We encourage KSU students, staff, and faculty to recycle right at KSU. Read through the list of frequently asked questions below to learn more.
Who manages recycling at KSU?
Recycling and waste management is a collaborative effort at KSU, involving several different departments. Building Services provides and services single-stream (“mixed”) recycling bins for academic areas. Housing, Campus Services (including Dining Services), and the Sports Park provide recycling services for their respective areas. These recyclables are sent to a local material recovery facility (MRF) for processing. The Environmental Health and Safety Department collects and recycles batteries, light bulbs, and printer cartridges. The Surplus Department collects and redistributes pre-owned furniture, leftover paint, and reusable office supplies.
What does KSU recycle?
KSU uses single-stream recycling, which allows many different types of recyclables to be comingled into one bin (thus creating a "single-stream" of recycling for pick-up. Clean paper, flattened cardboard, metal cans (including clean food and drink cans), glass, and plastic bottles (#1-#7) can all be recycled together in the same single-stream recycling bin. While some bins may only list a few recyclable items (i.e. just plastic and cans), all recyclable items can go into the same bin, thanks to our single-stream collection practices. Please take care not to contaminate the recycling with food waste, trash, or grease; this contamination can cause all the recyclables in the bin to be diverted to the landfill.
University Dining also collects food waste for compost, which is then used to grow herbs at Hickory Grove Farm; this is an example of a closed loop system for waste. Through OwlSwap, faculty and students collect pre-owned clothing and redistribute it through the CARE Center and other outlets. The Environmental Health and Safety Department collects and recycles batteries, light bulbs, and printer cartridges. The Surplus Department collects and redistributes pre-owned furniture, leftover paint, and reusable office supplies.
What is KSU’s waste diversion rate?
In fiscal year 2017, KSU had a waste diversion rate of 37%, an 8-point increase from the fiscal year 2016 diversion rate of 29%.
When can I recycle at KSU?
You can recycle every day at KSU! In addition, we special recycling events scheduled throughout the year.
- During student housing move-in, we collect cardboard (typically netting over 5,000 pounds in a single weekend).
- During the Pumpkin Launch, we collect approximately 1,000 pounds of smashed pumpkin and transport this to Hickory Grove Farm to feed the chickens.
- On Game Day, the Sports Park facilitates recycling by distributing recycling bags to fans.
- KSU hosts SwapShop during Move-out and OwlSwap through the year to collect pre-owned clothing and other items.
Where are recycling bins located?
Recycling bins are located inside and outside of academic buildings on both campuses. In 2017, KSU installed 54 outdoor recycling bins on the Marietta campus, 30 of which were provided at no-cost through a grant from Keep America Beautiful.
Where do our recycling materials go?
Recyclables are sent to a local materials recovery facility (MRF). The facility collects co-mingled recyclables and sorts them out, mainly by machine, into batches of paper, plastics, and aluminum. These batches are then sent to manufacturers who use them for creating new products. To learn more about the how recyclables are handled at West Rock, click here. Click here for an overview of single-stream recycling by NPR.
How do I recycle properly?Make sure to place only clean recyclables in the recycling bins. Don’t put food or liquids in the recycling containers, as this will cause contamination. Pizza boxes often can’t be recycled due to grease contamination. Plastic bags, such as grocery and food bags, should not be placed in single-stream recycling bins; however, they can be recycled seperately at many grocery stores.
How do custodial staff distinguish between trash and recycling?
KSU uses color-coded bags to differentiate recycling material from trash. Blue bags denote recycling; clear bags denote trash. During trash and recycling collection, the custodial staff uses one cart with two separate bins, one for trash and one for recycling. At times the custodians may use one single bin to collect both recycling and trash. The color-coded can liners make it easy to place the bags in the correct outdoor containers designated for trash or recycling.
Unfortunately, the custodial staff occasionally comes across a substantial amount of contamination (such as food or drink) within a blue recycling bag. In these instances, the entire bag must be placed in the trash dumpster and cannot be recycled.
Why aren't the recycling labels consistent across campus?
Clearly labeled and strategically placed recycling and trash bins are the cornerstones of a successful waste management program. KSU currently uses a variety of labels to denote recycling. Some bins are marked with a simple triangular recycling sign, while some bins use labels that were designed in-house. In 2017, we applied Recycle Across America labels to newer recycliing bis as well as office recycling bins on Marietta campus.
These labels provide clear communication at the bin and serve as an educational tool. Going forward, labels from Recycle Across America will be our new standard for trash and recycling bins at KSU.
Can I recycle plastic bags on campus?
Plastic bags and plastic film is highly recyclable, if disposed of properly; however, KSU does not recycle plastic bags. Whether you are on campus or off, plastic bags should never be placed in the same bin as single-stream recyclables (paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans). Plastic bags can cause serious damage to the equipment at the materials recovery facility.
We encourage you to bring plastic bags to off-campus recycling sites, such as participating grocery stores, to ensure this doesn't go into the landfill. Additionally, we encourage you to switch to a reusable tote bag for shopping when possible.