ReThink Takes Action in Penn Schools and Centers, Divisions

November 27, 2013

The Perelman School of Medicine launched a Recycling Room on November 15. Located on the 2nd Floor of the Clinical Research Building at 415 Curie Blvd., this room will be a single location to recycle batteries, phones, toner cartridges, pens, hardcover books, softcover books, paper, and single stream materials. According to Jennifer Mishkin, sustainability coordinator and Associate Director, Interiors, Space Planning & Operations, in the School of Medicine, “This room will allow us to consolidate collection of recyclables and identify the quantity that we generate.”

The School of Medicine’s Recycling Room is modeled after a similar room launched by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Towne Building for the engineering quad in 2012. The SEAS Recycling Room, supported by a Penn Green Fund Grant, embodies the spirit of the Green Fund, where environmentally sustainable projects can serve as case studies for other efforts on campus.

The Wharton Staff Town Hall and Staff Appreciation Gathering, a luncheon held twice each academic year, was held as a zero-waste event. The November 6 luncheon resulted in an impressive 72% total diversion rate, which was the second highest diversion rate achieved since Wharton started promoting zero-waste events in July 2013.

Wharton also organized its 2nd Annual Storage and Mechanical Room Clean Out and disposed of 3.37 tons of which 2.63 tons were recyclable items. Rafael de Luna, Associate Director of Sustainability, Wharton Operations, said, “Wharton started cleaning out some of these areas last year and in our first cleanout, we recycled over 11 tons of obsolete furniture, inoperable equipment and outdated materials.”

Penn’s Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES) held an Office Clean Out on November 19. Office supplies were centrally located for sharing: at least 60 three-ring binders and 1,000s of binder clips were up for grabs. Several recycling stations collected a total of 1,595 pounds of materials diverted from the landfill. Those who participated in the Office Clean Out were invited to a thank-you lunch served on compostable tableware and flatware.

On November 19, Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences hosted a music-themed school-wide staff appreciation event. As part of SAS' commitment to the ReThink Your Footprint campaign, the entire event was run as zero-waste. The decorations and catering were both beautiful and reusable. The SAS Eco-Reps volunteered to monitor waste stations at the event. All waste was either composted and taken to Peninsula Compost’s Wilmington Organics Recycling Center in Delaware or recycled and taken to Philadelphia Material Recovery Facility in the Northeast instead of a landfill.


Penn’s urban campus has over 2 miles of dedicated bike lanes, 5,050 bike parking spots, and 2 free bike repair stations.

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