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Paper
How much paper do you think you use in a year? 50 pounds? 100 pounds? The average American actually uses approximately 680 pounds of paper each year, according to the University of Southern Indiana’s recycling program website. The EPA estimates Americans on average consume the equivalent of one 100-foot tall Douglass fir tree in paper and wood products each year. And in 2010, Americans discarded $2.8 billion worth of paper, according to the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful. The majestic Douglass Fir. Via Forestryimages.org Recycling paper is crucial for a variety of reasons. Paper products take up the most space in landfills. Not only does recycling paper reduce deforestation by requiring fewer trees to be cut down, but it also takes 40% less energy to produce recycled paper than to produce paper from virgin wood pulp. The production of recycled paper also requires 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution than that of virgin paper. What Can I Do? When thinking about waste management, reduction is always the first step. This means using fewer paper products, writing and printing on both sides of a page and other conservation and reduction efforts. Beyond reduction, however, recycling paper helps reduce water and energy consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA estimates that recycling one ton of paper saves: enough energy to power the average American home for six months 7,000 gallons water 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space 1 metric ton of carbon equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions At the Tufts campus in Medford, paper and cardboard are the recyclable product most often diverted from landfills, compared to glass/metals/plastics, composted food, e-wastes and yard and lawn debris. In 2014, 664 tons of paper products were recycled on campus. Where Does Recycled Paper End Up? Recycled paper at Tufts is brought to a Materials Recovery Facility in Charlestown, which sorts, grades and bundles the materials before selling it to manufacturers, who then make it into new products. Notebook and computer paper can be recycled into a host of new paper products, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Recycling really is a cycle! Via Maine.gov We’re Not In This Alone! In 2010, Americans recovered 63.5% of U.S. paper, which represents an 89% increase in paper recycling since 1990. Since 1994, it’s been illegal to dispose of paper in landfills in Massachusetts according to the state’s waste bans. Nonetheless, residents throw away approximately 1.5 million tons of paper every year. If just half of this paper were recycled, the state would save nearly $52 million in disposal costs, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Additionally, the recycling of paper and other commonly recycled items is a job-creator; approximately 14,000 people in Massachusetts are employed at recycling facilities and businesses.
The Journey of Waste
Paper Paper that is dropped in a recycling bin at Tufts is collected and brought to a Materials Recovery Facility in Charlestown, MA. Then, it is sent to the Visy Paper Mill in Staten Island, NY, where it is separated into types and grades with other recycled paper products. The separated pieces of paper are then washed with soapy water to get rid of inks, plastic film, staples, glue and anything else that might be stuck to them. The resulting watery mixture is called “slurry.” Other materials are added to the slurry, depending on what kind of paper product (cardboard, printer paper, newsprint) is being created. It is then spread into sheets, allowed time to dry and rolled back up. Finally, it is resold as recycled paper products. Alternatively, some paper products from Tufts are sent to RockTenn, a facility in Solvay, NY, where they are made into cardboard. Nurdles Nurdles, AKA tiny bits of plastic material, from Kamilo Beach, HI. Via nurdleintherough.org Plastic Plastic recyclables are brought to a recycling facility in the Bronx, NY, called Monteleone Fibres. Then the plastic is ground into small chips, usually mixed with bits of labels, food scraps and other non-plastic parts. To eliminate these parts, the pieces are washed in a bath, dried and melted. The resulting melted, small plastic pieces, which are considered the “raw material” of plastic, are called “nurdles.” Companies can buy nurdles to make various recycled products, but many products made from virgin plastics cannot be made out of recycled ones. Nonetheless, recycling plastic can certainly reduce the demand for other resources. Unfortunately, these small particles make up a large portion of the pollutants found in the world’s oceans. For this reason, reducing plastic consumption by drinking from reusable water bottles, using reusable bags, reusing plastic Tupperware and taking other initiatives is more impactful than recycling new plastic. Man collects bottles outside bottle deposit center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A reusable beverage container collection point in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Via Vladimir Menkov. Glass When glass is thrown into a recycling bin at Tufts, it must be sorted from metals and plastics, since Tufts uses a single-stream waste system. It is then taken to a glass treatment plant, sorted by color and washed. Then the glass is crushed, melted and crafted into new products. These include bottles, jars, bricks or decorations. It is then resold, and can be recycled infinitely because it does not degrade during the recycling process! Some countries in Western Europe have implemented container-deposit legislation. Under this policy, consumers may return beverage containers to a redemption center and receive money back–generally more than a five cent refund. The bottles that are returned are then washed, screened for contaminants and used again as beverage containers. This system is more energy-efficient than recycling because it does not require breaking down and reshaping the material. Metal Cans are sent to NH Kelman, a facility in Troy, NY. Some plastics are also sent here. For more information, see Life of a Soda Can. Food Waste Food waste from Carmichael, Dewick, zero-waste events and the dorms is all composted. Once the food scraps from events and dorms are collected by Tufts’ compost collection provider, it is sent to Rocky Hill Farm and other nearby locations. There, the materials are broken down by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen.
Before You Buy New
Paper Paper that is dropped in a recycling bin at Tufts is collected and brought to a Materials Recovery Facility in Charlestown, MA. Then, it is sent to the Visy Paper Mill in Staten Island, NY, where it is separated into types and grades with other recycled paper products. The separated pieces of paper are then washed with soapy water to get rid of inks, plastic film, staples, glue and anything else that might be stuck to them. The resulting watery mixture is called “slurry.” Other materials are added to the slurry, depending on what kind of paper product (cardboard, printer paper, newsprint) is being created. It is then spread into sheets, allowed time to dry and rolled back up. Finally, it is resold as recycled paper products. Alternatively, some paper products from Tufts are sent to RockTenn, a facility in Solvay, NY, where they are made into cardboard. Nurdles Nurdles, AKA tiny bits of plastic material, from Kamilo Beach, HI. Via nurdleintherough.org Plastic Plastic recyclables are brought to a recycling facility in the Bronx, NY, called Monteleone Fibres. Then the plastic is ground into small chips, usually mixed with bits of labels, food scraps and other non-plastic parts. To eliminate these parts, the pieces are washed in a bath, dried and melted. The resulting melted, small plastic pieces, which are considered the “raw material” of plastic, are called “nurdles.” Companies can buy nurdles to make various recycled products, but many products made from virgin plastics cannot be made out of recycled ones. Nonetheless, recycling plastic can certainly reduce the demand for other resources. Unfortunately, these small particles make up a large portion of the pollutants found in the world’s oceans. For this reason, reducing plastic consumption by drinking from reusable water bottles, using reusable bags, reusing plastic Tupperware and taking other initiatives is more impactful than recycling new plastic. Man collects bottles outside bottle deposit center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A reusable beverage container collection point in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Via Vladimir Menkov. Glass When glass is thrown into a recycling bin at Tufts, it must be sorted from metals and plastics, since Tufts uses a single-stream waste system. It is then taken to a glass treatment plant, sorted by color and washed. Then the glass is crushed, melted and crafted into new products. These include bottles, jars, bricks or decorations. It is then resold, and can be recycled infinitely because it does not degrade during the recycling process! Some countries in Western Europe have implemented container-deposit legislation. Under this policy, consumers may return beverage containers to a redemption center and receive money back–generally more than a five cent refund. The bottles that are returned are then washed, screened for contaminants and used again as beverage containers. This system is more energy-efficient than recycling because it does not require breaking down and reshaping the material. Metal Cans are sent to NH Kelman, a facility in Troy, NY. Some plastics are also sent here. For more information, see Life of a Soda Can. Food Waste Food waste from Carmichael, Dewick, zero-waste events and the dorms is all composted. Once the food scraps from events and dorms are collected by Tufts’ compost collection provider, it is sent to Rocky Hill Farm and other nearby locations. There, the materials are broken down by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen.
Glass, Metal, and Plastic
What happens to your bottle or can once it goes into the bin? Check out our handy guide to materials below! Aluminum Aluminum cans are the most common form of aluminum which is recycled; but other products such as aluminum siding, lawn furniture frames, window frames and storm doors are also recyclable. For each pound of aluminum recovered, Americans save the energy resources needed to generate about 7.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough energy saved each year by recycling aluminum to meet the lighting needs of a city the size of Pittsburgh, PA for six years.An estimated 80,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover over 50 acres of space — that’s almost 40 football fields. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it. There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can can be recycled. At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold! In addition, the difference in energy use between virgin aluminum and recycled aluminum is very large. Theoretically, producing recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy than producing aluminum from bauxite, an aluminum ore. In practice, energy savings achieved are closer to 75%. Learn more about the Life of a Soda Can ! Or read blog posts about aluminum! Information sourced from Can Manufacturers Institute and Recycling Revolution. Glass Just as aluminum can be recycled over and over again, so can glass! In fact, 90 percent of recycled glass is used to make new containers. Glass can even be used by glass makers and artists due to their aesthetic quality. Uses for recycled glass include kitchen tiles, counter tops, and wall insulation. Mixed glass cal be recycled into aggregate, which is a construction material used for roads and concrete. Every metric ton of waste glass recycled into new items saves 315 additional kilograms of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere! Recycling seems to be the better option especially since a modern glass bottle would take 4000 years or more to decompose — and even longer if it’s in the landfill. Also, if recycled, glass containers go from recycling bin to store shelf in as little as 30 days. Read blog posts about glass! Information sourced from Recycling Revolution. Plastics Recycling plastics could theoretically also save considerable energy. Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required for manufacturing them from raw materials. Yet, at the present time, only a small percentage of plastics are recycled. (Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour in which most are thrown away.) This is because there are virtually hundreds of different types of plastics, and it is difficult to separate them. Plastics can have very different physical and chemical properties. Mixing of plastics during reprocessing can therefore weaken the recovered plastic, making it less appealing to manufacturers, especially when low-cost virgin resin is available. Even if the plastic is sorted by type, unlike glass, aluminum, and steel which can be recycled over and over again, plastic cannot. In other words, plastic is “down-cycled”: e.g. soft drink containers are made into new products, which require a lower grade of plastic The park benches cannot be made into milk jugs again or into new benches. Also, most recycled plastic is used to produce items, such as polyester and plastic lumber, that are not themselves recyclable. Read blog posts about plastics! Information sourced from Recycling Revolution. Guide to Plastics Consumers often believe the coding symbols on plastic containers mean the item is recyclable. In fact, the symbols only identify the resin base of the plastics, not all of which are accepted by all recycling programs. These resins are as follows: #1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) Found in: Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; oven-ready food trays. Recycling: Put into a glass,metal and plastic bin. Recycled into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, (occasionally) new containers PET plastic is the most common for single-use bottled beverages, because it is inexpensive, lightweight and easy to recycle. It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products. Recycling rates remain relatively low (around 20%), though the material is in high demand by remanufacturers. #2 High-density polyethylene (HDPE) Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners Recycling: Put into a glass, metal and plastic bin. Recycled into:Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing. HDPE is a versatile plastic with many uses, especially for packaging. It carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many goods. #3 Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC “Vinyl”) Found in: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping Recycling: Put into a glass, metal and plastic bin. Recycled into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats PVC is tough and weathers well, so it is commonly used for piping, siding and similar applications. PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don’t let the plastic touch food. Also never burn PVC, because it releases toxins. #4 Low density polyethylene (LDPE) Found in: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but Tufts will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling. Recycled into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile LDPE is a flexible plastic with many applications. Historically it has not been accepted through most American curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it. #5 Polypropylene (PP) Found in: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through Tufts’ recycling program. Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers. #6 Polystyrene (PS) Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases Recycling:Put into a glass,metal and plastic bin. Recycled into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products — in the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists’ hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle. Most places still don’t accept it, though it is gradually gaining traction. #7 Other: (multi-layered or mixed) Found in: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, ‘bullet-proof’ materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon Recycling:Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though Tufts’ program now takes them.** with the exception of PLA/bioplastics Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products A wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors. A word on Biodegradable Plastics Currently Tufts Recycles! does not recommend using bioplastics. “Bioplastics” or PLA are marked as a #7 which is technically true as “miscellaneous”, but they are not a recyclable product. Bioplastics and PET do not mix – as PLA bottles cannot be distinguished from PET bottles by the consumer there is a risk that mixing the two could cause all recycled petroleum based plastics to be rendered unusable. These plastics are also prohibited from our composting facilities due to concerns about how the chemicals in bioplastics will leach into the soil. If you come across a bioplastic — most likely in the form of a “compostable” plastic container or utensil — please throw it in the trash, where it will biodegrade. For more information, see below:
Light Bulbs
LEDs, CFLs and Incandescents: What’s the Difference? All three of Tufts’ campuses use a combination of light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs, compact florescent light bulbs (CLFs) and incandescent light bulbs. Each of these bulbs use different levels of energy and require different recycling processes. Here’s a basic breakdown of these differences: LED Light Bulbs About: The majority of the new bulbs installed around campus are LED bulbs. According to Betsy Isenstein, the interim Recycling Coordinator at Tufts Recycles, LED bulbs are generally more energy-efficient than CFLs, and always more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They also produce a better quality of light, can be dimmed/adjusted easily and last for a long time–25,000 hours, or three hours a day for 22.8 years! On the other hand, these bulbs are directional, which means they work better in lights under cabinetry than in table lamps. LED light bulbs come in all different shapes and varieties. Via energyearth.com. LED light bulbs come in all different shapes and varieties. Via energyearth.com. Recycling: LED bulbs are recycled at Tufts with our e-waste by Next Level Recycling (NLR), a company based in Windsor, CT. Brian Watson, Senior Sale Professional at NLR, said the company picks up the bulbs, transports them to the facility and processes them through a shing, which is a machine that’s specifically made for recycling bulbs. “[The shing] separates all the materials out so they can be reused,” he said. “Then we send the constituent parts to downstream vendors that will reuse them for a new product, so the bulbs are 100% recyclable.” CFLs About: CFLs are much more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, although less efficient than LEDs. For this reason, we recommend using LED bulbs instead. CLFs also contain mercury, which means that if a bulb breaks, it may be necessary to ventilate the area so that the toxic mercury fumes are not inhaled. On the other hand, CFL bulbs can be placed in standard light sockets and don’t require an adapter, and they are cheaper to purchase initially than LEDs. Though fluorescent light bulbs and tubes have mercury in them, they actually help reduce mercury emissions from power plants. This is because a substantial part of the electricity in Massachusetts is made by burning coal, a process that releases mercury. Because fluorescent lamps use so much less electricity, the mercury that is in them is actually less than what would have been released from the coal power plant if regular bulbs had been used. Recycling: CFLs must be recycled as “universal waste” since they have mercury. NLR collects these bulbs from all three of Tufts’ campuses, too, as throwing them away can be dangerous due to the mercury. Virtually all parts of any type of florescent bulb can be recycled, although Brian said there are “a lot of issues that go into storing universal waste.” Incandescent Light Bulbs As of 2013, these are no longer distributed or authorized on any of Tufts’ campuses. When Tufts does dispose of an old incandescent bulb, NLR will recycle them. “It’s better to recycle [incandescent bulbs] in order to reclaim the metal and glass and divert it from the landfills,” Brian said. These bulbs only last between 1,000 and 2,000 hours. Additionally, more than 90% of the energy produced by incandescent lights appears in the form of heat, rather than light, which means that 90% of the energy from these bulbs is ultimately wasted! Stop buying incandescent bulbs! They are environmentally and economically inefficient. Distribution of Bulbs on Campus Some locations on campus are more suited to CFLs, while other locations are more suited to LEDs. Betsy Isenstein said Tufts first started experimenting with LEDs seven or eight years ago, installing them in the top floor of Dowling Hall and in the Dowling parking garage. “Since then, we’ve installed LEDs in tons of places,” she said. “Hogdgon Hall’s common spaces are all LED lighting and all of the post top lights are LED, except for the ones around Sophia Gordon Hall.” Betsy explained that LEDs have become more cost-effective at Tufts, especially because of LED utility incentive programs that are in place, but the technology of LEDs is still evolving. “Overtime, we’ll be moving toward LED bulbs, but right now it’s going to depend on the type of fixture and the operating hours of the fixture,” she said. “If it’s a bulb that’s hard to change, it’ll be an LED because it will be there for a while.” How Can I Recycle My Bulb? If you have a light bulb in need of recycling, please contact us for pickup. Students can also exchange their old incandescent bulbs for a free CFL at the Office of Sustainability, and students in residence halls can request a LED bulb from their eco-rep. These popular chain retailers will take your used CFLs at no cost: Ace Hardware The Home Depot Ikea True Value Hardware Whole Foods Market
Food Waste
We’ve heard that Americans are wasteful, but exactly how wasteful are we? The National Resources Defense Council estimates we each waste between $28 and $43 worth of food alone each month–that’s 20 pounds of food! Wasted food comprises 20% of the content found in American landfills, where it sits, rots and produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas 20x more potent than carbon dioxide. On a global scale, the issue is even graver. According to a study conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global food waste consumes a volume of water equal to the yearly flow of Russia’s Volga River. Global food waste also creates 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases. Rotting food in landfills also releases a smaller portion of carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas. Via gazasia.com This isn’t just an environmental issue–it’s a moral one. While as much as 40% of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten, over 49 million Americans lived in food-insecure households in 2013, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Furthermore, UNEP reports that 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted worldwide every year, all the while 870 million people go hungry every day. The total amount of food wasted by rich countries–222 million tons–is nearly equal to all the net food production from sub-Saharan Africa–230 million tons. Economic Impact of Food Waste While it is sometimes more profitable to throw extra food away than to save or donate it, especially in wealthier countries, global food waste costs producers $750 billion every year. Many countries are starting to recognize the detrimental economic impact of food waste. In China, the government is encouraging people to waste less food, as cutting waste could help the country feed itself, especially if climate change reduces agricultural output, as experts anticipate. Similarly, the European Union aims to reduce food waste 50% by 2020, especially in light of the 2008-2009 economic crisis. Local Heroes Tufts has been composting food waste since 1991, including food from Dewick, Carmichael and Mugar Cafe. Additional food establishments on campus will hopefully start composting their waste as well. Every year, Tufts diverts more than one ton of food waste from landfills by composting it. This amounts to more than 200 tons of food waste that’s composted annually. Massachusetts is also paving the way toward a more just and sustainable food future. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection announced in October 2014 that businesses and institutions could not throw away one ton or more of commercial organic wastes per week. Rather than send these tons of wasted food to landfills, businesses and institutions are now required by law to send it to a composting facility. City Soil, a composting company in Massachusetts, transforms food waste into compost that can be used on gardens and farms. Via Npr.org What Can I Do? Reduce your individual waste. Reducing the amount of food you throw away will allow you to save money and decrease your environmental footprint. This can be accomplished by being conscious about the food you buy and what you do with it: Buying in bulk can save you money, but only if you eat it all. Most foods, with the exception of eggs, certain water-rich vegetables and most dairy products, can be frozen. If you’re not sure if it can be frozen, google it! A growing body of literature indicates that expiration dates on food are often arbitrary and extremely conservative. These dates tend to be inconsistent as well; some manufacturers print a “sell-by” date, others opt for a “use-by” date, and some print the ambiguous “best if used by.” Use your own judgement when consuming food products, especially if the product shows no sign or smell of expiration. Certain “expired” foods, like rotting bananas or stale bread, can be safely cooked into other new, delicious foods like croutons or banana bread. Start a Waste Reduction Campaign! Food waste is becoming less and less sexy throughout the world. A UK-based charity recently started a campaign called “Love Food, Hate Waste.” Their website provides resources to help people stop wasting food, including recipes and food-saving tips. Similarly, this restaurant in China launched a clean-plate campaign to encourage diners to reduce food waste. Restaurant workers started a campaign to encourage consumers to clean their plates and avoid food waste in Qingdao. Via English.sina.com Compost! Organic food waste, including scraps of fruits, vegetables, egg shells, grains and paper products, can easily be composted at home. If you live in a staffed dorm, then you have one or two student eco-reps who manage a compost bin in your dorm for residents like yourself. If you live off campus or in an on-campus apartment, you can obtain a compost bin through Tufts Recycles! More info.
Batteries
Battery recycling locations for all Tufts Campuses can be found on the eco-map (zoom to your campus and look for the E-waste Recycling icons) Don’t forget to tape up the ends of your batteries in order to prevent fire hazards. Why Recycle Batteries? Batteries require MUCH more energy during production than they are able to store. In addition, batteries are hard to recycle. It is best to use rechargeable batteries or, even better, to try not to use batteries at all! A battery tester can help determine if your batteries are completely spent. A tester would be particularly useful for offices or student organizations that use lots of batteries. Heavy Metals in Batteries Each year billions of used batteries are thrown away in the United States. This constitutes 88% of the mercury and 54% of the cadmium deposited into our landfills. Batteries contain lead, mercury and cadmium, with smaller amounts of antimony, lithium, cobalt, silver, zinc and other chemicals. Some of these chemicals can cause serious pollution problems. Cadmium, for example, does not degrade and cannot be destroyed. Unless it is deposited in secure waste disposal sites, it can get into the food chain, where it affects all environmental sectors and can damage livers, kidneys, and the brains of humans and fish. Mercury, too, cannot be destroyed; it contaminates by inhalation or skin contact and lodges in the kidneys and liver. Lead leads to brain damage, hemolysis, lowered resistance to infection and cancer of the lungs and kidneys. There are well established systems for reclaiming lead acid batteries, although many lead acid batteries are still finding their way into the domestic garbage collections. Dry cell batteries (the ones you think of when you hear the word battery) make up the rest of the domestic market. They are more numerous and varied, and have a complex make-up. Batteries are manufactured by such a wide range of companies and come in so many shapes and colors that sorting them for effective collection and recycling schemes remains a problem. Types of Disposable Batteries Alkaline manganese: Most commonly used batteries in the US. Used in most electronic devices. Lead acid: Used in some electronic devices and large applications. Lithum ion: Most common type of recyclable batteries. Used in some electronic devices, laptops, and cellular phones. Nickel-cadmium: Used in radios, video camers, and power tools. Contains toxic metals which must be specially recycled. Nickel-metal hydride: Used in laptops and cellular phones. Zinc carbon: Includes button cells. Found in calculators and watches. Tufts Recommends… If you need to use batteries, use rechargeable ones. Even better is avoiding batteries all together. At Tufts, all types of batteries are recyclable in battery drop bins located around campus. Alkaline batteries are technically safe to trash, but we maintain an alkaline battery recycling program to keep them out of landfills. In some countries such as Japan, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, batteries are collected separately from other domestic refuse and are disposed of as hazardous waste. In spite of various nickel cadmium battery recycling laws in Sweden and Switzerland, and collection schemes in Germany, Holland and parts of the USA, there are still very few reprocessing facilities. Links Read blog posts about batteries and electronics. www.batteryrecycling.com www.howstuffworks.com
Fitness Tracker Recycling
Have you ever upgraded your fitness tracker and wondered what to do with the old one? Wearable electronics are produced in enormous quantities, and are quickly discarded when newer models become available. This poses environmental problems, as electronics contain heavy metals and other hazardous materials that should not be sent to landfills. RecycleHealth offers an innovative solution to this issue. RecycleHealth is a charity founded by Lisa Gualtieri, an assistant professor at the at Tufts School of Medicine. The program receives used donations of all brands of activity tracking devices, such as Fitbits, Jawbones, or even Apple Watches. They then distribute the devices to underserved populations, with the goal of empowering more people to lead active lifestyles. RecycleHealth also conducts survey research on the efficacy of fitness trackers, to better understand their effect on users’ activity levels. Next time you find yourself stuck with an unwanted fitness tracker, consider donating it to RecycleHealth. Not only does this keep hazardous electronic waste out of landfills – it also extends the useful life of your old devices, and contributes to research! Learn more at recyclehealth.com.
E-Waste
What is E-Waste? Electronic waste (or e-waste) includes any used, unwanted electrical or electronic devices. Though most e-waste can be recycled or reused in some way, e-waste currently makes up around 70% of the toxic waste found in dumps. Tufts complies with Massachusetts regulation of e-waste, which bans large electronic appliances from landfills. Tufts also partners with Allied Computer Brokers, Inc. to recycle all kinds of e-waste and electronic media, including small electronic or battery-powered devices, cell phones, charges and cables (“anything with a cord”) and computer parts. These can be placed in e-waste bins located around campus in Medford, Boston, and Grafton. Find e-waste locations for all Tufts campuses on the Tufts Eco-Map. If you are a Tufts faculty or staff member and you have electronic devices which need to be recycled, please fill out a work order to have them picked up. Additionally, you can recycle your electronics through the manufacturer or retailer. Click below for more detailed information: Products Shipping Information Drop-off Information Apple (apple.com/recycling) Free with shipping form. Batteries and iPods accepted at Apple stores. HP (hp.com/recycling) Free shipping via FedEx for HP and Compaq products with pre-printed voucher. Fee for other products is $10-$25. Staples stores accept many HP and non-HP consumer products, except TVs. Dell (www.dell.com/recycle) Free shipping or pickup of Dell product. free pickup of non-Dell item with purchase of Dell product. Partnership with Goodwill for Dell Reconnect accepts any brand of electronics except mobile phones. Amazon (amzn.to/JkilQX) Free shipping for Kindles via UPS with pre-printed voucher. Not available. Samsung (samsung.com/recyclingdirect) Free mailback shipping for various products weighing less than 25 pounds. Drop Samsung and non-Samsung products at over 1,000 third-party locations. Sony (sony.com/ecotrade) Free shipping for Sony products weighing less than 25 pounds. Drop Sony products at about 850 third-party locations. Best Buy (bestbuy.com/recycling) Free recycling in stores of most products. Free appliance removal when purchasing a new one. Or, $100 for home pickup of two items. Accepts most consumer electronics, regardless of where they were purchased. Also, recycling kiosks for ink cartridges, rechargeable batteries, cord, cables, etc. Microsoft (bit.ly/roNymi) Free shipping of Microsoft hardware, including Xbox. Cellphones, rechargeable phone batteries and computers accepted at Microsoft stores. (Credit: Wall Street Journal) How to Recycle Toner and Ink Cartridges Please identify which item type you want to recycle and locate it within this list: From Konica Minolta Multi-functional devices (MFDs)— large copier/printers used by multiple people From companies where return label is provided 1. Cartridges from Konica Minolta multi-functional devices (MFDs) The University Copier Program provides Konica Minolta Multi-functional Devices (MFDs) that print, copy, scan and fax capabilities. Upon finishing a MFD toner cartridge, you should follow these steps: Open Konica Clean Planet Program in your web browser Login using your Customer ID and Zip Code. -OR- Register at Konica Clean Planet Registration -OR- use the Office of Sustainability account (Customer ID: 2000782817 Zip Code: 02155). Click the “Orders and Pickups” tab and select “Place Order” For program type, select “Single Label Program” and choose the quantity needed When you’re done click on “submit order.” Label will appear in webpage along with a box on the right which allows you to print it directly from the browser. Single labels are good for packages up to 20 pounds, giving you the option to ship multiple toner cartridges together. Affix label to package containing the old cartridge(s) and mail through UPS Most single cartridge boxes will fit in UPS drop boxes. * Further information about MFDs can be found on Tufts University Copier Program 2. Other inkjet and toner cartridges with return programs ***Anytime there is a return label in the new toner box (or instructions on how to get them) the user must send it back themselves! *** Manufacturers that place a return label in the box, include, but are not limited to: HP, Canon, Brother, Lexmark, Innovera and Epson. If a label is not provided or shipping label is misplaced you can print mailing labels directly from the manufacturer’s websites listed below. Package cartridges either in the box the new toner came in or your own box (see manufacturer website if you need to send back more than one). Use the pre-paid shipping label provided with the original box, or print label via website listed below HP: For ink and toner Generate Label Here Canon: For toner Generate Label Here, ink cartridges can be dropped off at a FedEx Print and Ship Locations or at a drop off station on campus (see below) Brother: For ink and toner Generate Label Here Lexmark: For toner Generate Label Here (Toner), for ink cartridges Generate Label Here (Ink) Epson: For ink and toner Generate Label Here Xerox: For ink and toner Generate Label Here Dell: For ink and toner Generate Label Here Samsung: For ink and toner Generate Label Here Affix label to package containing the old cartridge(s) and ship Most single cartridge boxes will fit in UPS drop boxes. Leave package at a UPS pick up point in your office or a nearby office if one exists. If necessary leave correctly labeled packages at the interoffice mail pick up location in your office and mail services will bring package to a UPS pick up location. 3. Ink Jet and Toner Cartridges without return programs Drop off at the collection sites at the campus center (lower level, in the back), 574 Boston Ave (top floor), or 520 Boston Ave (first floor, middle of hallway). **this is ONLY for cartridges from manufacturers without a return program** Why Recycle E-Waste Electronic devices contain extremely hazardous materials, including lead, mercury, and cadmium. These chemicals can leach into the soil when they’re disposed of in landfills, impacting the health of plants and animals and leading to respiratory problems in humans when inhaled. Most e-waste produced in the U.S. ends up landfills and dumps in developing countries, particularly in China, India, and Ghana. Some of the e-waste that ends up in these countries is exported illegally from Europe in the U.S. A Chinese child sits in an e-waste dump. Via Greenpeace.org Greenpeace reports that unprotected workers, many of them children, dismantle computers and TVs in order to obtain the metals that can be sold. The remaining materials are then burnt or dumped, and some of these materials contain toxic metals, including lead, in fatally high quantities. Many of the chemicals and metals are known to harm sexual reproduction and to cause cancer. Links Read blog posts about electronics recycling. Why You Should Care if Your E-Recycler is Certified, Leah Blunt, Earth 911