Today is the first day of the Tufts University Zero Waste Challenge and I am happy to report that, so far, I have accumulated zero waste! Of course, this won’t last long, as I am bound to pick up an individually wrapped peppermint from a restaurant’s greeter or mistakenly order a coffee served in a non-recyclable cup, but I am pleased with my progress thus far!
Unlike last year’s challenge, my goal with this year’s challenge will not be to accumulate as little waste as possible, but rather to test my knowledge about recycling, reuse, and composting on the Tufts campus and in our Massachusetts communities.
For example, I composted my brown paper napkins from lunch today. Did you know you could do that? Because, if not, now’s as good a time as any to start, and with ample compost bins on the Tufts Medford campus, it is not at all inconvenient to do so. I recycled today’s copy of the Daily and took advantage of scrap paper at my Office of Sustainability desk in lieu of clean notebook paper (of course, that too was recycled once I was finished with it). I even used reusable silverware and coffee mugs throughout the day, and took advantage of our campus’ plentiful water fountains to keep my reusable water bottle filled.
Thanks to Tufts’ commitment to being an environmentally sustainable campus, it is easier than ever to keep a zero waste challenge bag empty for a long period of time. If you too are up to the Zero Waste Week challenge, stop by Miller hall to pick up your one gallon bag. Pin or clip it to your backpack, satchel, or purse and keep up with everything you throw away that isn’t composted or recycled, or could have been avoided via reuse (i.e., plastic water bottles used instead of a reusable bottle).
And, don’t forget, on Wednesday, October 16th, at 12pm – bring your Zero-Waste challenge bag to the Academic Quad where the Eco-Reps will be making a pile of the Zero-Waste challenge bags alongside “Jumbo Mountains” – piles of trash generated from 5 different residence halls in the past week– to demonstrate just how much of a difference being conscious of your consumption and waste can make.
The first 100 people to drop off their bags will get free cider donuts and cider, and one bag will be chosen at random to win a cool Terracycle backpack made of recycled material (so put your email address on the bag when you drop it off!)