Shoemaker Green


ReThink: Reuse and Recycling Collections Around Campus

October 25, 2016
eye glasses campus collection

Penn's Staff & Faculty Eco-Reps manage collection programs to reuse or recycle products: eyeglasses, shoes, and writing instruments. These initiatives help reduce landfill waste and the impacts of manufacturing new products, while promoting reuse and recycling. Read about our collection partnerships below.

Eye glasses

Prescription glasses, readers, or sunglasses that are no longer needed can be put to good use by dropping them off at campus collection locations. Glasses are sent to VSP Global’s Eyes of Hope program, where they are cleaned, refurbished, and donated to doctors on global eye care missions. VSP Global brings disaster relief, education, eye care, and eyewear to people around the globe who need it most. Nearly 310,000 pairs of glasses have been donated to the program.

Contact Ellen Iwamoto, Annenberg Public Policy Center ( or Joseph Campbell, Penn Law ( to arrange a drop-off. If would like to set up a collection within your own office, visit the company's website, and notify us so we can add your location to this page.

Current drop-off locations include: 



Shoe Recycling

Clothing manufacturing is resource intensive and can be damaging to our environment. It takes around 700 gallons of water to make a cotton shirt, and 2,600 gallons to make a pair of jeans — most of which goes towards growing cotton. On average, every dollar you spend on clothes and shoes costs about 23 gallons of water.

With that said, the highest and best use of this resource is reuse.  Indeed, reuse unlocks the potential energy that resides in our clothing and other stuff.  No additional energy is expended to create somethingnew, no resources are devoted to remanufacturing and the potential social, human and emotional energy that resides in our clothing creates a powerful bond to connect individuals across communities and cultures.  Reuse is powerful resource management with a human dimension.

Community Recycling, the organization behind Shoebox recycling, is a company dedicated to advancing the awareness and practice of recycling for reuse. Gently used athletic shoes, casual shoes, dress shoes, work boots, sneakers, sandals, heels, flats, and loafers can be donated. The proceeds from this program benefit Back on My Feet Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating homelessness. ShoeBox Recycling turns the simple act of recycling into an opportunity to connect communities and cultures.

Learn more about the program specifics here, or sign up to host a collection in your office.




Writing Instrument Recycling

Terracycle is a company dedicated to finding ways of recycling unconventional materials and turning them into new products. Through their program, Penn employees can recycle the following items at designated locations on campus:

  1. Pens
  2. Mechanical pencils
  3. Markers
  4. Highlighters
  5. Permanent markers
  6. Marker caps

Once collected, the writing instruments are separated by material composition. The separated items are then cleaned, shredded, and made into new recycled products. Click here to learn more about the recycling process.



To participate, contact Tracy Hawkins ( in Business Services at 3401 Walnut St. to arrange a drop-off or to set up your own collection point.

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