Waste Management

Have you noticed the recycling bins that the Office of Sustainability has rolled out on both the Marietta and Kennesaw campuses? While you may still see some traditional blue recycling bins, they are more likely to contain unwanted non-recyclable waste, which contaminates the contents and sends them all to the landfill. 

Our separate stream bins are designed to help sort our recycling, making it cleaner and easier to recycle, so it can be used more efficiently in producing new materials and products. Although 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.

Glass Recycling 

glass recycling map


While the inclusion of glass in the regular recycling bins on campus is not suitable, it is important to recognize that glass holds significant value as a recyclable material. It can be effectively repurposed into new bottles, jars and even fiberglass insulation. To contribute to glass recycling efforts, a large purple container is available at 3305 Busbee Dr NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144.


You can find the glass recycling container situated in the front parking lot at the corner closest to the town center park-and-ride lot. Note: when depositing glass items for recycling, there is no requirement to segregate them by color. However, it is essential that the items are completely empty and thoroughly cleaned.

Cardboard Recycling

Several locations on campus are equipped with larger cardboard recycling bins, identifiable by the cardboard logo displayed on them. These bins serve the purpose of preventing our paper bins from filling up too rapidly. They are designated for the disposal of cardboard and clean pizza boxes.

Waste Minimization Programs

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.

  • KSU’s Surplus Department: Collects unused university-owned furniture and office supplies. Staff who wish to exchange their desks or chairs for another set are encouraged to check here first. This not only reduces waste, but also saves money for the Department and University by reducing the amount spent on new furniture purchases.

  • Just-In-Time Procurement: 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.

  • Office Sharing: 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 their growing employee base.

  • Dining Best Practices: The Commons and Stingers reduce food waste through small-batch cooking and the Clean Your Plate initiative.

  • SwapShop:  Since 2016, Housing, Residence, Life, Campus Planning and Sustainability, The Office of Sustainability and the CARE Center host an annual swap shop. During this event, students are encouraged to donate items they no longer need. These items are then 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.  

  • Pumpkin Launch Pumpkin Upcycling: Every year the Office of Sustainability collects pumpkin waste from KSU's annual Pumpkin Launch engineering competition.  Approximately 1,000 pounds of smashed pumpkins are collected and donated as chicken feed to neighboring farms. 

  • Dining Compost: The Commons and Stingers dining halls collect uneaten food from the kitchen and dining hall for composting.

  • Move-in Carboard Recycling: Every year The Office of Sustainability and Housing, Residence Life and volunteers throughout campus collect around 7,000lbs of cardboard for recycling during KSU's days of move-in.
  • re:loom KSU Textile Upcycling: A few years ago,  when KSU transitioned from the Kennesaw Mountain logo, we had thousands of pounds of outdated textiles, including tablecloths, uniforms, t-shirts, and more. Instead of discarding them, we chose to make a positive impact. These materials were donated to a non-profit organization called re:loom, which upcycled them into high-quality Kennesaw-themed merchandise. The proceeds from these unique products go on to support non-profits dedicated to providing housing for homeless women and families. To explore the wonderful creations from re:loom and contribute to this meaningful cause, visit their website here. 



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.

Breakroom Composting Program

The Office of Sustainability's voluntary compost initiative is an effort to divert food waste across both campuses to reduce the University's environmental impact and recycle nutrients back into the soil. Composting buckets have been distributed to registered administrative offices, which collect items such as coffee grounds, fruit peels and leftovers. Composting bins have also been provided to campus locations such as Starbucks and Dunkin’! If you are interested in composting for your office, please email recycle@kennesaw.edu to sign up.

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.

  • Administrative offices throughout campus can participate in The Office of Sustainability's Breakroom Composting Program. Email recycle@kennesaw.edu to sign up.
  • 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.


North Residential Recycling Program

This year marks a significant milestone for our community as we introduce the first-ever recycling program for on-campus housing. As responsible stewards of the environment, we have a collective duty to protect our planet and reduce our ecological footprint. Recycling is a simple yet effective way to conserve resources, reduce waste, and curb pollution. By recycling plastic bottles & jugs (plastics #1 & #2) and metal cans, we can take a significant step towards a greener campus. 

Sign Up for a Recycling Bin or Use Your Own

Getting started is easy; simply log into the Housing Portal, select "Forms" and click on the "Check Out Recycle Bin Form". When your bin is ready to be picked up, we will notify you via email. These bins come equipped with handles, making it easy to transport your recyclables to the North Campus Recycling Center.

Know Your Recycling: Do's and Don'ts 

It's essential to understand what can and cannot be recycled. Here's a quick guide to help you:

The Importance of Sorting

When your recycling bin is full, bring it to the North Campus Recycling Center near UVS 4000. Remember, it's essential to sort your plastic bottles & jugs into the red bins and metal cans into the yellow bins. Keep items loose and not in bags to avoid recycling contamination and ensure proper recycling.

Have Questions or Suggestions? We're Here to Listen!

If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to learn more about the recycling program, feel free to visit the UVS 6000 Housing Office or drop us an email at recycle@kennesaw.edu. Your feedback matters to us, and we're committed to continually improving our recycling efforts.

Water Bottle Rescue Program

water bottle stickers
Have you ever lost a reusable water bottle on campus? We all have. Historically, lost water bottles have ended up in either the landfill or been donated away from campus. Now, water bottles left in Lost and Found for more than 90 days are collected by The Office of Sustainability, sanitized in our dining hall kitchens, and made available for adoption at many of our office's tabling events. Avoid purchasing a disposable water bottle and become the proud parent of a KSU rescued bottle!


Reverse Vending Machines

There are five Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) conveniently located across both campuses. These innovative machines make recycling cans and bottles easier than ever before. Plus, every time you recycle at one of these five machines, 5 cents will be donated to KSU's CARE Services. Join us in making a difference today by supporting students experiencing food insecurity or homelessness. Donate now!

Kennesaw Campus

Academic Learning Center | First Floor

Carmichael Student Center | First Floor

University Village Suites Lobby | Second Floor

Marietta Campus

Wilson Student Center | Second Floor

Hornet Village 100 Lobby | First Floor