Solid Waste Recycling
3nd Annual Waste Stream Audit - RESULTS COMING SOON
For Earth Day 2012, Wharton Operations continued its focus on waste and recycling by completing their third annual waste audit at Jon M. Huntsman Hall (JMHH). We worked hard over the last year to implement the recommendations of the previous year's waste audit and worked closely with faculty, staff and students to change behavior and improve recycling.
2nd Annual Waste Stream Audit
Audit Results: Read the full report here.
1st Annual Waste Stream Audit
On April 22, 2010, Wharton Operations celebrated Earth Day 2010 by conducting a comprehensive waste stream audit at Jon M. Huntsman Hall. This audit will allow us to take a sophisticated and informed approach to waste reduction and diversion within the building, and will provide data on the potential and parameters for composting.
Recycling and waste consultants, Niche Recycling, sorted waste from a 24-hour period to determine total volume, effectiveness of our recycling program, contamination levels within materials currently separated for recycling and levels of recyclables disposed as trash. Separate focus will be on food waste from both cafés and restroom paper towel waste to assess composting potential. Niche Recycling provided an assessment of our waste programs and supply strategies and recommendations for improvement.
In April 2010, the University-wide recycling rate was about 23 percent of total waste. The Climate Action Plan set a target to increase that to 40 percent campus-wide by 2014.
Audit Results: See the full report here.
Wharton Computing Deskside Recycling Pilot a Success
In November 2010, we launched a deskside recycling pilot in partnership with Wharton Computing on the 2nd floor of Vance Hall. We removed deskside trash cans and replaced them with deskside paper recycling bins and upgraded the central recycling/trash stations in each cluster.
Results from February 2011 showed a 204% increase in recycling on that floor. Thank you to our amazing housekeeping team for fantastic tracking and implementation and to Wharton Computing for incredible participation.
Supplemental Recycling: Alkaline Batteries
Wharton is the first school or center at the University to begin recycling alkaline batteries. Wharton Operations purchased a Big Green Box, which allows us to collect on site and ship to their final recycling destination. Big Green Box has developed a method of safe transport that ensures that batteries don't leak or cause other safety issues when shipped in large quantities. Alkaline batteries are typically thrown away in landfills and contain small amounts of toxic materials. The Big Green Box is sent to Toxco, Inc. who recovers the case metals, manganese and zinc and resells them in secondary markets. Wharton uses hundreds of alkaline batteries each year for small electronics, classroom technology and clocks, so we are pleased to have found a way to recycle them.
Update: Schools and centers across Penn have adopted Big Green Box battery recycling to great success. Central Purchasing at Penn is currently evaluating a campus-wide contract with Big Green Box to allow for easier deployment of bins schoolwide.
Supplemental Recycling: Writing Instruments
We are participating in a new program run by Penn's Business Services unit that recycles worn out writing instruments of all kinds. We have a collection site at Wharton Operations and have encouraged our departmental green teams to create additional collection points across the Wharton Complex. For every writing instrument that Penn recycles, two cents ($0.02) will be designated to the Penn Green Fund. For more information on the program, visit Penn's Green Campus Partnership site.
Aggregating Ink and Toner Recycling
We know that printer ink and toner cartridges contain materials that should not be thrown in landfills, but we also recently learned that the carbon footprint of individually shipping each cartridge back to the manufacturer for recycling can be quite high. Penn's Business Services unit has developed an Ink and Toner Recycling aggregation program in partnership with Telrose Corp. and Office Depot, where all cartridges will be picked up from departments, consolidated for the entire university, palletized and then shipped in bulk to the manufacturer for recycling. This encourages recycling and reduces the footprint of doing so.
Wharton Operations has partnered with Penn's Division of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) to provide on-site recycling drop-off for Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs at Jon M. Huntsman Hall. This is the first non-residential academic building on campus to pilot this program. On-site drop-off reduces the number of CFLs that get thrown away or disposed of improperly, and allows Wharton Operations to take an active role in our waste stream management.
Wharton More Than Doubles Recycling Bins
Reducing our environmental footprint means that we must reduce the amount of waste generated by the Wharton community. In Fall 2008, Wharton doubled the number of plastic, glass and paper recycling bins in classrooms and public areas in Huntsman Hall. Our recycling rate increased from 18% to 25% of total waste diverted from landfills over that time, saves money in waste hauling fees, and creates post-consumer recycled content that saves trees and reduces resources used for virgin materials.
Three Receptacle Program a Success
Wharton was the first school at Penn to roll out a three receptacle (glass/plastic,
paper and trash) program in 2004 in all Wharton buildings. This innovative
container makes recycling as convenient as throwing waste away, and now
all tiered classrooms and additional public spaces are fully equipped.
Cardboard Bailer Institutionalizes Recycling
Huntsman Hall was one of the first facilities on campus to install a
bailer in the loading dock to compact cardboard boxes. Bailers take empty
boxes and crush them down so that they can be easily hauled away and recycled.
This ensures that recycling is happening for all cardboard that comes
through the loading dock, and that we are conscious of our waste stream
both as building users and building managers.