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HEC Paris’ Efforts for Zero-Waste Campus

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Though already considered France’s most environmentally-friendly business school, HEC Paris continues to raise the bar with ongoing recycling & waste reduction initiatives. The business school, just 17km from the center of Paris, kick started plans to have a zero-waste campus in mid-2020. One goal is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Another goal is recycling as much of its food, plastics, bottles, boxes, cigarette butts and paper as possible. On an annual basis, HEC Paris’ 2,000 student residents, 4,000 short-term students, 700 collaborators and hundreds of visitors produce an estimated 514 tons of waste.

Partners in Cleaning Up

Through HEC Paris’ head of Sustainable Development, Christophe Ollé, the school partnered with two experienced businesses to help organize green operations, Derichebourg Multiservices and Tri.O Greenwishes. To date, HEC Paris has implemented a 200m² “green zone” unique in France, designed to sort non-biodegradable from degradable waste. Also, they have installed a cardboard box compressor. Additionally, the school has introduced composting food waste. Both for the staff and the students, a communications and retraining program has been launched. Moreover, the school created two job positions on campus to separate and organize all the waste.

Thus far, HEC Paris can highlight some impressive results, including a 10% drop in non-recyclable waste. Additionally, 300m3 of water was saved and 9 tons of wood have been recycled. Every month, average recycling is the equivalent of 1,728 wine bottles, 2,282 plastic bottles of 75cl and 12,000 cardboard boxes. Finally, over three tons of discarded boxes have been transformed into 12,000 brand-new boxes that have been reintroduced into the market.

Student Evaluations

Six students from Sihem Jouini’s Design & Product Development class have analyzed the school’s recycling efforts. Based on their student experiences, they have recognized loopholes in the system. Subsequently, the group discussed a proposed a set of systemic improvements in autumn last year. The students named their project: “How might we help environmentally-conscious students sort and recycle their household waste in the HEC student residences?”

HEC itself has set clear targets for waste elimination, which include a reduction of 25% of the non-biodegradable waste it produces within a year. Meanwhile, the school’s focus is on increasing the recycling of glass–an area for improvement also highlighted by the students. Moreover, Ollé and his team will be publishing an online guide for students to further transform an already green campus.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.