Thesis - Volunteer opportunity: Don't be trashy: The waste reduction initiative at the VU


VU Facilitaire Campus Organisatie

How can the VU reduce the amount of (general) waste by 10% in the coming years?

Are you interested in waste reduction and would like to learn more about its implementation on a local level? Do you want your research to have a direct impact and your results to be realised? Do you want to gain experience in sustainability consulting? Then join the Green Action Lab and help VU Amsterdam to improve its waste reduction management!

The campus of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is currently being redesigned. Waste reduction plays an important role in this process, as in 2019 the VU community-produced around 1.229 tons of waste. Let's reduce this enormous amount together! Some measures such as the new tender waste collection/treatment are already in place and the university’s waste management division is looking for more input on how to reach the transformation.


Through the Green Action Lab, you will collaborate with VU’s facility management team and help them by:

-how can we improve recycling behaviour at the university? Does bin design influence people's recycling behavior?

-how to make the process circular? How to connect with similar initiatives around the city?

-how to reduce littering in the university? (behavior, cost-benefit analyses, etc).

-establish sustainability criteria for the tender waste collection/treatment (call for submissions on waste management, i.e., recycling, logistics).

Throughout your assignment, you can tap on the knowledge of VU’s waste management as well as VU’s researchers. Furthermore, through the Green Action Lab, you will have access to a network of sustainability practitioners in Amsterdam and elsewhere, who you can contact for e.g. expert interviews. The intended outcome for the case commissioner is a set of sustainability criteria for the tender waste management on campus.

Depending on your academic background and personal interests, you can choose to focus on physical, behavioural or other aspects.


- You are interested in waste management and

- You are a bachelor/master student at VU Amsterdam for the duration of the appointment

- You can come to VU on a regular basis

- You have good oral and written command of the English language

- You are open towards interdisciplinary collaboration and show a welcoming and tolerant work attitude.

- Desired background: Not specific, it depends on the approach of the student. Marketing and psychology backgrounds are beneficial for a behaviour centred approach.

What are we offering?

By joining the project team, you will gain experience in:

*sustainability consulting experience

*professional & personal skills workshops with certificate for your CV

*flexible desk and a study spot at the Green Office-VU

*peer reviewed publication in “Science for sustainability” open access academic journal (when thesis is graded above 7.5)

*certificate on climate action (SDGs agent)

Duration: From 1 February until 30 June 2023 (flexible)

Working hours: 8 hours per week of practical work, research possible for the rest of the week

Place: VU Amsterdam and remote

Supervision: Green Action Lab & VU FCO

This project contributes to VU’s efforts to become the most sustainable university in the Netherlands and is embedded in its sustainability strategy 2020-2025.

Application process

Are you interested in this position? Apply until 1st February 2023 (THESIS) OR anytime before the end of the academic year 2022-2023 (VOLUNTEER) by filling your information below and the Green Action Lab coordinator will contact you in 2-3 business days.

We are looking forward to receiving our application!

Closed for applications

You cannot apply for this project because it's closed.

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