Recycle Right

Have you noticed our new recycling bins in buildings throughout campus? The Office of Sustainability has rolled out over 100 bins between Marietta and Kennesaw campuses to step up our recycling efforts at the University.

Our old bins collected all of our recycling in one place, which meant that if one recycling stream was contaminated, they all were. This made it difficult to recycle the materials efficiently, and often times they ended up in the landfill.

But our new bins are designed to help sort our recycling into separate streams, keeping it cleaner and easier to recycle. This means that it can be used more efficiently in producing new materials and products.

While the new bins make it easier to recycle, they still depend on you to make sure we divert as much waste as possible from the landfill. If you're not sure if something is recyclable or where it goes, don't worry! Our new Clean River bins have labels to help you out.

Recycle bins across campus brought to you by the Office of Sustainability now have compartments to recylce paper, cardboard, plastics, and metal cans.

And finally, a few locations on campus have larger cardboard recycling bins (which have a cardboard logo on them). These are meant to keep our paper bins from filling up too quickly, and they can be used for cardboard and clean pizza boxes. But they do not include anything that is not cardboard or clean pizza boxes.

We're excited to be rolling out these new recycling bins and hope that they make it easier for everyone to recycle on campus. By working together, we can help divert waste from the landfill and make KSU a more sustainable community.

Recycling Stats

KSU generated over 1,800 tons of waste (3.7 million pounds) over the 2015 school year, an average of 110 pounds per student. Of the waste generated, KSU diverted 49% (915 tons) from the landfill through recycling and composting. 

See below to learn more about KSU’s current waste minimization and waste diversion strategies.

Waste Minimization

  • KSU’s Surplus department collects unused university-owned furniture and office supplies. Staff looking to swap out their desks or chairs for another set are encouraged to check here first. In addition to reducing waste, this also saves money for the department and university by reducing the amount spent on new furniture purchases.
  • The Division of Facilities Services' Procurement Office uses a Just-In-Time inventory and procurement strategy to eliminate unnecessary purchases, which saves money and reduces waste.
  • KSU encourages staff to consider office-sharing arrangements, particularly if both staff work from home or on the opposite campus two or more days per week. This allows KSU to minimize the need for new construction and renovation to house our growing employee base.
  • The Commons and Stingers reduce food waste through small-batch cooking and the Clean Your Plate initiative.

Waste Diversion

  • In 2016, Housing, Residence, Life, Campus Planning and Sustainability, and the CARE Center hosted their first “swap shop” during move-out. During this event, students were encouraged to donate items they no longer needed. These items were distributed via CARE to other students in need and to MUST Ministries. Additionally, they facilitated cardboard recycling during move-in, collecting over 4,500 pounds of cardboard.  
  • In 2016, the Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality partnered with Campus Planning and Sustainability to collect pumpkin waste from the 6th annual Pumpkin Launch. They collected over 900 pounds of smashed pumpkin, which were used to feed chickens at Hickory Grove Farm. 
  • The Commons composts uneaten food from the dining hall. 


KSU’s composting program helps to divert waste from landfills and return nutrients to the soil. Read below to find out how and what to compost on campus.

Learn More

  • Composting is a process that turns food waste and other organic materials into a soil amendment. These materials are broken down by natural decomposers so the minerals and nutrients can be absorbed by plants. 
  • Food Waste is a big issue across the globe and here on campus. The UN Food & Agriculture Organization estimates that 1/3 of all edible food globally is lost or wasted. In 2019, a food waste audit was preformed at the commons and found that enough edible food is left on plates in 1 day to feed a family of four for almost 3 months.

    In 2018, over 35 billion tons of food were sent to landfills in the United States. When food waste and other organic material is buried in landfills it produces methane. Methane is a GHG that is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

    By composting we return nutrients and minerals to the soil to help our plants grow better. Composting also helps prevent the creation of methane.

  • There are compost bins on all the upper floors of the Academic Learning Center.
  • Biodegradable items may breakdown, but don’t always fully decompose in a reasonable amount of time; they can leave behind microplastics in the compost which can be absorbed by plants.
  • Some paper products are coated with a thin layer of plastic or wax that can’t be composted. This is done to keep the paper from getting soggy or to add strength. Coated paper products usually can’t be recycled either. Check to see if your paper product looks glossy or look for a label that says compostable deciding where to put your used paper products.
  • Backyard compost systems can't accept some of the above items. This is because industrial scale composting generates higher temperatures than small scale composting which helps to breakdown more types of materials. If you use a compost company at home, always check what they can accept.