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History of Recycling at WKU

Today, the process of recycling at WKU is a result of years of trial and error- and we are still a work in progress! In April of 2011, WKU transitioned to “single stream” recycling. This means that the most common recycled items” paper, plastic, aluminum, and small pieces of cardboard can all be placed into one recycling bin. We continue to separate out larger pieces of cardboard out and compact it at one of 3 cardboard compactors on campus. Recycling is collected in multiple locations including: Residence Hall lobbies, desk side recycling bins in offices, exterior “Victor Stanley” containers, game day/special event containers, community bins and finally the exterior building containers. 1 full time employee dedicated to collecting all of this recycling and taking it to a compactor off-site. Since 2011, recycling and surplus operations merged and are now 1 department. The added responsibilities of surplus means were are responsible for much more while utilizing existing staff.

Here is a timeline of our program

  • Pre 2008- the Department of Facilities Management and Environment, Health, and Safety report on recycled commodities that are required by law such as bulbs, paints, batteries, oil, and refrigerant. Cardboard and metal are also recycled non-routinely as they generate small revenue. The state required this reporting by law.
  • The program was managed by 1 recycling coordinator that started as a student position in 2007
  • Between 2008 and 2009, recycling began to be implemented across campus into the academic buildings and was sorted into the separate commodities (only certain types of paper and 1 and 2 plastic bottles were recycled as well as cans and small cardboard).
  • Fall of 2009 plastic bottles (#1 and #2 only are recycled in the residence halls)
  • In 2009 the recycling coordinator became a full time position and the recycling program is managed by the grounds grew via a recycling coordinator and student workers.
  • In 2009, $30,000 is invested into purchasing new recycling containers for the university
  • By 2010, recycling is available in all buildings at some level.
  •  In 2011, recycling operations were transferred under the Office of Sustainability. Total staffing now includes 1 full time employee dedicated to picking up recycling with aid from student workers and 1 Recycling Coordinator.
  • In April of 2011, recycling expands as “single stream” recycling is introduced.
  • Fall of 2011 recycling and surplus operations were merged together while under the Office of Sustainability.
  • Staffing added to account for surplus bringing the total full time employees to 3 (1 for recycling pick ups, 1 for surplus pick ups, 1 coordinator) supplemented by student workers.
  • Surplus operations expand scope of department to include computer donations (and computer sanitations), furniture donations, all surplus pick ups and deliveries on campus, vehicle sales, building liquidations, and inventory control.
  • In Fall of 2012 all recycling and surplus operations were moved back under campus services (within Facilities Management) and remain that way today.

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 Last Modified 12/5/18