PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania wants the campus community to recycle 30 percent of its waste as it joins more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide participating in RecycleMania this year.
RecycleMania is a 10-week competition for students, faculty and staff, designed to encourage both recycling and waste minimization.
From Jan. 17 to March 28, the campuses will compete to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per person, have the largest amount of total recyclables, have the least amount of trash per person and have the highest recycling rate.
During this competition, Penn aims to recycle 30 percent of the campus waste, a target based on the current waste recycling rate of about 23 percent since July and in anticipation of the campus achieving a 40 percent goal by 2014, as outlined in the Climate Action Plan, launched in September.
“One of the guiding principles of Penn’s Climate Action Plan focuses our efforts on minimizing waste and increasing our recycling rate to 40 percent in five years, “ said Anne Papageorge, vice president of facilities and real estate services, said. “This is an opportunity for members of the University community to change their every-day behavior and collaborate to meet this common goal. It is an ambitious plan, but we are dedicated to implementing it with everyone’s participation.”
Special events begin with a Recycling Resource Fair and recycling bin giveaway noon-2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 25, in Houston Hall, where the first 200 attending will each receive a free bin. At 5 p.m., a screening of the “No Impact Man” documentary film, the story of a Manhattan resident who abandons his high-consumption lifestyle and tries to live for a year while making no net environmental impact, will be held in the Berger Auditorium of Skirkanich Hall. Dan Garofalo, Penn’s environmental sustainability coordinator, will update attendees on the University’s recycling initiatives and goals.
In addition, all community members are invited to put their creative talent to good green use by entering the RecycleMania poster and video competition.
Throughout the campaign, Bon Appetit at Penn Dining will offer a free fountain drink or coffee from 2 to 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays to each customer who brings a reusable cup, mug or bottle to Accenture or Houston Hall. Also, on RecycleMania Mondays at Au Bon Pain, customers with their own mugs can receive free coffee with any purchase all day.
Other events throughout the campaign include sustainability town hall meetings at the School of Arts and Sciences; a green initiatives brown bag lunch and recycling fair, both at the School of Medicine; a panel discussion on the business of recycling at the Wharton School; and a “Trash Talk” panel discussion with key players in the campus recycling process.
At Penn, RecycleMania is a collaboration between University groups under the Green Campus Partnership umbrella. Nationally, RecycleMania is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program and the National Recycling Coalition’s College and University Recycling Council.
Information on event details, a tracking measure of the weekly recycling totals, recycling tips and downloadable signage to encourage environmentally sustainable behavior in offices or residential spaces can be found at www.upenn.edu/sustainability/recyclemania.html.