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Chemicals and waste management

Image: Malin Grönborg

Avoiding and limiting the spread of dangerous substances and being economical with resources is an important part of sustainable community development. Within Umeå University, over 10,000 different chemicals are used, which all need to be handled safely.

The use of chemicals at the university annually generates approximately 8,000 kilos of hazardous waste. By systematically working towards exchanging hazardous substances to less dangerous ones, for instance by setting requirements on the chemical content of products in procurement and purchase, the negative impact on the environment and human health can be reduced.

Beside hazardous waste, another 350 tonnes of other waste is annually generated at the university. Most of this waste is incinerated, either as sorted out or mixed out solid waste. Another large fraction is electronic waste. Additionally, reusing materials such as furniture, inventory and equipment can increase, especially when renovating and rebuilding.

Follow-up of the targeted goals

Action plan for climate and sustainability contains the university's strategic goals and overall activities for the period 2021-2023. The results of follow-ups for the targeted goal within the focus area of chemicals and waste management, are reported here.

Goal 13. The amount of combustible waste as well as hazardous waste must be reduced

For this goal, we have chosen the indicator "Proportion of recycled, incinerated and hazardous waste". Here is how we are doing:

  • Year 2019: 45% was recycled, 53% was energy recovered and approx. 2% consisted of hazardous waste. 0,06% of the waste was deposited.
  • Year 2021: 46% was recycled, 50% was energy recovered and approx. 4% consisted of hazardous waste. 0,03% of the waste was deposited.
  • Year 2022: 49% was recycled, 49 % was energy recovered and approx. 2% consisted of hazardous waste. 0,1% of the waste was deposited.
  • Year 2023: In total, 303 tons of waste excluding construction and demolition waste were generated. 50% of this material was recycled, 46% was used for energy recovery, approximately 3% consisted of hazardous waste, and 1% of the waste was landfilled.

Read about our activities within this area

Here are examples of activities in the key area of Chemicals and waste management that have been carried out in recent years.

Sustainable development goals

Through activities in the key area Chemicals and waste management, the university contributes to sustainable development goals no. 3: Good health and well-being, no. 8: Decent work and economic growth, no. 12: Responsible consumption and production, no. 13: Climate action, and no. 14: Life below water.
Latest update: 2024-02-12