The K-State Recycling Center is open to persons affiliated with K-State for recycling drop-offs weekdays from 5:00 am Monday until 1:30 pm Friday. The Recycling Center is closed on the weekend.
For a complete list of recyclable items click here.
Each residence hall has a large roll off containers for recyclable material and trash. You can place all of the following in the recycle container: paper products, plastic material No. 1-7, aluminum/tin cans and cardboard. No glass is permitted in the containers. The landfill container takes all nonrecyclable material. There also is a canopy tent where you can place furniture and household and electronic items. Inside each residence hall, there are four large boxes where you can place the following items: clothing, blankets and pillows, nonperishable food items and books.
Living off campus? Drop off your recyclable items at the Recycling Center behind Weber Hall. Bins are accessible weekdays from 5:00 am Monday through 1:30 pm on Friday. Recyclables are not accepted on the weekend.
Food Waste Finds New Use as Compost in K-State Program
Submitted by Pat Melgares
October 27, 2020
Several Kansas State University groups have worked together to find a second use for nearly 50 tons of food each year that would otherwise be headed for a landfill.
They’re mixing food waste from three dining halls on the Manhattan campus with other compostable materials to provide a boost to soil, as well as support some agricultural research projects at the university.
“Specific to agriculture, the benefit of composting this material is that plant nutrients – such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and some micronutrients – are cycled and applied to grow more food, rather than going to the landfill,” said Deann Presley, a professor of agronomy and soil management specialist with K-State Research and Extension.
“Compost adds organic matter to soil, which has many benefits including nutrient cycling (a process of moving nutrients through an environment) and improved water holding capacity, and in particular benefits soils that might have been eroded or degraded.”
In 2019, approximately 96,971 pounds of food was recycled as compost.
“We have been partners in the program for many years,” said Camille Korenek, assistant director of K-State’s Housing and Dining Services.
Korenek said some food waste is collected before it ever reaches consumers -- in this case, K-State students. That includes such items as rinds or peelings from the fruit and vegetable preparation areas.
“We also collect food waste from our serving lines when an item no longer meets our quality standards for serving to customers,” Korenek said. “And prior to COVID-19, our smallest dining center (Van Zile Hall) was collecting post-consumer food waste from students' trays.”
The food is gathered in large barrels lined with biodegradable bags. Twice a week, the barrels – each weighing about 80 to 90 pounds -- are either delivered by the dining center or picked up by the K-State Recycling Center and transported to the agronomy farm north of campus. Some of the food waste also is used as compost in campus greenhouses.
“We use a windrow composting method,” said Presley, noting the process of piling organic matter or biodegradable waste into long rows, a technique that is conducive to producing large volumes of compost. At that scale (more than a half acre), she notes, composting must be approved by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Waste Management, which regulates composting in the state.
K-State recycling coordinator Bill Spiegel has helped steer the program for nine years. He said the project also includes efforts to curb food waste.
“We have tried measures to reduce this by running programs showing students how much food is wasted and encouraging them to take only what you can consume, showing them where the waste goes, and the costs involved,” he said.
“Minimizing food waste is always central to our daily operations,” Korenek added. “Production managers are constantly looking at historical data, traffic flow, the popularity of menu items, weather, campus events and more to predict and respond by making adjustments to what we produce.”
Korenek, who also is an instructor in the Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health program, said those production principles are taught in college classes.
Presley said the project is successful because the groups involved see a direct benefit.
“I love composting and keeping things out of landfills where they take up space and produce powerful greenhouse gases like methane,” she said. “And I have been told by dining center staff that they enjoy diverting food waste from trash cans and garbage disposals because they know the effort that goes into making food. They’d rather see it reused than completely discarded.”
Check out the video below from K-State Housing and Dining depicting K-State’s program to recycle food waste as compost.
K-State is Big 12 winner in Recyclemania 2020
K-State is the Big 12 winner of the 2020 Recyclemania competition, which was held from Feb. 2 – March 28.
This is all part of how we come together and show our support for this great effort. Many thanks go out to the students, faculty, staff and facility custodians who recycle and empty the countless recycle bins. Congratulations on another successful campaign.
Big 12 Conference Diversion
Diversion, percentage pounds
Kansas State University
West Virginia University
Big 12 Conference Per capita
Per capita, percentage pounds
Kansas State University
Iowa State University
Texas Tech University
West Virginia University
K-State's recycling program is among the best. Meet the man behind it.
September 7, 2018
The Recycling Program (PDF) started in 1989 and is coordinated through the Division of Facilities. Grants from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Alcoa, Pepsi, Coca Cola, and City/University funds made it possible to purchase recycling equipment, such as trailers, a side-load collection truck, collection bins, carts, and balers to process the material.
In 1998, the K-State Recycling Committee was formed, comprised of faculty, staff, student and Division of Facilities representatives. The committee's goal is to help expand recycling efforts across the campus and by doing so, create a more environmentally friendly campus, minimize the waste stream and decrease waste management costs.
In 2008, the former Wind Erosion Research building was damaged by a tornado and in 2012 became the new K-State Recycling Center.