Penn accepts 2011 RecycleMania challenge

RecycleMania, the annual waste reduction and recycling competition, kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 600 colleges and universities across the country.

Penn accepts 2011 RecycleMania challenge

RecycleMania, the annual waste reduction and recycling competition, kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 600 colleges and universities across the country.

This eight-week contest pits schools against each other in a friendly rivalry to determine which institution can out-recycle the others and minimize waste.

Penn has participated in the challenge for the past three years. In the 2010 RecycleMania Tournament, the University recycled 23.5 percent of its waste, placing fifth amongst its Ivy Plus peers in the Grand Champion category.

Penn's 2011 RecycleMania goal is to reach a 30 percent rate in its recycling of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal, up from the current high of 28 percent.

To help the University achieve its RecycleMania target, staff and faculty are encouraged to step up their recycling efforts.

“Penn’s Climate Action Plan calls on the University community to reduce its overall waste stream and increase its diversion rate of recyclables to 40 percent by 2014,” says Dan Garofalo, the University’s environmental sustainability coordinator. “We believe that the new and innovative initiatives being launched this year during RecycleMania will help us continue to make progress toward this ambitious goal and heighten awareness about reducing waste and increasing recycling on campus.”

A number of schools and departments have already committed to doing their part to help Penn reach its RecycleMania goal:

• The School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) will expand its battery recycling program to all SAS buildings.

• The School of Medicine will expand paper towel recycling to restrooms in all of its buildings.

• The School of Engineering and Applied Science will expand paper towel recycling and conduct a pilot program of desk-side recycling.

• The Wharton School will continue its food waste composting pilot program at Joe’s Café in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall.

Penn Athletics will host a zero-waste basketball game featuring compostable concession packaging.

At RecycleMania events that will be held around campus, students, faculty and staff will be able to pick up personal recycling bins, Green Campus Partnership travel mugs, recycling posters and other green-themed items.

University offices are encouraged to hold department-wide cleanups to reinforce recycling habits, and Penn Transit is planning an open house at its new Grey’s Ferry location to highlight its use of recycled furniture and materials.

Student groups are helping out as well by educating their peers and encouraging more sustainable behavior.

During the recycling contest, participating schools will report recycling and trash results on a weekly basis. For current RecycleMania standings, upcoming events, and additional information on how to increase recycling and reduce waste at work, visit www.upenn.edu/sustainability.

Originally published on February 3, 2011