Recycling efforts at Kansas University have surpassed the national goal to reduce and recycle waste set by the Environmental Protection Agency and are saving KU money, according to KU's environmental ombudsman's office.
KU recycled 29 percent of its waste such as paper, plastics, aluminum, scrap metal, motor oil and laser cartridges exceeding EPA's goal for 1992 to reduce and recycle waste by 25 percent. The goal was announced in 1989. KU's recycling figures are for fiscal year 1992, which ended June 30.
KU's recycling success is proving that less is more. "The university received slightly more in revenues for recyclables than it cost to operate the recycling programs and saved more than $10,000 in landfill costs by recycling in fiscal year 1992," said Shelley Wells, environmental education coordinator at KU.
"KU's success indicates that the `recyclable' part of EPA's goal can be attained," Wells said. Offices throughout the campus worked to attain the goal.
THE DEPARTMENT of Facilities Operations recycles the largest percentage of campus waste, most of which isn't apparent to the campus community, Wells said.
Mike Richardson, facilities operations director, said KU had been recycling waste from landscape work for about 40 years and scrap metal for more than 20 years. The University Garage recycles motor oil, antifreeze, tires and batteries.
Facilities operations also recycles aluminum, using bins in campus buildings to collect aluminum beverage cans. Housekeeping employees regularly empty the bins. Aluminum recycling is expanding with the placement of bins in more buildings, Wells said.
Paper is recycled through a variety of programs. White and greenbar paper is collected through the KU Waste-Not Program from participating campus offices. Newspapers are collected in a "Big Blue" dumpster on campus between Wescoe and Stauffer-Flint halls. The university also is collecting old KU and Lawrence telephone directories for recycling.
KU CONCESSIONS has recycled 1,500 pounds of plastic six-pack rings.
Recently, facilities operations reclaimed 5 tons of Freon from campus air conditioners, automobiles and other refrigeration equipment to reuse in air conditioners. Reclaiming Freon prevents it from being released into the atmosphere and contributing to ozone depletion, Wells said. Reusing Freon saves money that would be required to purchase new Freon.
"Recycling is an important process that allows KU to work toward the goal of minimizing institutional environmental impacts by reducing the amount of material entering the waste stream," Wells explained.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL ombudsman's office has a mission to research and facilitate the development of programs that allow KU to conserve resources, reduce waste and save money, according to Steven P. Hamburg, KU environmental ombudsman and environmental studies program director.
More information is available from the environmental ombudsman's office, 1030 Haworth Hall, 864-3208.