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Surplus Recycling Program has outstanding year outfitting campus

The KU Surplus Property Recycling Program helped find new homes for nearly 3,000 pieces of furniture on campus and helped save nearly $100,000 on a single project in 2010.

Since 2007, the service, part of the Environmental Stewardship Program, has taken office furniture that is no longer wanted and found new homes for it across the university. With last year’s haul, the service has recycled more than 9,000 pieces of furniture and anticipates passing 10,000 soon. Celeste Hoins, administrative manger of the Environmental Stewardship Program, said the service took part in its biggest project yet last year.

“We’re really proud of being able to work with KU Parking and Transit and MV Transportation to completely furnish their new facility with recycled furniture collected here on campus,” Hoins said.

Project managers estimated they saved about $100,000 by using recycled furniture. The facility’s tenants provided the program with a list of items they would need in advance, allowing the service to collect pieces over the course of several months.

Most of the program’s projects are smaller, but taken together have the same impact. When offices upgrade furniture and look to get rid of previous wares, the program collects and catalogs them and makes them available to campus departments looking for new furnishings. The service operates a “store” on west campus from 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesday mornings, and keeps a detailed list of available items on its web site, surplus.ku.edu. Employees can call 393-4256 or e-mail kurecycling@ku.edu to schedule an appointment to see surplus furniture.

Surplus Property Recycling has also started collecting and redesigning Herman Miller office systems. The service can take unwanted pieces, repair, reconfigure them to meet the needs of a different office and deliver them. Most of their recycled goods are delivered to campus offices, but items that are not claimed are sometimes donated to non-profit organizations or sold through a competitive online bidding process.

“I would encourage departments to check out our inventory before going out and buying new,” Hoins said. “We get some interesting articles and we can save you a lot of time and money.”

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Carey Novak, director of business relations and development, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies
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