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Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2011

KU surplus property recycling program donates 10,000th item to nonprofits

December 22, 2011

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In a 3,500-square-foot section of a warehouse on Kansas University’s West Campus is what Sam Pepple calls the equivalent of grandma’s basement.

Rows of office chairs, tables, filing cabinets and shelves fill the space, as well as more unusual finds, such as a doctor’s examination table.

The warehouse is the heart of KU’s surplus property recycling program, which collects unwanted office furniture and equipment free of charge from departments across campus. Those items are then stored at the warehouse where other departments or area nonprofits can use them.

“Things get shifted around, sort of like grandma’s basement,” Pepple said.

This week, the program donated its 10,000th item to nonprofits. The item was part of a truckload headed to Lawrence Habitat for Humanity ReStore that included file cabinets, office chairs, desks and frames.

Sam Pepple, left, helps Byron James of Lawrence Habitat ReStore load a base cabinet Tuesday afternoon. KU's surplus program has delivered its 10,000th item to charity while helping to clear out old office furniture from various departments on campus.

Sam Pepple, left, helps Byron James of Lawrence Habitat ReStore load a base cabinet Tuesday afternoon. KU's surplus program has delivered its 10,000th item to charity while helping to clear out old office furniture from various departments on campus.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Byron James, who works at ReStore and stops by the warehouse about twice a month. The items he collects are sold at the store, which gives the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.

Using the warehouse

Any organization that is classified as a nonprofit by the Internal Revenue Service can take advantage of KU’s surplus property recycling program.

At the warehouse, 1851 Westbrooke St., store hours are 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, or you can schedule an appointment by calling 393-4256.

Available items can be viewed online at recycle.ku.edu/surplus/items.shtml.

The 10,000 mark is a significant one when the alternative is considered.

“If we weren’t here doing this, it would be thrown away. It would be in a landfill,” Pepple said.

The program has been around for more than four years and is under the management of KU’s environmental stewardship program. Pepple, who is aided by a group of student workers, collects reusable office furniture and equipment from campus departments at no charge.

Other departments on campus have the first option of reusing those items. Just recently high-end Herman Miller office furniture made its way from the provost’s office to the Life Span Institute.

“It gives them a little more credibility,” program coordinator for the environmental stewardship program Aileen Dingus said of the effect the department’s furniture upgrade will have on visitors.

The surplus furniture becomes available as departments at KU remodel, move more people into smaller spaces or purchase new furniture. If the items aren’t gone in two weeks, the items are available to local nonprofits.

On a recent chilly day, Pepple had already collected brown sitting chairs from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Health Care Access stopped by to pick up office chairs, Cottonwood Inc. procured tables, and the Ballard Center took cubical dividers and a desk for a new office.

And then James drove off with a truck full of “new” merchandise.

“It’s great for us,” James said.

Comments

FlintlockRifle 2 years, 3 months ago

Way to go Byron, just hide it someplace in the store so my wife can't find it, running out of rooms to put ""Stuff""

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Jane 2 years, 3 months ago

Awesome program @ KU. Sam is great, and his crews are great kids! What can't be used, like beat up metal filing cabinets, are scrapped and recycled through the metals recycling that KU does. It is more than awesome that these materials are reused or melted down and recreated.

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George_Braziller 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm glad KU finally wised up and got a recycling program in place. At one time surplus equipment and fixtures were REQUIRED to go into the trash.

When I was in college in the early '80s I worked at one of the museums and there was a metal letter file in the trash I wanted for my desk at home. I was informed that KU policy prohibited it. Couldn't go to another department, couldn't be sold or given away, had to go in the trash.

One time I rode my bike out to the old KU dump near where the Lied Center is now was appalled at the waste I saw. Chairs, desks, photocopiers, filing cabinets, anything you could imagine dumped into neat piles.

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Keith 2 years, 3 months ago

Is Sam the guy that used to run Everything But Ice?

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irvan moore 2 years, 3 months ago

nice picture of Byron,, great guy

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