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Letter from Dean Welch

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To: Liberal Arts Faculty and Staff
From: Susan Welch
Date: Monday, September 16, 2013

Faculty and staff colleagues in the College,

I am writing to alert you to new recycling and composting procedures within the University. You may have noticed that in some of our buildings, OPP has installed new recycling containers with more slots for different kinds of solid waste, including a composting bin. Though there is one slot in the recycling containers for things that cannot be recycled or composted, the aim is to have as much as possible be recycled. Each slot in the container has a decal with helpful and rather detailed instructions about the items that should go there.

Mostly this is just an extension of the recycling we already do, but the composting part is new in most of our buildings. Food waste is to go in the composting bags.  In our deans' offices, as soon as our existing supplies of paper plates, cups, and utensils are used, we will be ordering compostable paper plates, cups, and utensils, and we encourage all departments to do the same. That way, all meal remnants can go in the same place.

Perhaps the biggest change that you will notice is that the building maintenance people will no longer empty trash in our offices. All of us will be responsible for getting our trash into the proper building receptacles. The building maintenance people will be picking up the compost bags every other day from the building receptacles.  Your trash can will be left in your office, but this will be for your convenience if you want to collect things there for periodic deposit in the recycling bin. If you prefer to have a small compostable bin for your office, with a lid, you may request that.

Since the early 1990s, when Penn State formally adopted a policy (AD34) establishing recycling as the primary means of solid waste disposal, our collective efforts have diverted hundreds of thousands of tons of solid waste from burial in landfills. Organic waste collection is already happening in every residence hall and in many of our academic buildings, including since last year, Old Main. You may know that the University has a composting operation, located next to the Mt. Nittany Expressway near Fox Hollow Road, that results in organic waste converted to mulch.  All mulch used on university fields, gardens, shrubs, and other landscapes comes from composting. Additional mulch generated by the university is sold commercially.

The change to this new system will begin on September 23 in Sparks and Carpenter and our other buildings will follow shortly thereafter. Chris Hort, our facilities manager, will be in contact with staff in each building to help facilitate the transition.

Here is the official university website with details about this initiative:

If you have questions, you can direct them centrally to or contact Chris Hort,  Departments may also wish to invite Al Matyasovsky, director of the university's solid waste operations, to a faculty meeting. He recently visited with the psychology department to explain the new program.

Thank you all for your cooperation in this program.

With regards,


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