Oct. 14, 2015: People’s Boston Climate March from Kendall Square to Boston Common

October 19, 2015 1:37 pm

by Miranda Willson

The People’s Climate Movement, the organization that organized last September’s historic People’s Climate March, designated Oct. 14th National Day of Action. The PCM called on local environmental organizers and activists nationwide to demand climate action, as the 14th was exactly six weeks before world leaders gather at the United Nations climate talks in Paris.

 Massachusetts State Senator Michael Barrett spoke outside the statehouse about a bill he hopes to pass that would put a price on carbon.

Climate activists at the Massachusetts Statehouse demanding action on climate change on Oct. 14.

I attended the People’s Boston Climate March on the 14th with approximately 20-30 other people, ranging from ages 12 to 70+. Most of them lived somewhere in the Boston area, although one couple I spoke with came all the way from Worcester.

We started marching in Kendall Square and made our way to Boston Common, finishing at the Massachusetts Statehouse. The lead organizer of the Boston March, Kenneth Larson, is a retired transportation worker who lives in Arlington. A member of the Sierra Club, The National Resources Defense Council and 350 Massachusetts, Larson decided to organize the event having realized there was no Boston-based action taking place that day.

“I’ve been involved with trying to raise awareness about [climate activism] for at least a decade,” he said. “I don’t want us to be known as the generation of stupid because we did nothing when we had a chance to mitigate climate change.”

According to Larson, this march was only one of a number of event taking place over the next six weeks leading up to the Paris climate talks.

Among the younger crowd were two 12-year-old girls named Emmy and Claire, who missed school in order to attend the march with Claire’s aunt and their neighbor. They had attended the People’s Climate March last year and are involved with a neighborhood cleanup group called “The Green Group.”

“I want to make this place nice for my children and my grandchildren,” Claire said. “I want to make sure they’re not living in a wasteland.”

Two other attendees, Nathan and Tessa, hailed from Worcester, MA, wearing black leather jackets customized with hand-painted patches representing various activist causes. This was the first protest for climate action they had ever attended.

Nathan and Tessa, two young people dressed in black, march and shout for action on climate change.

Marchers Nathan and Tessa chanting for action on climate.

“We’re here to protest the inaction we see in climate change,” Nathan said. “There’s a lot of talk but no one’s really doing anything, so we’re hoping to draw attention to the issue and get people to do something.”

Throughout the march, the attendees mingled and exchanged phone numbers and ideas, chanting, “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” By the time we arrived outside the Massachusetts Statehouse near Boston Common, a crowd of tourists and onlookers were staring at us from across the street, some of them taking pictures. Liza Sockwell, a senior at Newton South High School who skipped school to attend the rally, shouted across the street in response, “Come join us!”

At the statehouse, State Senator Michael Barrett spoke about his carbon pricing bill and thanked the attendees for their supportive work.

“I’m here on a little bit of a mission myself because I’ve written a bill that would make Massachusetts the first of the 50 states to put a price on carbon,” he said. “But we need your help.”

A senior in high school, Liza Sockwell, hold a sign that reads, "Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline."

Liza Sockwell is a senior at Newton South High School. She’s become involved in a series of actions against the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline natural gas project.

He announced that there will be a public hearing about the bill on Oct. 27th, at 1 p.m. in the Statehouse.

“We need a turnout that shows the kind of passion you’re expressing today, because Massachusetts could be leading the 50 states in fighting climate change, and we’re not,” Barrett said. “What you guys are standing for today is really, really important. I’m hopeful that our state is capable of showing leadership just as we have on marriage equality and on healthcare for all.”

He concluded with a question: “Can we put fighting climate change up there as a place where Massachusetts leads? With your help, I think we can.”


Composting/Volunteering Off-Campus, Earth Day, Featured, Uncategorized

Welcome Back Jumbos!

August 26, 2015 2:46 pm

by Savannah Christiansen

Welcome (back) to the hill Jumbos! September is already upon us and the move-in process has begun, with thousands of pounds of stuff being transported all over campus. You may be wondering amidst the chaos that is orientation, how do I dispose of all that junk I brought with me I really didn’t need? If you’re an eco-nerd like us you may be asking yourself how to get settled in more sustainably. However, there is no need to fret, Tufts Recycles! is here to ease your transition back into school life with our Recycling Orientation Guide:

Dorm Recycling: Hey freshman, this means you! Step one in reducing your waste on Tufts campus is by utilizing the personal recycling bins that will be provided in each dorm starting in September. Each room will be given a small blue bin for all your recyclables which can then be emptied into the central waste stations in the hallway like these:


Not sure how to separate everything at the central waste stations? No worries! Each bin is labeled with the specific items that can be sorted into each one. In short, however, each bin can hold the following:

Blue= Paper (non-waxy, clean paper–this includes clean coffee cups!)

Green= Glass, Metal, and Plastics (coffee lids go here as well)

Trash= Trash (but do we really need this one?)

The system is simple enough, but now you may be asking yourself what you can do with all the extra food waste you might produce. Isn’t there a way we can save all that organic material without sending it to the landfill?

Compost: Here it is: the most organic and easiest way to decrease food waste on campus is compost! Composting is a method of reducing food waste by letting organic material, such as leftover peels, cores, egg shells etc. decay over time. Eventually the decaying material releases enough nutrients to turn back into healthy soil which can then be used to grow more plants and food. It’s as close to a closed waste loop as you can get, so utilizing this resource is extremely valuable to our sustainability program in our total waste reduction. All food and organic waste can be brought to to the small, green compost bins in each dorm, which are usually located in the kitchen. You can also dump all that extra organic waste in the bright, yellow toter bins found throughout campus. Don’t know where to find one? Check out the 2015 Eco-Map from the Tufts Office of Sustainability here. If you have any more questions about compost, be sure to ask your local sustainability expert, your Eco-Rep! Eco-Reps work with the Tufts Office of Sustainability to promote sustainable behaviors in the dorms, a list of whom can be found here.

Freecycle: While the moving in process can be tiring and tedious, you may find that there is lots you will no longer need once everything is moved in. Maybe you brought one too many T-Shirts, hangers, lamps, books etc. Don’t let those things go to waste! You can find freecycle closets in South, Haskell, Hodgdon and Wren Halls to recycle these usable items for others to use. Once those items are put in freecycle, its up for grabs by everyone in the dorm.

The Green Bean Machine: Ok, we are really excited about this one. This year the GreenBean machine will be up and running in the campus center. The GreenBean machine is our very own high-tech cans, water bottle and glass recycling machine that instantly lets you know how much of your waste reduction efforts kept materials out of landfills. This reverse vending machine also lets you know how much energy you saved and gives you a 5 cent refund for each container recycled. Be sure to check out this recycling wonder in the campus center next to Hotung and find out more about the company’s initiatives here.

Tennis Balls: Tufts Recycles! is proud to announce that we have officially sent off our first round of tennis balls to recycled- 203 in all! Throughout the summer, we’ve been collecting tennis balls next to the courts at Fletcher Field in designated bins. So anytime you’re out on the tennis courts, or happen to have some old tennis balls lying around that you don’t need anymore, be sure to deposit them in these bins:


RecycleMania: Last but not least, RecycleMania will be taking place in the spring and it’s the biggest recycling competition on campus. In other words, you can practice all of your recycling skills now and by the time spring rolls around you can be geared up and ready for competition. More information on the competition can be found here.

Any more questions? You can always contact Tufts Recycles through our brand new website, you can find the homepage here.


Composting at Matriculation, Reduced, Reuse, Recycle (RRRs)

EPCS Recycling Initiative

July 21, 2015 2:55 pm

by Savannah Christiansen and Mitul Rathod

In order to improve recycling habits and extend our influence on Tufts’ campus,Tufts Recycles! decided to carry our efforts over to the Elliot Pearson Children’s School.

Tufts Recycles! interns began the morning of Thursday, July 9th by organizing a teach-in recycling activity at the preschool in an effort to begin collaboration between the two departments. We brought in a board with recyclable materials organized into their appropriate categories as an easy-to-understand guide for the kids, and made plans to have a scavenger hunt for recyclables and compost. The kids would then race to see who could sort the most items into their appropriate bins. It was a great way to start our relationship with the EPCS, and help the kids become familiar with recyclable and compostable materials.

TR! interns were back at it again the following Thursday, this time with Japanese Spurge plants and recycled water bottles in hand to be reused in a fun art activity: plant potting! Kids used recyclable materials to create their own potted plants that they could decorate and take home with them. The activity was a huge success, and even some teachers made their own recycled potted plant!

For the last teach-in on Tuesday, TR! interns enlisted the help of Recyclobot to help further familiarize the kids with sorting recyclable materials. Kids glued the materials onto recyclobot based on whether they were paper/cardboard, or glass/metal/plastic. They even had the opportunity to create their own mini-robots out of recyclable materials!

All in all, our presence at the EPCS allowed for us to familiarize kids with proper recycling habits that will be useful to them in the future. It was a rewarding experience for TR! interns to see the kids so engaged in the recycling activities. The teachers and children were sad to see us go, but we look forward to working with the EPCS during the school year!

Campus Initiatives, Featured, Recycling 101

TuftsRecycles! Staff Retreat: Beach Clean-Up in Winthrop

June 14, 2015 9:34 pm

by Alexandra Minter
IMG_4034Last weekend, the TuftsRecycles! crew ventured out to Winthrop for a splendid morning and afternoon, dedicated to both building as a team while taking part in an important cause. After a week of agony of not knowing the top secret location of our retreat, the team was pleasantly surprised to find ourselves on Yirrell Beach in Winthrop. We spent our trip there learning about each other with fun trivia games and continued these throughout our cleanup extravaganza in small groups. WP_20150607_002

Throughout the day, we came across an endangered species of shore birds called Piping Plovers. The people of Winthrop have gone to extreme measures to help ensure the safety of these adorable tiny birds which only breed in North America. Across Yirrell Beach, these birds have begun nesting, and their babies were seen scurrying across the sand, blending in with their surroundings.

The team was also surprised with a guest appearance by Dawn Quirk, our previous supervisor and recycling extraordinaire, and her husband, Chris. After a morning of cleaning and discussion, we gathered to sort our findings, which included way too many cans and a surprising amount of forgotten towels. After a photo op, we headed over to Dawn’s beautiful seaside abode and dined on some delicious food, discovering our tan lines left on our skin after a morning in the sun.

Stay tuned to our summer adventures as we continue to operate throughout the season on new projects!


R2ePACK: Back Again!

April 29, 2015 9:56 am

by M.T. Snyder

As the bell tolls 10:00 PM, Tufts students pull themselves out of their books and into the only hour of the day not deemed “quiet” by ResLife during finals period. Stretching and yawning, skipping and hopping, students notice a new mysterious box in their on-campus housing.

What could it be? What’s in the box?

Why, it’s R2ePACK, of course! Here again to help you Reuse, Recycle Everything. Pack and Clean…’K?! As one of the largest initiatives at Tufts Recycles!, R2ePACK collects everything that you don’t need or want during move-out. These items are either donated to Goodwill or kept to be freecycled in September at move-in.  Additionally, all non-perishable unopened food will be collected and donated to a local food pantry in Somerville. Please use the checklist below for specifics as to what exactly R2ePACK collects and start filling up those cardboard boxes instead of landfills!

Click to download the R2ePACK checklist for donateable items!



Move-out/R2ePack, Uncategorized

Recycle Your Tennis Balls!

February 4, 2015 2:01 pm

by W. Parker MacLure



Tennis players take note! Last fall Tufts Recycles started recycling tennis balls! When your ball has reached the end of its playable life, rather than throwing it away please place the dead ball one of the large clear bins with a picture of a tennis ball on the side (see image below). Right now, during the winter, the bins are located in the Gantcher Center near the bathrooms and bleachers. During the spring, summer, and fall the bins will be located at both entrances to the Voute Tennis Courts (the blue ones on Professors Row).

Currently there are only re-use applications for tennis balls and no accepted recycle tennis ball binmethods. Traditional re-use applications include putting them on the legs of chairs and using them as dog toys. Also a company called ReBounces  balls to extend their playable life. Reuse methods simply extend the life of the ball, delaying when it arrives in a landfill.

Frustrated by this problem, the members of Tufts Recycles did some research and found Project Green Ball (PGB), the largest tennis ball recycler in the United States. PGB is a nonprofit organization that recycles tennis balls to be used in the construction of surfaces that are donated to organizations that help people with disabilities and life threatening diseases. Currently they work with IGK Equestrian grind up the tennis balls and use them as a component in horse arena turf. This turf is then donated to therapeutic riding centers that help people with disabilities or life threatening diseases. PGB is also looking into the possibility of recycling the balls to use as insulation in buildings; however, this is still in the testing stages.

For more information visit the Project Green Ball website or Facebook page. And don’t forget to recycle your dead balls!


Campus Initiatives, Featured, Recycling at Tufts, Tennis Ball Recycling, Uncategorized

Next Up: The Bottle Bill

October 27, 2014 9:40 am

by M.T. Snyder

This November, voters in Massachusetts will decide on the future of the Bottle Bill, whether to expand it with a new update or to leave the existing bill in place.  Currently, the Massachusetts’s Bottle Bill, which was passed in 1982, places a five-cent deposit on all bottles that contain carbonated beverages as well as beer containers. All dealers of full containers must redeem the empty containers they sell at a five-cent minimum. This means that if you buy a bottle of ginger ale at your local grocery store, you can recycle it at the same store and get five cents back (within sixty days from your purchase). When the bill was passed in 1982, non-carbonated beverages were not a significant portion of the beverage industry, or they likely would have been included in the bill.

The update on the Bottle Bill would expand the five-cent deposit to include non-carbonated beverages sold in containers, such as water, tea, and sports drinks, by revising the definition of “beverages.” Propenents of the bill argue that it will decrease litter in Massachusetts because of the new incentive to recycle and thus save municipalities on costs from cleaning up litter. On the other hand, critics debate the effectiveness of expanding an aged system and whether it will truly cut costs.

What will you vote? Recycling is on the radar for this election, and it certainly is an attention worthy topic. Since this is the final day of Sustainability Week at Tufts, hopefully  living sustainably has been on your mind. Perhaps you have contemplated what you can  do to reduce your impact on the environment, especially as a student at Tufts. Waste reduction is a huge component of sustainability, as you may have learned at the Sustainability Dinner at Dewick on Wednesday night.  Although often it may seem that we have unlimited space which we can fill up with waste, that space is in fact limited and getting smaller daily. Recycling is one method to help minimize the effect that our waste has on the environment and Massachusetts will even compensate you for your pro-active recycling! So make sure that you toss your beverage bottle into the nearest blue recycling bin for glass, metals, and plastics found in many convenient locations Tufts campus.

more »

Bottle Bill, Uncategorized

Single Stream vs. Dual Stream

October 6, 2014 10:28 am

by M.T. Snyder

Ever wonder why you can’t just throw anything recyclable into one bin? We have too. In many cities, including Medford and Somerville, users can dispose of all kinds of recyclable materials into one bin for collection. Here at Tufts, however, we have a dual-stream recycling program, which means that paper and cardboard are separated from glass, plastic, and cans.  This system is the standard for recycling programs throughout the US. However, the debate over whether to switch to a single-stream collection system has raged on.

single stream

Other universities have experimented with single-stream recycling, with mixed results. In 2010, the University of Colorado Boulder decided to switch from dual-stream to single-stream for a pilot recycling program.  They used just one bin to collect all recyclables in the residential halls, which was intended to increase participation in recycling due to the convenience of one bin and ease of collecting the recyclables. The test ran from August to May and was publicized to students through direct outreach.

Although the pilot program intended to make collecting recyclables easier, there were many other negative consequences that caused the university to switch back to dual-stream recycling after the school year.  One of the largest costs associated with the program was that contamination in the recycling bins increased significantly.  Increased amounts of trash were found in the recycling bin, and residue from food/beverage containers ruined the paper fibers in the bin.  Because of this, the recycled papers collected had reduced life cycles and were worth less when CU sold the materials.

The only place at Tufts where single-stream recycling exists is at the Dental School building on the Boston campus. Due to the mixed-use clinic, office, and classroom setting, TuftsRecycles! decided to test out a single-stream program there several years ago. While we’re still not convinced that this program could be scaled over the entire university, or even to the rest of the Boston campus, we still look to the Dental School program as a potential site for innovation and learning for recycling on campus.

For now, Tufts will remain a dual stream campus where paper materials are sorted out from other recyclables, unless our waste stream profiles begin to show that it would assist in attaining our annual 3% waste reduction goal. So keep putting paper in those lovely blue bins and know that you are helping Tufts get closer and closer to achieving “zero-waste.”

Further reading:

CU Boulder Single-Stream Recycling:

Tufts University Dental School Recycling:


Welcome Back!

September 18, 2014 9:08 am

by M.T. Snyder

Welcome all new and returning students! As summer turns into fall, Tufts’ campus becomes more picturesque each day with vibrant leaves in the trees, clear blue skies above our heads, and yellow compost bins on the curb. You may remember some of Tufts Recycles initiatives (Recyclemania, anyone?), but let’s sweep the cobwebs out of those corners with a quick refresher about what you can do on campus to reduce waste.

As mentioned above, just keep your eyes peeled for those big yellow bins that are just waiting for you to pop in your apple core or food remains.  If you’re on-campus, you will probably find a compost bin in the kitchen, but if you’re off-campus fill out a request form and an intern will drop one off. Composting is a strong part of Tufts waste reduction program, and the Medford campus alone composts a little over one ton of food waste each day, according to Tufts Dining Services. Get involved in composting because you’re giving mother nature a hand in her version of recycling and you can’t get better karma than that.

Sometimes you don’t bring enough notebooks to campus, but sometimes (okay most of the time) you bring way too many hangers, binders, trashcans, fans, and clothes. What are you going to do then? Well my friends, the answer is simple enough. Freecycle it! There are Freecycle closets in Haskell, South, Hodgdon, and Wren where you can give and take items with ease. No need to fill up your personal trashcan with usable items – just put it in the communal closet and you’ll definitely make someone else’s day (a Tufts Recycles intern’s day to be specific).

Finally, here’s the nitty-gritty details about recycling:

  • Green = bottles, glass, hard metals, plastic lids (feel free to lift the lid)
  • Blue = paper (you know this one)
  • Yellow = compost (all those slippery banana peels and other organics)
  • Grey* = trash (don’t need that though, right?)

So now you have it all. Compost, freecycle, recycle – get your groove on and get sustainable this year!

*Although sometimes you may see a brown trashcan, we’re phasing those out for all grey ones.


New Charging Station and Mural

July 29, 2014 12:36 pm

by W. Parker MacLure


Last September Tufts worked with National Grid to install an electric vehicle charging station in the Dowling parking garage on the first level. In order to make the charging station more visible, Tufts Recycles was commissioned to create a mural that highlights Tufts efforts towards a more sustainable future. The mural was designed by Rachel Ison (’14) and painted with the help of Tufts Recycles.  The mural was completed on May 17, 2014, the day before Tufts Graduation.

Rachel graduated this spring with a degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. She spent her senior year interning here at Tufts Recycles. Her mural features a green and white color palate and is approximately 8 feet high by 20 feet wide. It features images of renewable energy sources such as windmills and solar panels, as well as a picture of an electric car.

The charging station is owned and operated by National Grid, a multinational British electricity and gas company headquartered in London that also operates in the northeastern United States. The station is capable of charging up to two plug in electric vehicles (PEVs) at a time. Electric cars have the potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they do not emit exhaust from a tailpipe and can be powered by renewable resources. The use of electric cars however is limited due to the lack of infrastructure in the form of charging stations that exists. Tufts choice to install the charging station demonstrates a commitment to a more sustainable future.

photo 2 (1)

photo 1

Update 7/31/14: An earlier version of this post failed to clarify that the station is owned and operated by National grid.

Campus Initiatives, Uncategorized
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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.