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Waste has many definitions and connotations depending upon the context in which the term is referenced, but is recognized here as the thoughtless or careless use of materials and resources.  Waste creates negative economic, environmental, and social impacts, and waste disposal creates economic costs for the University in the form of waste hauling and landfill costs. Increased use of fossil fuels, production of methane gases, and toxic wastes adversely affects the environment and human health. Electronic waste (eWaste) shipped to other countries for treatment has negative impacts on communities abroad. Producing replacement products depletes natural resources. All of these impacts are felt not only locally, but also nationally and globally.


The University of Kansas is dedicated to using our resources wisely. We are committed to reducing waste and its associated negative environmental, social, and economic impacts throughout campus life and operations.


Key achievements in working toward this vision, and the corresponding strategy (in parentheses), include:

  • The new Capital Federal Hall (School of Business) and Learned Engineering Expansion Phase 2 (School of Engineering)  were both designed with multiple water bottle filling stations. DCM has adopted a standard to install water bottle filling stations in all new construction where feasible. (W 1.1.3)
  • Pre- Consumer food waste collection has been expanded to all residential dining halls, including scholarship halls. (W 1.3.4)
  • The Center for Sustainability evaluates dumpsters and implements collection reductions during breaks as well as an annual audit and adjustment to make sure the University is maximizing capacity. (W 1.8.1)
  • KU Recycling moved to a new bin standard as well as creating focused branding for all containers and outreach materials. (W 2.2.1)

Rock Chalk Recycle makes recycling and composting

available at most Athletic events and provides consistent

branding for recycling initiatives at KU. Photo by Lydia Gibson.

  • Rock Chalk Recycle, a partnership between KU Athletics and the Center for Sustainability is now in its third year, with recycling and composting available at Athletic events both on Main campus as well as Rock Chalk Park. (W 2.3.1)
  • KU Recycling conducts tours of their facilities many times throughout the year to visitors from both KU and other community organizations. (W 2.2.2)
  • KU Recycling now provides service to all campus groups who request recycling for an event. (2.3.2)

Coronavirus Update

KU Recycling and KU Surplus have resumed services. As part of our efforts to reduce an on-campus presence and promote social distancing, we will continue to limit special collections that are not mission critical. For updated information on KU's response to COVID-19, visit protect.ku.edu

Sustainability Plan

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KU Bike Plan

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times