RecycleMania: Go crazy cutting waste

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It’s time, once again, to talk trash on Penn’s campus.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, the University kicked off RecycleMania 2010, a 10-week campus effort to reduce waste and increase recycling. The initiative, which runs through March 28, will feature film screenings, panel discussions and a poster contest designed to get the University community talking and thinking about trash and recycling.

The first event on Jan. 25 will be a lunchtime recycle bin rally, to be held from noon to 2 p.m. at Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce St. There, Penn’s Sustainability Team will give away recycling bins to the first 200 students or staffers. There will also be plenty of information about daily waste reduction and recycling practices.

That evening, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Berger Auditorium, Skirkanich Hall, 210 S. 33rd St., there will be a screening of the 2009 documentary, “No Impact Man,” the story of a Manhattan resident and his family who abandoned their high-consumption lifestyle in an attempt to live for one year with no environmental impact.

On Jan. 28, the RecycleMania festivities continue with a brown bag lunch on sustainability. Penn’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Dan Garofalo will talk about Penn’s strategy to reduce its impact on the environment, and provide participants with tips on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

There will also be an e-waste recycling day in early February; a panel discussion later that month on “The Business of Recycling,” hosted by Wharton; and a sustainability town hall in mid-March.

Penn’s RecycleMania efforts are part of a nationwide competition among colleges to collect the highest amount of recyclables and the least amount of garbage. The University will report recycling and waste data each week and will compete in three main categories: Grand Champion, for the highest overall recycling rate; Per Capita Classic, for the highest amount of recyclables per person; and Waste Minimization, for the least amount of trash per person.

In last year’s event, Penn had a recycling rate of 21.4 percent, placing fifth among the Ivy Plus group. Penn led the Ivy Plus group last year in waste minimization, generating only 55.17 pounds of trash per person.

This event is designed to make progress towards the goal of the Climate Action Plan, which calls on Penn to reduce its overall waste stream and increase the recycling rate to 40 percent by 2014.

The University currently recycles 23 percent of its waste, and has a goal of 30 percent of waste diversion over the 10-week RecycleMania competition.

To monitor Penn’s progress, and to get more information, go to the Green Campus Partnership website: www.upenn.edu/sustainability.

Originally published on January 21, 2010