Campus News

All of the 'Other' Things UK Recycles

Photo by Chris Harrison.
Photo by Chris Harrison.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 1, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Recycling Program’s goal is to reduce the university’s waste by offering a comprehensive recycling program, outstanding service and interactive education. Most people think UK only recycles bottles and cans — but the university recycles so much more than that. 

Here is a list of the top five "other" items you may not know UK recycles.

  • Styrofoam — UK has done an incredible job reducing and, in some cases, eliminating Styrofoam use on campus. However, in the research and health care sectors, it is difficult to eliminate Styrofoam — specifically when using Styrofoam coolers for shipping temperature dependent items. In 2019, Sophie Beavin, a former UK Recycling intern, was able to implement a Styrofoam Recycling Program as her independent project. That year, UK Recycling collected over 6,000 pounds of Styrofoam from campus.
  • Batteries — UK Recycling accepts and recycles ALL types of batteries from campus departments. Certain types of batteries are considered universal waste and need special handling. Check out the How to Recycle Batteries at UK flier for more information. UK Recycling also provides battery containers to any UK college, department or office for FREE. 
  • Hardbound Books — Although hardbound books are primarily paper, they cannot be recycled in the blue recycling containers on campus since they can damage equipment at the recycling center. Instead, UK Recycling collects them separately and sends to the Woodford County Recycling Center. In 2020, UK recycled over 46 tons of hardbound books. 
  • Printer Cartridges and Toner Bottles — UK’s campus prints a very large amount of paper — but UK can recycle both the paper and the empty printer cartridges and toner bottles. To provide a little perspective, over 18,000 pounds of cartridges and toner bottles were collected and recycled last year.
  • Blue Wrap — UK HealthCare provides different opportunities for UK’s recycling program. Since 2015, UK Recycling has been collecting clean blue wrap, which began thanks to a group of dedicated nursing staff. Although blue wrap looks like a fabric, it is made from plastic (#5, polypropylene), used to wrap sterilized equipment and can be recycled. In 2020, UK Recycling was able to collect close to 8,000 pounds of this material. 

Want to learn more about recycling at UK and all that can be recycled? Check out UK Recycling’s other recycling website for a complete list of items accepted. UK HealthCare partners, check out the UKHC other recycling website. 

Do you have a question or suggestion for an item we should begin recycling? UK Recycling invites you to use the "I Don’t Know" virtual recycling container. In three easy steps — taking a photo, submitting it and receiving a response within 24 hours — UK Recycling can help you determine whether or not an item is recyclable.

Stay up to date with all things recycling — follow UK Recycling on their social media @ukyrecycles. 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.