Green in Higher Education: Recycle

Sean O’Connell - Contributing Writer
Posted on Friday 29th May 2009
The most common “Green” program in place is recycling. When recycling was the only leg of the “being green” spectrum most institutions took it seriously. There is a national college recycling competition called Recycle Mania. Local institutions involved include: Arcadia, Drexel, St. Joes, Temple, UArts, and UPenn. This is a national competition to compare per capita recycling and waste reducing activities. To complete the recycling cycle many institutions, including Temple University use suppliers who also offer products made from recycled materials. This allows them to choose green products as they begin to fit into budgets. Computers and other electronics are hazardous to the environment when not disposed of properly. Some municipalities offer free pick-up of these items from your curb. Local Universities also help in this effort. Many including Penn and Temple offer low-cost recycling and also offer refurbished computers at discounted prices. Drexel University is currently using solar powered compacting trash cans across its campus. Similar containers are also in use in the Center city District of Philadelphia. With talks of weekly trash pickup bag limits, trash compacting can be a valuable cost cutting strategy. Not only does compacting reduce the number of bags used, it also reduces the space trash will take up. A potential large cost cutting green habit is using a plastic bottle for drinks. Many schools offer them at dining halls as a replacement to plastic or paper cups. They also offer reusable totes, which can be used for books, groceries, or anything in place of plastic bags. Campus bookstores offer all of these items available at low prices to help students adopt reusable practices. At Temple the Students for Environmental Action organized a farmers market on a central street of campus. This is similar to the farmers market at City Hall offered in the past. Farmers markets offer local produce and often many organic foods, cutting back on chemicals in our food. One final very common practice is at home or local composting of yard waste and also of food waste. Harder to do in the city, home composting saves on disposal fees and can also be used in the spring for potting soil.

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