Environmental Stewardship Program
About the Environmental Stewardship Program
The Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) is responsible for assisting the University of Kansas and campus living groups with developing and implementing integrated waste reduction efforts and environmental awareness and improvement programs. As a service department, we strive to make a positive impact on campus through our service performance and our efforts to encourage waste reduction and recycling.
ESP currently employs 23 students that serve as Recycling Technicians, 1 full-time Program Manager, 1 full-time Program Coordinator and 2 full-time University Support Staff.
Recycling Technicians currently collect office paper, newspaper, cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, and #1 PET, #2 HDPE and #3 - #7 plastic bottles and tubs from academic and administrative buildings, KU Dining Services locations, and on-campus Student Housing facilities. Recyclable materials are transported to our central accumulation site on west campus, sorted and baled. Baled and loose recyclables are loaded on a semi-truck tractor trailer that is reset as needed by our contractor Batliner Paper Stock Co. of Kansas City.
ESP Staff also conduct special collections for surplus property including furniture and office supplies. Surplus items are either recycled or put in storage for redistribution to University departments and non-profit organizations.
Click here for more information about KU Surplus.
ESP works closely with the Student Senate - Student Environmental Advisory Board (SEAB), KU Environs, CCO EARTH and other campus groups to satisfy students' concerns about campus recycling and conservation issues, and have made great strides in achieving those goals. Students play an important role in the development of campus waste reduction practices!
1990 - Environmental Ombudsman's Office created. This office addressed environmental issues on campus through student research and encouraged the implementation of environmentally friendly practices. Some of their accomplishments included the installation of low flow showerheads at residence halls, changing incandescent light bulbs to energy saving fluorescent bulbs, and encouraging the use of safer cleaning products. The Ombudsman's Ofice also completed a campus wide waste audit which lead to the coordination of recycling efforts.
1996 - Office of Resource Conservation and Recycling (RCR) created under the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). KU Recycling is developed through assistance from the Environmental Stewardship Fund.
2002 - RCR becomes Department of Environmental Stewardship (DES), moves from EHS to stand alone department under the office of the Provost.
2003 - DES moves to Facility Operations, and becomes Environmental Stewardship Program.
ESP has been fortunate to receive funding from Student Senate and the University Administration to supplement revenue received through the contractual sale of recyclable material laborously prepared for the scrap commodities market.
Through student referendums, the Environmental Improvement student fee was created to generate revenue to support a campus recycling program in 1997. The fee was increased from $1 in 1997 to $2 in 2002, and then to $3 in 2004. In 2007, the Environmental Improvement fee was split into the Recycling fee and the newly created Sustainability and Renewable Energy fee. The Recycling fee was increased to $4 spring/fall and $2 summer in 2008. Fees are currently set at $3.60 per registered student per Fall and Spring semesters, and $1.80 per registered student in the Summer session. Both fees are reviewed by the Student Senate Finance Committee annually. Every three years the fees are reviewed by Student Senate to make improvements to student services.
Student Senate funding allows ESP to fill numerous part-time student staff positions, University Support Staff positions, and provides for some operating costs. Administrative funds allow for additional operating costs, and our scrap revenues cover other general operating expenses, so every bottle counts. Working towards a sustainable future for KU involves the entire campus community. You CAN make a difference!