Residence Areas Face Off in Recycling Challenge

In an effort to raise recycling participation in residence halls across campus, the Campus Sustainability Office is sponsoring Zero to Hero: The Great Penn State Recycling Challenge (#ZeroToHero).

The challenge, which began Monday and will last through Friday, splits the campus off into eight teams by residence area (East, West, Pollock, etc.) to compete.

Prior to the start of the challenge, representatives from the Office of Physical Plant, which processes recycled material on campus, established a baseline recycling rate for each residence area with the help of the Eco Reps, who advocate for sustainability and environmental responsibility within the residence halls. Each day, recycling rates for each area will be measured and compared against the baseline rate, calculating a percentage change for each area. The residence area with the greatest percentage change at the end of the week will be declared victorious.

So what’s the prize? Drum roll please…

Bragging rights.

Well, maybe. The website for the Office of Sustainability says a prize is still TBD, while an article on Penn State Live lists the prize as “appropriate recognition for leading the way towards zero waste.” So, for now…bragging rights (I mean, it’s pretty hard to find a prize for an entire residence area, right?).

But really, let’s not uphold the stereotype that today’s youth needs to be incentivized to do something just because it’s the right thing to do. Landfills lead to a whole litany of problems, and while recycling may take a extra ten seconds of your life, it definitely isn’t wasted time (ba-dum-ch).

For more information on what you can recycle on campus, check out this nifty little guide from the Office of Sustainability.

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Ali Fogarty

Ali Fogarty is a senior from the suburbs of Philadelphia majoring in Public Relations and Political Science who's passionate about Netflix and everything bagels.

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