Penn Relays go green with focus on recycling

Penn Relays

What is left behind after thousands of track and field athletes, fans and volunteers pack Franklin Field for the three-day Penn Relay Carnival? Memories of great competition? Absolutely. A few new records? Possibly. Trash? A mountain of it.

But this year’s trash heap is expected to be less bulky than those of years past, because for the first time in the Relays’ 116-year history, recycling will be a major focus.

Athletes will be asked to use new recycling bins that will dot the infield, and Coca-Cola is sponsoring an array of bins in the village and concourse areas to handle discarded bottles and cans. Signs will be displayed on the video board throughout the competition encouraging attendees to recycle.

“One of the goals of Penn’s Climate Action Plan, which was launched in 2009, is to increase our recycling rate and minimize our waste production,” says Dan Garofalo, Penn’s environmental sustainability coordinator. “With the minimal effort of tossing their empty water bottles or soda cans into the designated bins, the athletes and their fans can support the Relays and Penn’s greening efforts.”

In addition, this year’s program books and brochures have been produced using 100 percent renewable energy sources and have been printed on 10 percent post-consumer recycled, FSC-certified paper.

Also, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions, information about Pennsylvania’s no-idling law, public transportation options and places to purchase biodiesel fuel has been included in the University’s environmental outreach at the carnival.

To further educate future Relays participants about the importance of environmental awareness, the School Days program –- a prelude to the competition that brings some 400 kindergarten through eighth-grade students from area schools to campus on Thursday and Friday of Relays week –- is featuring information about water conservation and healthy foods.

To top off the green campaign, Penn’s Green Campus Partnership is sponsoring two afternoon races on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22: the Prep School High School Girls' 4x100 Independent and the High School Girls' 4x400 Philadelphia Academic.

For more information on the Penn Relays, click here.

Originally published on April 22, 2010