Campus Reduces Waste by 85 Tons, Launches New Initiatives During RecycleMania 2012

July 19, 2012

While Penn fell short of its 32 percent goal for RecycleMania 2012, the campus reduced its overall amount of waste generated by more than 85 tons during the eight-week competition as compared to last year. Penn recycled approximately 27 percent of its waste, finishing fourth amongst its Ivy League peers behind Cornell (34%), Harvard (32%), and Princeton (28.5%), and second amongst Philadelphia colleges and universities, trailing only Drexel (33%).

Enthusiasm was evident across campus from the start, as events organized by student sustainability leaders and Penn Eco-Reps raised awareness of waste and recycling issues throughout February and March, while schools and centers increased their efforts to reduce waste through various initiatives.

The School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) added nearly 40 new single stream recycling bins to Williams Hall and paired them with smaller trash cans to increase convenience and reflect the school’s new philosophy regarding recycling. “This initiative emphasizes that instead of separating recyclables from trash, trash should be separated from recyclables,” said SAS Sustainability Coordinator Sara King, “because there’s very little in our waste stream these days that isn’t recyclable.”

The School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) expanded its desk-side recycling program for staff and its school-wide battery recycling program, while the Perelman School of Medicine provided hardcover book recycling bins throughout the 2012 competition.

Business Services formed a new division Green Team to focus on developing Earth Day initiatives and Green Fund proposals, and is currently keeping the RecycleMania spirit alive as staff prepare for the fifth annual PennMOVES drive.


A glass bottle will survive for almost 1 million years in a landfill.

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