Accepted Materials

What Can Be Recycled

The following items can be accepted in the KU Recycling Single Stream bins:

  • Paper products, including: magazines, newspaper, office paper, mailings and fliers, paperboard and paper bags.
  • Cardboard — Please break down and place next to bin for pick up.
  • Plastics #1-7, with the exception of styrofoam. Even though Styrofoam is often labeled with a #6, KU Recycling cannot accept Styrofoam.
  • Aluminum, tin and steel cans.
  • Glass bottles and jars.

What Cannot Be Recycled:

  • Plastic bags, plastic wraps or films. Even though some of these may have a recycling symbol, KU Recycling cannot accept these items. The bags become tangled up in the sorting machinery, which can cause costly repairs and delays. Plastic bags can be taken separately to your local grocery store, many of which have an avenue for recycling this specific material separately.
  • Disposable coffee cups. Conventional coffee cups, including those used at KU, are made of mixed materials, including an embedded plastic lining for safety. These materials cannot economically be separated during the recycling process.
  • Styrofoam. Styrofoam is made of plastic molecules puffed up with air. Therefore, the amount of recoverable plastic material is very little, making the shipment of Styrofoam to a recycling facility very uneconomical.
  • Food containers coated with food residue. Dirty plastics and other food containers are not desirable. Please empty and rinse your recyclables as best as possible for before depositing in the single stream bin.  

For more information on recycling procedures at KU, check out the video below, or reference our FAQ page for more on commons materials, like electronics, toner, batteries and more.

Electronics Recycling

Campus Electronics Recycling

KU Information Technology provides a way for KU departments to securely and responsibly recycle obsolete, unused or unwanted computers and other electronic equipment. All data is completely removed from computer and thumb drives before disposing of them in an environmentally safe manner. Visit the KU IT website for information on campus electronics recycling.

Home Electronics Recycling

Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability partners with a certified electronics recycling organization each year to hold an e-waste drop-off event open to all Douglas County residents. Additional information is available on the Douglas County Electronics Recycling page.

Where Does It All Go?

After the material is collected, we take it to our West Campus warehouse. There the single stream material is dumped into a 40 yard "rolloff" container where it is shipped to the Hamm material recovery facility (MRF) for further sorting and processing. Cardboard is baled and stored on-site and then sold to Batliner in Kansas City to help offset operating expenses.

We average about 42,000 lbs of material collected every two weeks. That's nearly 600 TONS of material each year that Rock Chalk Recyclers remove from the waste stream!