PHILADELPHIA â€“ The University of Pennsylvania community is gearing up for its fourth year of participation in RecycleMania, an annual waste-reduction and recycling competition between colleges and universities across the United States and Canada.
More than 600 institutions will compete in various categories to see who can achieve the highest recycling rate, collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, accrue the largest amount of total recyclables and generate the least amount of trash per capita. Participating schools will report recycling and trash data on a weekly basis.
For the 2011 tournament, Feb. 6-April 2, Penn schools and centers are committing to increase their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle more than ever.
Initiatives across campus include:
â€˘ .Kingâ€™s Court English College House will overhaul its waste and recycling bin infrastructure and serve as a pilot for a single-stream recycling set up.
â€˘ The School of Arts and Sciences will expand its battery recycling program to all SAS buildings.
â€˘ The School of Medicine will expand paper towel recycling to restrooms in all of its buildings.
â€˘ The School of Engineering and Applied Science will expand paper-towel recycling and conduct a pilot of deskside recycling.
â€˘ The Wharton School will continue its food-waste composting pilot at Joeâ€™s CafĂ© in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall.
â€˘ Penn Athletics will host a zero-waste basketball game featuring compostable concession packaging.
Currently, the campus community recycles approximately 25-28 percent of its paper, cardboard and commingled glass, plastic and metal waste. Penn anticipates that the individual and departmental efforts will help reach the Universityâ€™s 30 percent goal for RecycleMania 2011.
â€śPennâ€™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,â€ť Dan Garofalo, sustainability coordinator, said. â€śWe 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 will heighten awareness about reducing waste and increasing recycling on campus.â€ť
To spread the word about the competition as well as Pennâ€™s waste minimization goals, events will be held around campus beginning Feb. 7. Students, faculty and staff are invited to pick up personal recycling bins, Green Campus Partnership travel mugs, recycling posters and other resources at kickoff giveaways.
University departments are encouraged to reinforce recycling habits by holding office-wide cleanups. Penn Transit is hosting an open house at its new Greyâ€™s Ferry location, highlighting its use of recycled furniture and materials, and student environmental groups are aiming to educate their peers at College House events.
Weekly results and additional information on RecycleMania events and initiatives are available at www.upenn.edu/sustainability.