Challenges megaprojects

Minimizing waste and ensuring optimal sorting behavior at AAU

Megaproject: Simplifying sustainable living

Focus area: Waste


Challenge description:

In 2020, new waste management and sorting will be implemented at AAU. This will directly and indirectly impact everyday life of AAU students and employees. For example, the existing small bins in each office will be removed and new and larger bins at central locations will be phased in. 

The success of this transition relies on both changes in user behavior (students and employees) and a re-alignment with ‘correct’ use of the new waste sorting system. A correct use includes less waste produced as well as proper/optimal sorting in different fractions so that recycling of each clean waste stream, e.g. plastics, paper, etc. can be ensured. Furthermore, it will reduce costs related to waste disposal. Conversely, an incorrect use can upset the sustainable sorting method, minimize recyclable fractions, and increase waste management costs.  

We hope that the different projects will help us gain knowledge on how we can impact/guide students’ and employees’ behaviors towards the correct use of the new waste sorting bin.  

It is essential to state, that the projects will not have an impact on the design of the bin nor the disposal logistics, as these factors have already been decided upon. 

Impacted SDGs:



  1. How should CAS communicate about the correct use of the new waste sorting bin to students and employees and should the communication change over time?  
  2. How can CAS eliminate doubt of doing the “right” thing in order to sorting one’s waste?  
  3. What motivate students and employees to sorting waste and how can we implement it across the faculty “cultures”? 
  4. Is it successful? How much waste is correctly sorted and can be reused? – Does it improve by implementing nudges? 
  5. Does the motivation stick? A time-study of waste sorting at AAU.  
  6. Baseline: What do we have and how can you measure the change?  
  7. How can we minimize consumption behavior in order to reduce waste in the first place?  
  8. How could large entities of waste from AAU, chairs, tables etc. be recycled and reused in the interior of AAU buildings.  
  9. How can digital technology or interaction designs support waste sorting or waste optimization on AAU? 


Challenge proposer:

Maria Trabjerg
Campus service


Jens Bo Holm-Nielsen
Energy technology

Mikael B. Skov 
Computer Science

Ivar Lyhne 

Søsser Brodersen