Living Lab: Zero Waste

The university wants to be zero waste by 2030. To accelerate this transition, a zero waste programme has been installed. A fundamental part of the programme is experimenting and learning together, which is why UULabs is working together with the zero waste programme to facilitate this. In this lab, the programme mainly works with student-led research to help gain insights on how to become zero waste quickly, efficiently and inclusively.

To measure the performance, the university uses the R-ladder as a reference. The university currently expects to be zero waste in the sense that the produced waste will no longer be incinerated or go to the landfill.

In the zero waste lab, an adequate sorting system that is intuitive, easy to use, pragmatic, and meets the circular economy criteria is being researched. Two focal points in the research are: the reduction of consumption and therefore waste; and the transition towards a circular economy that reduces waste to the extent possible. 

How it started

Zero Waste programme manager Evi Aangenendt reached out to UULabs to explore the possibilities of transdisciplinary collaboration, particularly with students as part of their courses. UULabs places questions from the zero waste programme into UU student courses and or internship programmes.


The zero waste programme acts as the motivator for the University and helps with moving its consumption habits higher up the R-ladder, with the hope to speed up the transition from a linear economy to a circular economy. The Zero Waste Lab aims to contribute to this goal by researching how the transition can accelerate, become more efficient and be comprehensive to strive towards full circularity as much as possible.

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To see which other UULabs living labs there are, view the campus map.