Penn students clean plates as part of RecycleMania

In January, Penn launched RecycleMania 2010, with the goal of reaching a cumulative rate of 30 percent in waste diversion by the end of March.

ecycleMania is part of a nationwide competition among colleges to collect the highest amount of recyclables and produce the least amount of garbage in 10 weeks. Penn is competing against other Ivy Plus universities, hoping to place higher than last year, when it finished in fifth place with a 21.4 percent cumulative recycling rate.

During the first two weeks of this year’s campus-wide effort, Penn broke its previous record by reaching a cumulative 26.6 percentage rate of recycled material. But that number still falls short of the 30 percent goal the University has set for 2010.

According to the national standings, both Harvard and Princeton exceeded the 30 percent mark in the first two weeks of the competition. Harvard reported a rate of 32.7 percent and Princeton reported a rate of 31 percent.

To keep their momentum going, Penn students participated in a sloppy but serious “Scrape Bucket Challenge” from Feb. 8 through Feb. 12.

uring those days, students eating at the dining halls were asked to scrape whatever food remained on their plates after meals into large containers located in each facility. The muck was measured each day to track the level of food waste collected over the course of the week (as of press time, those totals were not yet available).

RecycleMania will continue through March 28, with lectures, a poster and video contest, panel discussions and a career fair.

On Feb. 24, Wharton will host a panel discussion called “The Business of Recycling,” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Dhirubhai Ambani Auditorium, G06, Huntsman Hall.

On March 12, the School of Medicine hosts a brown bag lunch discussion and presentation about green lab practices led by Penn’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Dan Garofalo and Sustainability Associate Carol Rosenfeld. The discussion runs from noon until 1 p.m. in the Class of ’62 Auditorium in the John Morgan Building.

To monitor Penn’s progress, and to get more information on RecycleMania, go to the Green Campus Partnership website:

Originally published on February 18, 2010