Wrapping Up RecycleMania, Penn Reaches 28%

April 6, 2011

Through the eight-week national waste reduction competition between over 600 colleges and universities, Penn recycled approximately 28 percent of its waste, just shy of its 30 percent goal for RecycleMania 2011.

Despite fluctuating rates over the past weeks, it is obvious when looking at the bigger picture that Penn has made significant progress in reducing waste over the past few years. The campus recycling rate has increased steadily since 2008, when Penn posted an 18 percent rate in its first year of participation in the national competition, and Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Dan Garofalo believes there is still plenty of room for improvement across campus. “Our Climate Action Plan goal is to reach 40 percent by 2014. We’re well on our way towards reaching that goal, but our continued improvement ultimately depends on each individual of the Penn community making his or her own personal commitment to improving their recycling and waste reduction habits,” Garofalo said.

Following a successful kickoff week, which raised awareness throughout the University community, highlights of RecycleMania at Penn included a 'zero-waste' basketball game at the Palestra and an electronic waste recycling drive at Levine Hall. Departmental efforts such as single stream recycling pilots in select College Houses and paper towel recycling in restrooms are among the many initiatives aiming to make recycling easier and more convenient for everyone on campus. Penn Eco-Reps and the Green Campus Partnership Student Association are also working to raise awareness of best waste reduction practices by providing their classmates and colleagues with recycling tips for use both on and off campus.

Final results of the competition will be announced next week. For the complete contest standings and more information on RecycleMania events and initiatives, stay tuned to the Green Campus Partnership website.


A zero waste event is one in which at least 90% of the waste is diverted from the landfill through enhanced recycling and/or composting efforts.

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