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Expanded Plastic Recycling at Penn

October 5, 2010, Volume 57, No. 06


Effective immediately, Penn now recycles all plastic containers, plastic types numbered 1 through 7. Penn’s recycler, Blue Mountain Recycling, has installed new equipment that is capable of sorting and recycling beyond #1 and #2 plastic to include #3 through #7 containers as well. Number codes for plastic recyclables are typically found on the bottom of the container.

Plastic wrap, plastic bags, Styrofoam, and PVC are still not recyclable at Penn, but many supermarkets recycle plastic grocery bags through take-back programs.

Expanded plastic recycling should help provide another boost towards Penn’s Climate Action Plan goal to reach a 40% campus recycling rate by 2014. Currently, our campus rate is just over 24%, up about 4% from last year.

For more on campus waste reduction and recycling initiatives, downloadable recycling signs for your building, and other tips on how you can help the University reduce its environmental impact, visit the Penn Green Campus Partnership website at www.upenn.edu/sustainability.

Thanks for your efforts to help Penn reduce its environmental footprint!

Not sure how the recycling process works? Here’s what happens to your recyclables on campus:

First, it’s up to you to separate recyclables and dispose of your trash in the appropriate containers.

Housekeeping collects the blue recycling bags and clear trash bags from inside Penn buildings and offices together and transports them to recycling and trash dumpsters at the buildings’ designated loading docks.

Facilities then picks up trash and recyclables separately, but with the same trucks. Campus trash runs are made in the morning and recyclables are picked up in the afternoon.

Transfer Stations receive trash from campus trucks for delivery to landfills or incinerators.

Blue Mountain Recycling accepts Penn’s recyclables at their Grays Ferry-based Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where the glass, plastic, metal, paper, and cardboard that we recycled on campus are sorted, packaged, and shipped to be remanufactured into new products.

—Daniel Garafalo,
Environmental Sustainability Coordinator

Related: Third Round of Green Fund Grants; Off the Grid in University City

Almanac - October 5, 2010, Volume 57, No. 06