however, it will no longer be emptied by the cleaning service. It will be up to you to empty it at the EcoPoint. In addition, bags will no longer be provided.

5. Can I keep a paper bin in my office?

Yes, however, it will no longer be emptied by the cleaning service. It will be up to you to empty it at the EcoPoint.

6. Where should I take the ink and toner cartridges?

Ink and toner cartridges should be left at your building’s waste disposal centre (level -1), such as cardboard and tea or coffee capsules.

7. Where should I take the coffee or tea capsules?

Coffee or tea capsules should be left at your building’s waste disposal centre (level -1), such as cardboard and ink and toner cartridges. In some buildings, it is possible to set up a container in the cafeteria that will be maintained by the stewardship.

8. Where should I take cardboard?

Cardboard are to be deposited at your building’s waste disposal centre (level -1), such as ink and toner cartridges and tea or coffee capsules.

9. Where should I take all other types of waste?

All other types of waste are to be taken to the Main collection centre (under the Esplanade) except for hazardous waste (chemical or biological).

10. Any other questions or comments?

We welcome your feedback or questions by email to [email protected].