Campus Life

Recycling drive reduces waste at Penn State Abington

Tate Tippett, site supervisor at Prevention Point Homeless Shelter in Philadelphia, takes a delivery of bedding from Penn State Abington's end-of-year recycling drive. Credit: Mary Murphy/Penn StateAll Rights Reserved.

ABINGTON, Pa. — Students acquire many belongings over the course of spending nearly a year at college. Many of these possessions don’t end up making it home with the students and are thrown away instead. This year, Penn State Abington recognized this problem and came up with a solution. 

Anthony D’Angelo, the housing manager at the Lions Gate Residence Hall, saw the waste problem as students moved out in the fall of 2018. 

“The waste the students had filled four 30-yard dumpsters and much of it could be reused,” said D’Angelo. “I figured there was a way to reduce all that waste.” 

For spring 2019, D’Angelo developed and implemented a program that uses a five-part recycling station on each level of the apartment buildings. As they moved out of their rooms, students sorted disposable items into separate bins for food, clothes, electronics, sports equipment and kitchenware. The goal was to reduce landfill waste and save money on waste disposal, while repurposing the used items by giving them to different local organizations.  

The Interfaith Food Cupboard in Abington received 120 pounds of frozen food and non-perishable food items made it to the Lion Share Food Pantry on campus. Mary Murphy, biology lecturer at Penn State Abington, helped with the distribution of the food items from the drive.

Murphy was satisfied with the results of the drive, stating they “forged connections with local community agencies and moved the Penn State Abington campus in line with the overall sustainability goals of Penn State University.” 

Clothes also made up a large portion of the donations. The St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia and Angels in Motion, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those recovering from addiction, received over 300 pounds of donated clothes and in turn gave them to individuals facing homelessness in the Philadelphia area. Forty towels and washcloths also were donated to the Catholic Worker Free Clinic in Kensington.

Incoming students for next academic year will also benefit from the drive. The collected kitchenware will line one of the hallways in Lions Gate for students to start using in August 2019.

Enthralled with the success of the drive, D’Angelo plans to have it again next semester.

“We are going to do it again,” said D’Angelo, “I’m happy to say that we reduced our carbon footprint of two dumpsters because of this drive.” 

Moving forward, D’Angelo hopes to partner with University Park in the future and said, “There is always more we could do to make the program better.”


Last Updated September 20, 2019