Circular economy is a replacement of the previous linear economy which resources are used for production. Products later become waste (Take Make Dispose). The circular economy changes the concept to be production, consumption, and remanufacturing (Make Use Return). This is for sustainable growth based on environmentally-friendly quality of life which is consistent to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations in Target 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. This goal aims to change production, consumption, and effective natural resources consumption, disposition of waste garbage, recycle support with solid waste reduction, and Target 13: Climate Action which help in greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming.
Mahidol University focuses on circular economy which helps with waste reduction. Waste management of Mahidol University starts from consumption, activities, learning by developing knowledge to continuously solve the problems stage-by-stage. Firstly, “Adaptation for Change” in the university starting with waste management in the university brings waste to recycle for reuse purpose. Recyclable waste can be brought to Waste Recycling Bank. Leaf fragments around the university can be made to fertilizer, and organic waste can be made to bio-fermented water. Next, sharing “Knowledge” to society is to pass on knowledge to interested people, to build connection in waste management from household level to provincial level. After that would be upcycling which brings recycled waste to be processed creating new products.
Moreover, the “Sufficiency Model” project under the concept of sufficiency economy philosophy is adapted with university concept. It is displayed through an exhibition located at Environment Conservation Building, Mahidol University, Salaya Campus.
Waste Recycling Bank established in 2009. This campaign is to encourage divisions, students, and staff to change their mindset of waste and behavioral change to start sorting and bringing waste to the Waste Recycling Bank. The Waste Recycling Bank is similar to commercial bank where you can deposit and withdraw cash. The difference is we deposit recyclable waste and withdraw them in cash. There is a software to collect member’s data which is reliable and verifiable.
Everyone can be a member of Waste Recycling Bank. The process of application is easy using only an application form with an identification card. After the date recorded on the system, a bank book will be given. Members can sell their sorted waste and withdraw in cash or deposit with the bank. The purchase price of recyclable waste is clearly announced and adjusted every three months based on the market price.
The project was from 2009-2021. There are more than 2,000 members who have applied for the project and 5,000 general members who have a total amount of recycled waste of more than 2,000 tons, representing a total purchase of recycled waste of more than 11 million baht, with a profit of 10% from sales. Recycled waste will be deposited into the environmental conservation fund. Mahidol University
The project has been running over 10 years. This is to bring recyclable waste of more than 2,000 tons for reuse purpose which separates recyclable waste from others. This also helps governmental waste management.
Production of fertilizer from plant waste starting from 2008 by reusing leaf fragments from divisions and common areas of the university to recycle, reduce combustion, and reduce cost of environmental maintenance, leading to the production of fertilizer from plant waste with aeration pile system.
Production of fertilizer from plant waste with aeration pile system starts from crushing the scraps of twigs, leaves and then bringing them to the composting process which takes one month to get complete fertilizer. After brought out to dry in the sun, it is brought back to grinding process once again. Then, leave them for micro-organisms stability for three days, and then they can be used or sold. A sample of fertilizer will be sent for testing which needs to meet the standards of the Department of Agriculture. Throughout the activity period from 2008-2020, Can produce more than 300 tons of compost, worth 1.8 million baht.
The production of “bio-fermented water” began in 2009 at the Environmental Conservation Building in cooperation with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to support tools and knowledge in the production of bio-fermented water, to encourage division, students, and staff to sort organic waste from food leftover. This is to reduce general waste contamination and bring sorting organic waste to be reused. Those organic waste is fermented with molasses and used for wastewater treatment, to eliminate odor from solid waste, and to restore the waste land by using micro-organisms to accelerate the decomposition of organic matter in the soil to keep it in good condition.
Currently, there has been a change in the production of bio-fermented water due to the obstacles in food waste transportation and fermentation. Therefore, food scraps are sold to farmers to feed animals such as pigs or fish. Income from the auction goes to Environment Fund, Mahidol University. The production of bio-fermented water is the combination of pure EM (Effective Microorganisms) Mixed with molasses and fermented for three days to get bio-fermented juice. which can receive free biological fermentation On official days and times, five liters per person per day, and if exceeding the limit will be charged at the rate of five baht per liter which its income goes to Environment Fund, Mahidol University.
The university has a concept of sharing knowledge and experience from activities to the community to enhance quality of life and environmental development. The pilot program brings knowledge in the establishment and management of recycling waste banks to schools surrounding the university along with demonstrations and guidance on project implementation as well as cooperation in order to achieve practical and sustainable results in the project implementation. The goals are to enhance knowledge and understanding among students/teachers and parents who participated in the reduction of waste and generate income from waste that has been sorted in order to improve the quality of life, to build a low-carbon community, to promote community engagement starting from school, family, and society under the project “Eco Town – Mahidol Sustainable University”.
On the 26th of July 2018, Acting of Associate Professor Kitikorn Charmondusit, Vice President for Environment and Sustainable Development, and Ms. Warawam Thippavanich, Assistant Managing Director of PTT Global Chemical PCL attended the opening ceremony of “GC Think Cycle Bank” which were in cooperation between Mahidol University and PTT Global Chemical PCL to extend the project to promote establishment of Waste Recycling Bank, to turn waste into economic value with an online system to solve the problem of waste at the source, cultivating awareness of waste sorting and reusing according to the circular economy principles, and build a waste management network from household level to provincial level by launching 12 pilot schools along with the communities in Rayong to operate Waste Recycling Bank which is the government policy in solid waste and hazardous waste management. All sectors must cooperate in making a clear and concrete practice guideline at PTT Global Chemical PCL, Rayong Branch, Rayong Province.
On the 29th of May 2019, Mahidol University and PTT Global Chemical PCL cooperated in Think Cycle Bank project training. This campaign was for youths to be aware of the waste problem in the community and had knowledge and understanding of the waste management process, waste collection, waste sorting and waste recycling in order to use it for maximum benefit. This was an opportunity for youths to participate in waste management of their communities, and earn income from waste recycling by selling it to Waste Recycling Bank. There were 10 schools interested in participating at Hat Saeng Chan Seafood Restaurant, Muang District, Rayong Province.
Throughout the period of the past project implementation, there are 22 schools in Rayong province participating, and Mahidol University has also conducted a field visit to solve problems for those schools. In 2020, the Think Cycle Bank project achieved results in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Target 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. This is an activity or program that promotes equal employment or reasonable compensation, unemployment reduction, suitable working environment, and economic growth promotion. and Target 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. This is an activity or project on efficient resource usage, waste management, and selecting environmental-friendly products.
Sharing knowledge to society through webinars from two model organizations in circular
economy, such as Mahidol University and PTT Global Chemical PCL named “GC x Mahidol
Webinar: Circular Economy & Sustainability for Higher Education”. On the 9th of June
2021, there were presentation in the concept of circular economy, production technology
development, optimizing resource utilization, recycling for sustainable growth based on
environmentally-friendly quality of life which has been honored by both domestic and
international speakers as follows:
1. Professor Banchong Mahaisavariya, President of Mahidol University lecturing in the topic of “Drive Commitment in Circular Economy of Mahidol University”
2. Dr. Chaya Chandavasu, PTT Global Chemical PCL lecturing in the topic of “Circular economy & Collaboration: Adaptability and Opportunity in Resilience Development”
3. Ms. Mari Nishimura, UNEP lecturing in the topic of “Behavior Change on Campus”
4. Associate Professor Kitikorn Charmondusit, Vice President for Environment and Sustainable Development lecturing in the topic of “Drive in Sustainability and Circular Economy of Mahidol University”
These webinars are “Collaboration in YOUTURN Platform by GC in Mahidol University” represented by PTT Global Chemical PCL joint with current students and alumni of Mahidol University. This activity is presented in online oral presentation via Webex Events and Facebook live on Mahidol University Sustainability channel. There were 261 viewers who was inspired to share knowledge and apply the knowledge in everyday life. Therefore, this is a beginning of a small step to the continuous sustainable development.
Bringing recycled waste into the production process can turn into new products
through the “We turn” which is an activity that Mahidol University, in cooperation
with PTT Global Chemical PCL, turns clear plastic bottles into polo shirts. All
income after deduction of expenses is donated to Golden Jubilee Medical Center,
Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University.
The university has set a goal of clear plastic bottles donation at 8,000 pieces to
produce 400 polo shirts to sell on "Mahidol Day" on September 24, 2021. It is the
first time that Circular Living activities organized between higher education
institutions and the private sector to promote plastic waste recycling to make use
of resources more efficiently, to stimulate a circular economy, to reduce global
warming, and to help fellow human beings who are infected with COVID-19 at the same
time. Mahidol University installed donation boxes in five locations to accept
plastic bottle donations from students, staff and public between 1-30 June 2021. The
amount of plastic bottle donations exceeded the target with cooperation of everyone
in sorting waste and bringing plastic bottles to donate. On July 2, 2021, a total of
19,500 clear plastic bottles were delivered to PTT Global Chemical PCL to use in the
factory for cleaning and shredding into plastic scraps to produce threads for fabric
weaving which would be completed as polo shirts. They were available for sale on
Mahidol Day, September 24, 2021.
Throughout the project period, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Target 12: Responsible Consumption and Production have been implemented. This is an activity or project on resource utilization and waste management. It also encourages recycling; and Targe 13: Climate Action is an activity or project to combat climate change that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming.
Mahidol University has a policy to promote Eco University to support sustainable development. There is a project in sustainable development to drive Mahidol University to sustainable development in accordance with the strategic management for sustainability. In 2020-2023, Division of Physical Systems and Environment implemented a sufficiency model to achieve strategic achievement in order to share knowledge in the form of an exhibition located at Environment Conservation Building, Mahidol University. This is to apply the concept of sufficiency economy philosophy to the context of the university.
The surrounding buildings will be demonstration areas in fertilization, Waste Recycling Bank, vegetable farm, turbines energy, and etc. These are linked to the principle of sufficiency economy philosophy.
Exhibition Halls are divided into three Zone:
Zone 1: Sufficiency telling stories in the concept of sufficiency economy philosophy and farm models.
Zone 2: Rationale telling stories in applying the concept of sufficiency economy philosophy to drive sustainable university (SDGs in Campus) through video media, such as water management, clean energy, and green areas management.
Zone 3: Immunity is to build knowledge, understanding and cultivating knowledge for students through interactive media which are easy in learning, such as waste sorting and 5R including being a showcase area or products from other divisions.
The university has allocated a budget of 2.1 million baht for the project on a 120-day implementation. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, and would be open for visitors in the beginning of 2022. The success in this project is the application in knowledge of the concept of sufficiency economy philosophy to the context of the university which the target audience are students, staff, and public. They would gain a greater understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Target 4: Quality Education which is an activity or project that promotes education, provides knowledge/training to outsiders, teaching facilities services; and Target 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities which are activities or projects that promote natural heritage, monuments or landscapes, exhibition, local art, and museum.