Learn more about our efforts and how you can become a greener Ichabod

Washburn is committed to sustainability, conservation and continuous improvement. Join us in our ongoing efforts in energy conservation and campus sustainability by becoming a Green Team member today.

Students are vital to improving environmentally responsible practices such as recycling, waste reduction and environmentally responsible purchasing in their own place of work or school.  The Washburn Sustainability program provides guidelines, ideas, information and tools to help you implement these practices.  

Participation in these projects will help you lead by example and increase awareness of responsible stewardship practices which promote energy conservation, pollution prevention, resource conservation and economic development. 

Check out the Washburn Sustainability Facebook page to learn more about becoming a Washburn green team leader or contact the Washburn Sustainability office for more opportunities. 

In addition to participating as a green team leader, Washburn students can become an Ecobod.   Learn more about becoming an Ecobod.

How Facilities Services strives for campus sustainability

Facilities Services believes the campus sustainability program is an integral part of social responsibility.  The benefits of a campus sustainability program are and what we strive for is:

  1. To use key resources like energy, water, materials, and land much more efficiently than buildings simply built to meet the codes.
  2. To create healthier work, learning, and living environments by providing more natural light and cleaner air, and using environmental friendly chemicals.
  3. To improve employee and student health, comfort, and productivity.
  4. To save money by reducing operations and maintenance costs, as well as lowering utility bills.

Facilities Services has developed programs to conserve resources such as water, electricity and natural gas.  Operation activities routinely generate materials for donation and recycling, provide stewardship by proper management of chemicals and hazardous wastes, and use energy and water efficiently.  We are always seeking to improve our practices. 

We are committed to energy and resource conservation.  Energy conservation helps reduce the effects of global warming, acid rain and smoke, and protects our natural resources.  Water conservation is a vital concern as well.

Electrical systems:  Retrofit light fixtures and exit signs; install motion detectors; encourage staff to use more natural light if applicable; use high energy efficient motors; install capacitor to correct low power factor issue; perform energy audit and utility bill audit; and kick-off an annual utility conservation campaign.

Water systems:  Install water flow restrictor on faucets and shower heads; install low water flow on urinal and flush valves and/or fixtures; install a drip system instead of lawn sprinkler system; plant more native plants and trees; and evaluate and test the waterless urinals.

HVAC system:  Upgrade HVAC systems and boiler controls; take advantage of free cooling in the spring and fall; replace some single-pane glass on old windows; install sun-reflective film or venetian blinds on windows; replace broken pipe insulations; specify high energy efficient equipment for replacement and on new projects; Install more water heaters per building instead of converting steam (from Heat Plant) to hot/heating water.

Roofing system:  Install more roof insulation under roofing material to reduce heat from the roof on any roofing replacement or new project.

It is our goal to implement green cleaning practices to minimize the cleaning effects on facility occupants and the environment, and to establish an effective program that helps improve indoor air quality.

Some green cleaning practices include:

  • The use of Green Seal certified products and implementing Green Seal cleaning service standards whenever possible.
  • Providing staff training on the green cleaning process.
  • Installation of electric hand driers.
  • The use of high-performance entry matting systems, 12 to 15 feet at building entrances and other key locations inside and outside a building.
  • The use of high-filtration vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters and sealed casings and hose connections.
  • The use of carpet equipment and carpet cleaning methods, suggested by manufacturers to maintain a warranty.
  • Replacing old carpet extractors with new low-moisture carpet extractors, as equipment wears out.  New low-moisture carpet extractors use about 1 gallon of water per minute, allowing the carpet to dry in 30 minutes; whereas old extractor uses about 3-5 gallons per minute.

Integrated pest control management (IPM) is a process for achieving long-term, environmentally sound pest suppression and prevention through the use of a wide variety of technological and management practices.  Control strategies in an IPM program include:

  1. Structural and procedural modifications to reduce food, water, harborage, and access used by pests.
  2. Pesticide compounds, formulations, and application methods that present the lowest potential hazard to humans and the environment.
  3. Non-pesticide technologies such as trapping and monitoring devices.
  4. Coordination among facilities management programs that have a bearing on the pest control effort.

Recycling and Waste Reduction on Campus

The participation and support from the administration, faculty, staff and students is the key to a successful recycling program at Washburn... and will reduce waste and trash, which will save landfill space and natural resources, giving us a more attractive campus. The University also realizes an economic advantage if we consume wisely, reduce waste and reduce our energy footprint. We appreciate and wish to thank all Washburn faculty, staff and students for your continued help and support of the recycling program.

Recycling is collected by the custodial staff.  If you have any large quantities of recyclable material please contact your building custodian or Deb Youngs at (785) 670-3132 to schedule a pick up. 

Washburn University Collects Single Stream Recycling!  (All ACCEPTED materials in one bin.) 

The items that Shawnee County residential curbside recycling collect may be deposited into the Washburn University "single stream" recycling.

  • All mixed paper products.
  • Plastics #1, 2, 5 EMPTIED and fairly clean prior to depositing - Leave the lids on.
    • Pop bottles, drink cups, food containers, etc.
  • Aluminum and tin cans  - EMPTIED of food and liquids!
  • Cardboard and chipboard boxes.  Please BREAK DOWN boxes prior to placing them next to the recycling container.

WE DO NOT COLLECT -  Pizza boxes or cardboard contaminated with food - Coated paper milk cartons - Styrofoam - Glass - Paper coffee cups and their lids. Click here for a detailed list of recyclable-vs-trash items.

For the following items please contact the departments specified.

  • Plastic bags
    • Drop off with the Biology lab supervisor in Stoffer Science Hall.
  • Electronics
    • Disposed through the IT Department.
  • Hard-backed books
    • The University does not have a recycling option at this time although there is an option called Orion Waste Solutions.  Evidently they take both paperbacks and HARDBACK books as well as other recyclable materials.  An 8-yard dumpster costs ~$2,500/month and they pick up once a week.  Please deal directly with them for large clean-outs.
    •   Alternatively Pages can be removed from books or the binding sawed off and then the paper stock can be deposited into the Washburn University "single stream" recycling.
  • Rechargeable batteries 
    • Facilities Services, contact the sustainability coordinator at (785) 670-1132 for pick up or make a Facilities Services work request.
  • Furniture and Office equipment
    • Disposed through the Surplus Department or donated to Habitat ReStore.  For these items please coordinate disposal with the Purchasing Inventory Manager at (785) 670-2313 and then submit a Facilities Services work request to include your foapal.
  • Toner cartridges
    • Return to manufacturer.
      • With return labels;
        • Some manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard supply return labels with new cartridges, other manufacturers such as OKI require you to fill out return labels from their website.
        • Seal box and affix return label according to directions on the toner cartridge box or manufacturers website, then either hand deliver or send box through campus mail to UMAPS.
      • Without return labels;
        • Collected by the IT Department (Bennett Computer Center room 104).

In addition to the above items, Facilities Services also recycles the following materials generated on campus as part of normal operations:

  • Rechargeable Batteries (Lead acid, nickel, and lithium batteries)
  • Scrap Metal
  • Fluorescent Lamps
  • Anti-Freeze
  • Motor oil
  • Tires
  • Paint
  • Wood pallets
  • Yard waste/brush

Sustainable Transportation

Interested in Carpooling? Those interested may go to Carpoolworld.com, and click on "Sign Up!", to register as a rider or a driver.  The information you enter will be available for others to find a carpool "match".

Those interested in a vanpool, which would consists of 7 or more people, should email Kristine Hicks, the Washburn Energy / Sustainability Manager.  If there is enough interest, she will contact Enterprise Rideshare.

Topeka Metro Transit in collaboration with Washburn University is offering students, faculty and staff rides for free with Washburn ID.

The Topeka Metro buses are free to ride for anyone with a valid Washburn ID. There are bus routes that stop at the edge of campus on both 17th Street and 21st Street.

Route information may be found on the Topeka Metro homepage, or let Topeka Metro help plan your bus ride along their fixed routes using their Trip Planner.

Questions & Comments

Contact Kristine Hicks, Facilities Services Energy/Sustainability Manager 785.670.1132.

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