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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.


Goal 1:  Reduce the amount and impact of waste sent to the landfill

Objective 1.1:  Establish programs and policies that support reduction of waste at the source

The first step in reducing waste is to minimize purchases that will generate waste.

Strategy 1.1.1:  Use recycling and waste audits to identify waste that could be reduced at the source (unused printed materials, packaging, disposable products that could be replaced)

Strategy 1.1.2:  Improve and promote incentives for the use of reusable cups/mugs, to-go containers, and shopping bags at campus dining and retail centers

Strategy 1.1.3:  Expand availability of water bottle filling stations and drinking fountain taps

Strategy 1.1.4:  Evaluate the Newspaper Readership Program to better align newspaper distribution with readership


Objective 1.2:  Reduce the amount of recyclable materials sent to the landfill

A significant percentage of our waste stream can be captured and recycled locally reducing energy consumption, air and water pollution, and resource use associated with production of new materials.

Strategy 1.2.1:  Move to a "centralized waste collection system", with each office desk having a recycling container and small landfill bin, both to be emptied by the occupant

Strategy 1.2.2:  Provide a 1:1 ratio of recycling bins to trash bins

Strategy 1.2.3:  Expand capacity of cardboard recycling for large generators across campus.           

Strategy 1.2.4:  Establish standards for recycling stations and storage for new construction and redevelopment (see BE 1)

Strategy 1.2.5:  Develop streamlined options for recycling and waste reduction at university sponsored events.


Objective 1.3:  Reduce the amount of compostable waste sent to the landfill                

Composting food and yard waste, as well as compostable products such as paper towels and food containers, can reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill and provide a valuable soil amendment for campus landscaping.

Strategy 1.3.1:  Compost 100% of landscape waste                                                   

Strategy 1.3.2:  Develop programs to distribute surplus edible food to local charity organizations

Strategy 1.3.3:  Expand composting and other food waste diversion programs to include other dining venues, catering, and University sponsored events

Strategy 1.3.4:  Expand composting to all athletics venues


Objective 1.4:  Reduce the amount of usable furniture and equipment sent to the landfill (See P 1.2 and subsequent strategies)

Using products for as long as possible will reduce the amount of waste generated.

Strategy 1.4.1:  Partner with campus and community organizations to collect and redistribute items left behind by students during move-out


Objective 1.5:  Reduce the volume of construction waste sent to the landfill     

Recycling and reusing building materials and their associated waste can reduce disposal costs and create revenue for building projects.

Strategy 1.5.1:  Establish building design standards for recovery of reusable materials (see BE 1.1.2)

Strategy 1.5.2:  Analyze possibilities for waste diversion as part of the construction planning process

Strategy 1.5.3:  Increase deconstruction before demolition to allow time and resources for diversion and material recovery

Strategy 1.5.4:  Increase recycling and reuse of metals and other construction materials      


Objective 1.6:  Increase proper disposal of electronic waste       

Improper handling of electronic waste can result in negative environmental and social impacts, and can involve privacy and security risks. 

Strategy 1.6.1:  Provide e-waste recycling information with every electronic purchase

Strategy 1.6.2:  Require information from campus e-waste vendors stating how the equipment is being handled to ensure that electronic waste from KU is not contributing to the water, air and ground pollution of the world’s poorest regions.

Strategy 1.6.3:  Collaborate with City of Lawrence’s existing e-waste collections to encourage student participation 


Objective 1.7:  Reduce the negative impacts of toxic and hazardous wastes

Changing practices in campus operations and research efforts and ensuring proper disposal can reduce the environmental impacts of chemicals and material used.

Strategy 1.7.1:  Consider adoption of a “green lab” program to reduce the amount and toxicity of chemicals used in educational and research labs

Strategy 1.7.2:  Enhance the chemical reuse program by sharing the chemical inventory online


Objective 1.8:  Minimize the frequency of solid waste collections

Emptying "less than full" dumpsters creates unnecessary cost and environmental impacts of collection vehicles.

Strategy 1.8.1:  Coordinate trash collections with activity (reduce schedule during breaks, summer session)   

Strategy 1.8.2:  Use dumpsters sized for a weekly pick up where possible


Goal 2:  Create a campus environment that fosters waste diversion and recycling    

Objective 2.1:  Increase overall education and community engagement in waste related issues

Educating faculty, staff and students about all campus sustainability related issues is vital to increasing sustainability-literacy and, in turn, becoming a more sustainable university

Strategy 2.1.1:  Increase signage and informational displays about recycling and waste

Strategy 2.1.2:  Use university media and social networks to inform and educate the campus community

Strategy 2.1.3:  Provide targeted information to schools, departments, staff and faculty


Objective 2.2:  Increase visibility and awareness of current recycling facilities

Increased visibility and awareness of recycling facilities will create an environment that encourages recycling.

Strategy 2.2.1:  Create consistency in the appearance of recycling containers

Strategy 2.2.2:  Provide warehouse tours to members of the campus and the community

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

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