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Trashcan Consolidation Project Aims to Boost Public Recycling

July 26, 2010

One of the most common barriers to an increased recycling rate is the disparity between an abundance of trashcans combined with a lack of public recycling bins. A summer project being completed by Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES) aims to reverse that trend.

After mapping the locations of outdoor trashcans and recycling bins across the campus, FRES Urban Park staff identified an opportunity for significant improvement to the campus recycling rate. Sixty individual trashcans were joined together and re-labeled as recycling bins, mimicking the “triplet” style receptacles that can be found on Locust Walk. So far, the consolidation project has produced nearly 20 new recycling triplets between the 3400-3600 blocks from Walnut to Spruce Streets.

“Too many individual garbage cans encourages waste disposal and contamination,” said FRES Executive Director of Operations and Maintenance Ken Ogawa, “Our goal is to consolidate the number of trashcans and create more recycling stations across the entire campus, ultimately making it more convenient to recycle something than it is to toss it in the trash.”

The project was implemented as a step towards reaching Penn’s Climate Action Plan goal of diverting 40% of the campus’ traditional recyclables by 2014.

Fact

The average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. That's as far as a trip from Philadelphia to Houston.

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