Keeping Job Site Waste Out of Landfills

December 20, 2012

Penn uses Northeast Philadelphia-based Revolution Recovery for its Small Projects Group construction and demolition waste recycling. Decision-makers in Facilities and Real Estate Services determined that Revolution Recovery’s corporate mission — to keep materials out of landfills — strongly aligned with the University’s own environmental sustainability goals. The traditional waste management companies that pick up the University’s regular trash can do some recycling, such as office paper, but they cannot handle the construction waste that most renovation jobs around campus produce — from replacement of ceiling tiles to redesign and construction.

Monthly reports from Revolution Recovery document that more than 75% of all waste hauled from Penn to the company’s Port Richmond center is diverted from landfills. Metal, wood, plastics, cardboard, drywall, siding and carpet — and much more — is sorted and sent on for recycling. Because paint cannot be recycled, much of it is donated to local artists. In fact, usable construction materials picked up by Revolution Recovery are often donated to woodworkers, artists, homeowners, and non-profit organizations. Currently Penn has a handful of Revolution Recovery dumpsters across campus where small renovation and demolition projects are underway. Larger projects have begun using this vendor too, such as the new Law School building, Golkin Hall, and the currently-under-construction Singh Center for Nanotechnology.


Penn’s underground cisterns on campus have the capacity to collect and reuse 340,000 gallons of water each year.

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