K-State’s recycling program is among the best. Meet the man behind it.

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Bill Spiegel, recycling supervisor, has created a quick and easy way for students to recycle at the KSU Recycling Center. Spiegel is passionate about creating a waste free community and helping both current and future students. (Hannah Greer | Collegian Media Group)

Rain is spilling out from threatening gray clouds, but that hardly dims the passion of K-State recycling supervisor Bill Spiegel.

Crinkled lines gather around his eyes as he smiles, leaning against his red pickup truck that stands guard at the Recycling Center.

The hub of K-State recycling program sits on the northeast outskirts of campus, where Spiegel has an office. Spiegel says that most of his time, though, is dedicated to working with other K-State departments and students to create a waste-free community.

Spiegel, who served in the military and then worked at K-State as a custodian, said he never thought he would end up as the recycling supervisor.

In addition to the 24/7 one-stop-drop recycling center that takes everything from plastic to glass, there are also bins dispersed around campus, which Spiegel said he feels have made recycling opportunities more accessible to the student body. Spiegel has also pushed projects like Recylemania that promote student involvement in repurposing at K-State.

Spiegel said he began supervising recycling at K-State in 2012 and, since then, has seen the numbers of recycled goods almost double. In 2012, he said the university recycled about 1.3 million pounds of different items. In 2017, Spiegel said K-State recycled more than 2 million pounds.

Although he said he finds joy in the improvement of recycling on campus, Spiegel said he ultimately hopes for widespread cutdown of waste.

Humbly, Spiegel attributes the success of recycling to teamwork.

Working with students and other K-State departments is not only a vital aspect of creating a successful program, but also the most enjoyable parts of the job, Spiegel said.

“We work together,” he said. “The administration and I, the facilities and students, Housing and Dining, and Athletics — we all work together. I don’t do it, we do it. We are a team.”

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