Compost Tea

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ReThink: Get Involved

How to ReThink Your Footprint

 

ReThink Your Footprint involves the entire Penn Community in a broad waste management campaign that draws us together to act in source reduction, reuse, and recycling. Here are some ideas to get started:

Ban the Bottle – Resolve to stop buying water in plastic disposable bottles. Get a refillable container to use around campus at water filling stations. Do the same in your home or on your sports team.

Consider Composting – Learn to do this on your own, or be sure to participate where it’s offered – such as in Houston Hall and in the Penn Museum Café. Learn how to get started home composting.

Make your Meetings Zero-Waste – Whether it’s your departmental budget meeting or a pizza-and-football game night, hire a caterer who uses, or serve your own food with, compostable or re-usable plates, utensils and napkins. Measure what you normally throw away after a lunch meeting against that from your compostable event.

Pack It Up – Clean out that closet, garage or storage space that you’ve been meaning to tackle for a long time. But don’t haul everything to the curb! Donate unwanted items to Goodwill, offer them for sale at a consignment shop, or recycle properly (in the cases of paint, batteries or old materials from your garage or workshop). Review a few resources available at Penn.

Students

  • Join one of the many student sustainability groups at Penn for their ReThink program, and then remain active throughout the year. SSAP, the Student Sustainability Association, is your portal to nearly 20 student organizations.
  • Connect with the student Eco-Rep in your College House, fraternity/sorority, athletic team, or at Hillel. Find out their plans for ReThink Your Footprint in November, and volunteer to be involved.
  • Hold a screening of a film related to environmental sustainability issues. Invite your friends, team or club members, or others in your house.
  • Share a book, news article or blog post about a principle of waste management (reduce, reuse, recycle) and host a discussion group or debate. Be sure to offer snacks!
  • Organize a zero-waste dinner night where nothing that you prepare with your friends, floor, or housemates will end up in a landfill.
  • Conduct your own "waste audit." At the end of the week, get together with your room-, floor-, or housemates and sort through your garbage can. Think about how much of that could have been disposed of in other ways (reduce, reuse, recycle) than being put into the garbage.
  • Invite a speaker conversant on the subject of waste minimization to your next meeting or study group. Ask him or her to leave you with a list of simple things everyone can do to ReThink Your Footprint.
  • Organize a drive in your community -- Collect obsolete electronics and recycle them. Collect clothing for Goodwill or a similar organization.
  • And many more! Your only limitation is your imagination!

Staff

  • Organize an Office Cleanout Day where everyone in your department or team cleans out their desks or offices. All materials get put out for sharing (first-come, first-served!), recycled, or posted to Ben’s Attic. Ask your Staff Eco-Rep to help you get started, or contact Andrea Kreiner, Sustainability Consultant, at akrein@upenn.edu.
  • Consolidate purchasing into orders of $25 or more (or set a higher base).
  • Print or copy to both sides of a page whenever possible. Set double-siding as a default on office computers, and place a visual prompt on your copy machine to remind members of the office to double-side whenever possible.
  • Install Managed Print protocols in your office, which helps to reduce accidental printing, and switches all printing to double-sided by default. In some cases, a single, higher-quality printer can replace many small inefficient ones.
  • Check out the list for Students above, and consider how you can adapt any of those activities!

Faculty

  • Infuse environmental sustainability into one of your lectures during the month of November. Include a reading assignment that relates your academic area to an element of environmental sustainability.
  • Consider participating next summer in Penn’s Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum program. Paired with a student research assistant, re-tool one of your courses to take on an environmental sustainability focus.
  • Check out the list for Students above, and consider how you can adapt any of those activities!

 

Don’t Forget to share what you do with the Green Campus Partnership. We want all success stories, news articles, photos, reports, etc. to hear about what you have done to ReThink Your Footprint!

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