News

Tusk Marketplace

October 26, 2016 2:57 pm

Introducing Tusk: a peer-to-peer marketplace designed specifically for the Tufts community. Find Sublets, Textbooks, Furniture, and more! Choose to reuse before you buy something new. Check out the new online Tusk Marketplace to list items or shop.

Campus Initiatives

Facilities Services Plan to Streamline Campus Collection of Solid Waste and Recycling

August 25, 2016 4:59 pm

As part of a larger plan to improve the university’s solid waste and recycling efforts in line with the President’s Campus Sustainability Council’s goal of reducing total waste by 3% per year, Facilities Services will be strategically removing certain exterior solid waste (trash) and recycling receptacles in the coming week. This effort, expected to be completed by August 30th, will allow Tufts to streamline waste collection and removal, reduce pest and rodent issues, control unauthorized dumping, and consolidate outdoor recycling and trash collection bins.

The exterior collection sites were carefully chosen to align with new university standards that require outdoor waste receptacles to be located only in areas that do not have an indoor collection option nearby or are near outdoor dining areas or athletic venues with high pedestrian traffic. Each site will contain receptacles for solid waste, glass/metal/plastics, and paper/cardboard.

During the academic year, the Facilities Department will be evaluating the collection sites and continue to plan and seek additional sustainable solutions. For explanations of why a particular receptacle was removed, please view this spreadsheet.

For any questions, comments, or concerns, contact Kate Doherty, Supervisor, Facilities Services; Campus Services, or Facilities Services Work Control at 617-627-3496. You can also email: recycle@tufts.edu for answers to all your recycling questions.

Thank you for your continued support of Tufts efforts to create a more sustainable campus.

News

Pack-A-Dorm

May 9, 2016 12:01 pm

Win prizes all month long by donating and recycling during Move-Out! You could win a gift card to Tenoch, Danish Pastry House, J.P. Licks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Dave’s Fresh Pasta. Learn how .

Campus Initiatives, Move-out/R2ePack

Teaching Recycling to Pre-Schoolers

May 5, 2016 11:20 am

Recycling Interns have been working with students at the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School to promote eco-friendly recycling and composting practices within the Tufts community. » read

Composting, Recycling 101

Recycling 01: Teaching Recycling to Preschoolers

May 4, 2016 9:21 am

by Mitul Rathod and Liora Silkes

As part of Tufts’ continuing initiative to promote eco-friendly recycling and composting practices within the Tufts community, interns from Tufts Recycles organized a teach-in at the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School. Presented with the task of teaching a classroom of 3-4 year olds what recycling is, why it is important, and how to do actually do it, interns collected various recyclables and compost and brought it to the pre-k classroom. There, they gave a quick lesson on what’s recyclable and compostable, and what isn’t.

TR! Intern Mitul helps one of the preschoolers sort his recycling.

TR! Intern Mitul helps one of the preschoolers sort his recycling into the correct bin.

“Our trash bins are always full!” said one child, “the trash is always falling out!”  Naturally, we had to rectify this situation, and the kids were determined to help. Shortly after, the kids were asked to get into groups and pick out items from the pile of materials that had been collected, and sort them into their appropriate bins. The kids already had some knowledge of recycling, thanks to their normal classroom curriculum and their teacher’s, Vanessa Cid, passion for recycling. With a bit of guidance from the interns, the kids were able to sort 100+ items into their correct bins, an impressive feat to be sure. We were later told that when the kids went home, they wouldn’t stop talking about recycling!

The gloves were big and so were their smiles!

The following week we returned for round two. This time around, interns were going to be assisting in a mini-waste audit at the preschool. The kids had already collected the trash from various classrooms for auditing. With gloves too big to fit their hands, the kids dove into the pile of trash they had collected, enthusiastically separating out the contents into piles of glass/metal/plastic, paper, compost, and trash. The next step was to weigh each of the piles to determine how much of the collected material was actually trash, and how much belonged in the recycling. The preschoolers even wrote up a report to give to each of the classrooms, with a happy face to designate having done a good job at recycling, a neutral face to designate that the class needed a little practice with recycling, and an angry face if the class really needed to work harder on their recycling habits. The kids thoroughly enjoyed digging through the trash and writing up the reports, as if they were real waste auditors.

The preschoolers were happy to find so many recycling bins on campus!

For our final event, the interns gave the kids a tour of Tufts with an added scavenger hunt component. The kids were tasked with looking for the different types of bins and dumpsters that Tufts uses to dispose of waste. We gave them a checklist depicting the different kinds of receptacles that they marked off as they came across the bins. We introduced them to the different kinds of labels that could be found on each bin, and what the labels mean. We ended the tour by taking them onto the Tisch roof where they saw a beautiful view of the rest of campus, and the roof garden. Even after the long walk, the kids remained energetic and were sad the event had to come to an end.

The preschoolers are now experts at identifying the recycling symbol.

The preschoolers are now experts at identifying the recycling symbol.

Throughout these events, the kids learned quite a bit. They learned what constitutes recyclable/compostable materials, what goes in a specific bin, where these bins can be found, and how trash is audited. Most importantly, they were inspired to be mindful of their recycling habits to keep the environment green.

Composting, Recycling 101, Trash Audits

Campus Sustainability Progress Report

March 29, 2016 5:11 pm

The Campus Sustainability Progress Report will be released on Wednesday, March 30th by 12:00 noon. View the report to learn how Tufts is reducing its environmental impact.

Uncategorized

GameDay Challenge Results are In!

January 6, 2016 10:15 am

by CJ Ghanny

On October 10, 2015, Tufts University participated for the first time in the GameDay Challenge. The GameDay Challenge is a national, joint initiative by Keep America Beautiful, RecycleMania, the College and University Recycling Coalition, and EPA Wastewise with one goal in mind: to pit universities against each other to see who can have the best waste diversion at athletic games. For our Homecoming game, we competed against Bowdoin University (our rival in the NESCAC), schools in our NCAA Division, and schools in other Divisions all across the country. Here’s how we ranked:

Tufts University Results

Competition Results

Overall diversion rate: 83.871%! (Wow!) #6 diversion rate (All Divisions) (83.871%)! and #1 diversion rate in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
Organics reduction: 2,150 pounds

Organics reduction per capita: 0.361 pounds/person

#1 organics reduction per capita (Divisions II and III)
Recycling diversion: 450 pounds

Recycling per capita: 0.437 pounds/person

#2 recycling per capita (Divisions II and III)
Greenhouse Gas Reduction per capita: 0.000175 MTCO2E/person #6 greenhouse gas reduction per capita (Divisions II and III)
Waste minimization per capita: 0.521 pounds/person #9 waste minimization per capita (Divisions II and III)

Not too shabby for our first time at the rodeo! Our participation in the GameDay Challenge reaffirms our commitment to waste diversion at events; Homecoming was only one of thirteen (13) zero waste events held during fall semester 2015. Ranking in the top 10 for overall diversion rate, among other schools large and small with established waste diversion programs, is a sign to us that our program is both successful and effective! We are excited to keep working with all stakeholders to make events even more sustainable as time goes on.

Many thanks to Betsy Isenstein for coordination and supervision; the TuftsRecycles! crew (Savannah, Clayton, Melanie, Tushar, Anna, Adrian, Sofia, Mahlet, Shauna, and Dave) for slogging through literal tons of bottles and bean dip; Lisa Tiberi-Dawley and Bobby Reppucci in Facilities Services for event coordination; and Grounds Support under Jesse Carreiro for event setup.

See you next fall, and bring your A-Game!

homecoming-2015

TuftsRecycles! intern Clayton manning the recycling station at Homecoming 2015.

homecoming-2015-02

Full compost toters queued for pickup outside South Hall.

 

 

Composting, Composting at Events, Composting at Tufts, Recycling at Tufts

TSC and TR! Team Up in Compost Educational Event

January 6, 2016 9:57 am

by Savannah Christiansen

On Friday, December 4, Tufts Recycles! interns CJ, Savannah and Liora took part in a collaborative compost education event with Tufts Sustainability Collective (TSC). Members from TSC, Tufts umbrella environmental/sustainability group, talked to students in the campus center about the importance of reducing food waste and the role of composting in environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, TR! interns were there to direct students to compost drop off locations and encourage more people in on-campus apartments to sign up for the new compost initiative.

The event follows on the heels of a compost forum which took place on Wednesday, December 2. The forum, run by TR!, aimed to bring together different groups on campus involved in the compost infrastructure and discuss challenges they face. Tufts Eco-Reps, Tufts Office of Sustainability, TSC, the Rez and Tufts Dining were a few of the groups in attendance.

Using knowledge gained from Wednesday’s forum, TSC and TR! members were able to speak to students about Tufts’ compost hauler, Save that Stuff Inc. STS, Boston’s largest locally owned waste and resource management company, brings most of the Tufts’ food waste to farms in Hamilton, Massachusetts, where it is turned into finished compost soil to be sold.

TSC also encouraged off-campus students to begin composting in their homes by offering students finished yogurt containers from Dewick Dining Hall, which can be used as makeshift compost bins. By reaching out to more off-campus students, the hope is to capture more food waste produced by students who have access to kitchens. Additionally, by expanding compost infrastructure to off-campus houses and on-campus apartments, TSC and TR! aim to divert the food waste produced by students’ cooking from our trash stream.

Uncategorized

Composting Forum

December 3, 2015 12:00 pm

On Wednesday, December 2nd, Tufts Recycles! intern Savannah and recycling associate CJ gave a presentation about composting at Tufts. In attendance were representatives from the Office of Sustainability, Tufts Dining, Save That Stuff, the Office of Community Relations, The Rez, Tufts Eco-Reps, Campus Services and the Tufts Sustainability Collective.

The presentation included a summary of the compost program at Tufts, tips on how to compost effectively, how to prevent the spread of pests and how to line compost bins and dispose of compost.

One piece of advice that Savannah gave was to include hair and nail clippings, which are entirely compostable, as they deter fruit flies.

CJ added that biobags, which are compostable bags that can be used to line compost bins, should be reused because they tend to be expensive. Save That Stuff representative Adam Mitchell suggested only buying bags that are certified by the US Compost Council.

After the presentation, a representative from each group spoke about their involvement in composting and what they hope could be improved about it. Murvi Babalola, a co-coordinator of the Eco-Rep program, said one of the challenges the eco-reps face is educating the large number of people who use their bins.

Students from Tufts Sustainability Collect Sit in the Campus Center in order to encourage students to sign up for on-campus apartment composting

Students from TSC sat in the Campus Center on December 4th to educate students about composting.

Jordin Metz, a representative from Tufts Sustainability Collective, spoke about the group’s info session on composting at Tufts, which took place on December 4th at 2 p.m. in Campus Center 112.

Betsy Byrum of the Office of Sustainability presented next, speaking about the OOS’s eco-ambassador program for Tufts employees and the challenges people face when they want to start a composting program in a department.

“Typically, people will come and ask us about starting a program, but they can’t always care for their bin,” Byrum said.

Patti Klos, the Director of Dining and Business Services, highlighted the strides Dining Services has made in terms of food waste management and composting. In addition to providing composting at both dining halls, Tufts Catering, Mugar Cafe, the Campus Center and The Rez now all compost their food scraps.

Though the dining halls are still not classified as zero waste, Klos said 30-35 percent of the captured waste comes in the form of meat bones and other inedible items. She hopes to increase student awareness about the importance of composting, but also about the importance of not wasting food, even if it is being composted.

“Some students say that they aren’t as concerned with food waste since they know it’s being composted,” she said.

Hannah Recht, a student representative from The Rez, spoke about how the student-run coffee shop has started composting all its coffee grounds and encouraging people to reduce the use of disposable cups.

Finally, the Office of Community Relations representative, Sue DeAmato-Fuller, spoke about complaints they have received from members of the community about rats and other vermin believed to be introduced because of Tufts students.

Tufts Recycles! interim coordinator CJ and intern Savannah sat in the campus center, displaying compost bins, in order to encourage on-campus apartment composting.

Kate, left, CJ, center, and Savannah, right, in the Campus Center on December 4th.

“We just want to make sure composting is well-maintained,” she said.

CJ closed the forum by emphasizing that Tufts Recycles! hopes this will be the first of many forums on the topic.

Composting, Composting at Tufts

Bottle Bills

November 23, 2015 11:23 am

There are many ways to encourage people to change their behavior. You can educate them about why they should change a certain activity or habit they partake in, you can pass a law that forbids them from continuing with their undesirable behavior, or you can attempt to change the social norms surrounding that behavior in order to shame them into changing it, in addition to countless other strategies. But in today’s capitalist society, one strategy can be particularly effective: bribery.

In this episode of Seinfeld, called "The Bottle Deposit," Kramer collects bottles from throughout New York City and brings them to Michigan upon discovering he can recieve 10 cents back for each bottle in that state.

In this episode of Seinfeld, called “The Bottle Deposit,” Kramer collects bottles throughout New York City and brings them to Michigan upon discovering he can receive 10 cents back for each bottle recycled in that state. Vie seinfeld.wikia.com

Well, not exactly bribery, but providing a monetary incentive for people to change their behavior, such as an incentive for recycling. When it comes to encouraging people to recycle beverage bottles and cans, 10 U.S. states already have monetary incentives in place: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont. Guam, an organized, unincorporated U.S. territory, also has an economic incentive program in place.

These states have implemented what is commonly referred to as a “bottle bill,” also known as a container deposit law. The idea behind the bill is simple: a retailer, such as a grocery store, buys beverages from a beverage company, paying a deposit for each item purchased. The price of the deposit is included in what the consumer pays to purchase the bottle, usually equal to about 5 cents extra. The consumer can then return the empty container to the store, to a redemption center, or to a reverse vending machine like Tufts’ own Green Bean Machine, and their added deposit is refunded.

But this is only one incentive system, and it might not be the most effective one. Some countries in Europe use a different system whereby bottles and cans are collected and reused, rather than recycled. Whereas in the U.S., bottles and cans that are collected or returned to redemption centers are then transformed into new products, a process that requires significant energy and money, bottles that are collected in these select countries are washed, reused and resold for the same purpose.

Because the beverage retailers are then dependent on people returning their beverage containers,  the refund is often worth more money, which leads to a higher collection/return rate. At the same time, this system may ingrain recycling more significantly in the minds and habits of the people living in these European countries, as one writer suggests in an article written for The Atlantic. The writer considers why 95% of all beverage containers with a deposit are recycled in Norway, noting that the value of the deposits are higher, but perhaps not high enough to account for such an impressive return rate.

“The deposits matter,” the writer says, “but it matters just as much that Norwegians never discarded the recycling habit.”

So why hasn’t the U.S. implemented this kind of program? And why haven’t the remaining 40 U.S. states without bottle bills established them?

The reason lies in the lobbying power of the beverage industry. Beverage container manufacturers and retail grocers lobby against bottle bills around the world because they fear that increasing the cost of their products–even by fives cents–would affect their profits. Consumers would be less willing to buy their products, they argue, due to the slight increase in price (even though consumers can get this money back). Some of the more powerful opponents of bottle bills include Anheuser Busch, the Coca Cola Company, the Pepsi-Cola Company, the International Bottled Water Association, the National Grocers Association and the American Beverage Association.

Another reason to hate Coca-Cola: its one of the biggest lobbyists against bottle bills. Via coca-cola.com.

So what’s the solution? Could a nationwide bottle bill ever be enacted successfully? One could only hope so. In Massachusetts, 80% of beverage containers that are covered by deposits are recycled, compared with a 23% recycling rate for juice and water bottles, which aren’t covered by deposits. In Michigan, where consumers can receive 10 cents back per bottle recycled, the recycling rate between 1990 and 2008 was 97%! Clearly, these bills can make a huge difference.

In Massachusetts, State Senator Michael O. Moore and Representative Mark J. Cusack have proposed to repeal the state’s existing bottle bill and replace it with a temporary, multi-million dollar recycling and litter fund.

The bill calls for a 1 cent recycling fee on all beverage containers starting July 1, 2016, which “shall be in effect for three years to support the transition to a broader, more effective recycling system in the Commonwealth. The fee shall end on June 30, 2019 and sales of beverages in beverage containers will no longer be subject to the fee after that date.”

But a report released by the Container Recycling Institute found that under this bill, the beverage industry “would save nearly $174 million over the next decade… while the state and municipalities would lose a combined $435 million.”

Lilly, the main character followed in the documentary Redemption (2013), pulls bottles and cans collected from NYC streets

Lilly, the main character followed in the documentary Redemption (2013). Via nymag.com.

In addition to encouraging recycling and helping consumers and municipalities, bottle bills also serve as a very small source of income for homeless people throughout American cities, as is shown in the documentary Redemption (2013). Of course, this does not serve as a long-term solution to homelessness or unemployment, but for people who depend on recycling bottles to redeem cash, having a bottle bill (or raising the value of the refund), encourages recycling while also helping vulnerable individuals, as this writer points out in The Boston Globe.

Bottle Bill, Materials, Plastics
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Pack-A-Dorm is Back

Thursday, April, 13th, 2017, No Comments

Find out how to get free supplies for shipping or storage, and where to bring your donations, recyclables, and trash during move-out.