UA Resolution on Outdoor Recycling
September 24, 2000
The presence of recycling receptacles in key outdoor campus venues is
a matter of importance for University students, a top priority of the Undergraduate
Assembly, and a quality of life issue in the broadest sense. According to
the Division of Facilities Services, the turnover of recyclable materials
at the University skyrocketed from 75 tons in 1989 to 1500 tons in 1992,
earning an award from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
However, statistics published by Facilities Services indicate that the University's
recycling program has stagnated in recent years. In 1998 and 1999, the University
recycled 26% of its waste by weight, failing short of the 30% mark that
was achieved circa 1996.
Presently, receptacles for recycling paper products are completely absent
from key outdoor campus venues. In addition, technological advances have
allowed for a greater degree of commingling of recyclable waste, and the
University has not yet responded by deploying commingled-recycling receptacles
throughout the campus. Commingled receptacles would be less intrusive than
the large "igloos" that are presently used for aluminum, glass,
and plastic recycling. Commingled receptacles could help make recycling
a more integrated part of Penn's campus.
Last spring, the Penn Environmental Group (PEG) published an assessment
of recycling at the University in which 60% of the students surveyed said
they "throw out recyclables because there are no bins nearby"
"very often" or "often." In addition, 75% of students
said that Penn does not encourage them to recycle. These results indicate
that University students are not consistently recycling because of a lack
of convenient recycling facilities. The evidence suggests that University
students believe in recycling, but their efforts to recycle are hindered
by the absence of convenient, highly visible recycling receptacles. To repeat
a quotation printed in the PEG report, "If a recycling bin were there,
I'd do it."
As one of the country's premiere universities, the University of Pennsylvania
should have one of the country's premiere recycling programs. University
employees have noted that Penn does not have a single, centralized recycling
program, but rather a matrix of recycling initiatives. The Undergraduate
Assembly, by virtue of its established relationships with multiple facets
of the University community, is in a unique position to advance the interests
of undergraduate students within this highly decentralized framework.
Therefore, we, the Undergraduate Assembly, the elected representatives
of the undergraduate student body, do hereby resolve:
Resolved: The University should deploy and maintain both commingled
and paper-recycling receptacles within close proximity of trash receptacles
in heavily trafficked campus venues, including Locust Walk and the Perelman
Resolved: The University's outdoor recycling receptacles should
be durable, visible, easily accessible, and clearly labeled.
Resolved: Recyclable waste should be hauled as needed to ensure
that recycling receptacles do not overflow.
Resolved: A central office or point person should provide timely
and adequate responses to individual students who wish to report difficulties
while attempting to dispose of recyclable waste on the outdoor campus.
Resolved: Provisions for recycling should be incorporated into
any new University facilities that have provisions for trash disposal.
Resolved: The Undergraduate Assembly, the Division of Facilities
Services, and the Penn Environmental Group should continue to work together
to improve the accessibility of recycling facilities, and to monitor recycling
initiatives that are in place at the University.