Category: Sustainability News (page 2 of 29)

Join the Tufts Freecycle Elist

In the 2013 Campus Sustainability Council Report, Tufts committed to increasing the amount of items that are reused at the university as part of its broader waste reduction efforts and commitment to fostering a cradle-to-cradle economy. Tufts’ Freecycle Elist was created by Eco-Ambassador Stacie Simon and is an important tool for increasing the reuse of items at the university by diverting still functional equipment, furniture, and supplies from the waste stream.

The elist provides a platform for exchanging items that individuals or offices at Tufts no longer need but might be of use to others, and it is open to all members of the Tufts community. The elist can be used for the exchange of work-related items or personal items – all for free.

Examples of items that might be exchanged include the following:

  • AV equipment (not owned by TTS)
  • Lab equipment (not owned by school)
  • Office lamps
  • Bookshelves and filing cabinets
  • Computer chairs
  • Appliances for kitchenettes/breakrooms
  • Personal copiers/printers
  • Office workstations and desks
  • Conference tables
  • Area rugs
  • Office supplies (e.g. printer cartridges, file folders)
  • Children’s items and toys
  • Personal electronics (e.g. printers, TVs)
  • Home furniture

Click here to sign up for the elist, and search for the Freecycle list. Once you have subscribed to the list, you will be able to send messages to the group regarding items you would like to freecycle and receive messages from others. Messages should include an item description, location, and photo (if available).

4 Quick Tips to Keep Your Dorm Room Green During Spring Break

Spring break is finally upon us, and many of us can’t wait to head out for some much needed R&R. But whether you’re heading home, hitting the beach somewhere warmer, taking a road trip or going off the grid for a few days of hiking, don’t forget that all the systems that make your dorm room comfortable when school is in session keep working even when you aren’t!

If you’re leaving campus for the week, take a second while you pack or prep to go over this mini-checklist. Help ensure that your dorm room or apartment is using as little energy as possible while you’re away.

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Not only will this help reduce heat loss, it’s also a good precaution to take in case of heavy rain and wind.

If you’re able to control your room temperature, turn it down to about 65 degrees, or slightly cooler than you normally keep it. You’ll be able to quickly bring your room back up to temperature when you return. (But fingers crossed that it’ll be warm enough that you won’t need to!)

(via Tufts Photo)

 

3. Report any leaking faucets.

Alert Facilities to the leak before you leave. Small drips add up!

(Photo via motherearthnews.com)

4. Unplug any non-essential appliances.

Don’t worry about your refrigerator, but if you have a coffee machine, toaster, alarm clock, desk lamp, hair dryer, game console or other appliance which doesn’t need to stay on during the break, unplug it to reduce phantom energy loss.

(Photo via unh.edu)

 

4 Takeaways from Tufts’ On-Campus Apartment Composting Program

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Growing up, my family always had a little white bucket with a green lid next to our sink. While cooking, we’d fill it with fruit peels, coffee grounds, the rough ends of root vegetables: basically anything our chickens wouldn’t eat. Once the bucket filled up, someone (usually my dad) would dump the contents onto a large pile in our backyard. And just like that, we composted!

Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that, as I learned over time – composting also requires attention to temperature, contaminants, and other environmental factors – but composting was an entirely normal part of our kitchen system. Tufts’ new apartment composting program operates a lot like that: it’s an easy introduction into the practice of composting, with institutional support to make sure you know what you’re doing (and someone else takes care of the complicated parts!).

The program provides apartments with a compost bin, instructions, odor-reducing materials, and ongoing support. And it’s really that simple!

 

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

1. Location, Location, Location

Placement matters! In my parents’ kitchen, the compost bin sits right next to the sink, which made it just as easy to throw something into the compost as into the trash. In our dorm, there’s no ideal location, so the compost bin sits on the wide sill of the kitchen window. The trash is closer to our cooking space and much more visible, which was initially an obstacle to adjusting our  behaviors.

TIP: If you can’t relocate your compost bin, play around with others to make it more convenient and visible. My suitemate requested a sign explaining what could and could not be composted, and I hung it next to the stove so anyone cooking or reaching into the cabinet would be reminded. The positive association with Zac Efron might help, too.

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2. Composting is Contagious

For a few weeks, I was the only one using the bin, but my suitemates have really gotten on board. And not only are they composting, but they ask me clarifying questions and once even moved some food scraps out of the trash and into the compost bin! I haven’t figured out whether they are merely following my lead because my behavior has normalized composting or whether they’re afraid of my judgment if they don’t compost….

TIP: Be a composting trendsetter! There are a lot of reasons why people don’t compost, whether out of habit or from lack of knowledge. Like most behavior changes, though, reinforcing the ease and benefits of a behavior is a lot more effective than trying to make people feel bad for their current habits.

Kate, CJ, and Savannah from TuftsRecycles! are excited to have so many students composting!

3. Don’t Procrastinate

Emptying our compost bin remains our only challenge. I’m typically the one taking it out, so I’ll put it off because I have to take the container out and bring it back in and therefore can’t do it on the way to class… It’s really not a hardship at all, but it requires a little forethought and I tend to put off emptying the bin. Our bin fills up pretty quickly and during the warmer months, we’ve dealt with odors and fruit flies. Luckily, TuftsRecycles! sends out weekly reminders.

TIP: Try to set a regular date and time to take out your compost. You could even set a reminder on your phone or calendar. Emptying your compost early and often will reduce smells and prevent messes! There are drop-off locations all across campus.

4. It’s Not Just Food Scraps

Many compost programs accept items like non-plastic utensils and packing materials when made out of organic, readily decomposable materials. Once you start composting, you start noticing items in your life which you could replace with compostable items. For instance, our suite uses bleached paper towels, but if we switched to non-bleached – the brown kind Tufts uses in bathrooms across campus – we could compost those as well. The long-term best option would be to move away from paper towels altogether, but it would be a start!

TIP: When in doubt, this handy guide will help you sort it out. Municipal or private composting guidelines in greater Boston might be different from places where you have composted in the past.

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Your Turn: Get Composting!

  • Request a bin for your dorm or on-campus apartment.
  • You can always just use a bucket or bin of your own, preferably one with a lid and some ventilation.
  • The Tufts Bookstore now stocks compost bags to line your bin.
  • No matter where you live or whether you are part of the program, you can dump your compost at central compost locations on campus.

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  • Live off-campus or not at Tufts? Look into composting in your backyard or participating in a municipal composting program. Medford and Somerville offer compost bins and can help connect you with a compost collector.

You’d be surprised how much of your kitchen waste you can divert from a landfill through this one simple change.

 

Apply to be an Eco-Representative!

ecorepresentatives

 

Are you eager to learn and teach about ecological issues? Are you outgoing and a self-starter? Do you practice environmentally responsible behavior and want to share such practices with your hallmates and peers? Apply to be an Eco-Rep!

The Tufts Eco-Reps are a group of residential students who help to raise awareness about ecological issues, encourage environmentally responsible behavior among their hall mates and peers, and plan related events and activities. Other duties will include group activities, collaborative projects, and opportunities to represent the Eco-Reps Program at various campus events. Any returning student that lives in university housing is eligible. Learn more  about being an Eco-Rep.

Applications are open for the 2016-2017 school year. Submit your application to applytuftsecoreps@gmail.com by April 5th.

 

 

Hillside Community Meeting — Medford Campus

What additions would you make to the retail mix along Boston Ave and the commercial node at Winthrop Street in Medford? How frequently do you patronize the businesses that are there now, and what would make you spend more time in the area? How could the streetscape be improved? Traffic calming? Safer pedestrian and bike circulation? Bike racks? Benches? Trees? Pedestrian-scale street lights? Parklets? Student housing? Mixed-use development? How do you think the future College Ave Green Line Station will/should affect the Boston Ave corridor and Tufts campus?

Tufts students, staff, and faculty are invited to share their ideas about improving the Hillside business district and surrounding neighborhood and helping to shape its future. The Business and Economic Development Committee of Mayor Burke’s Transition Team will be hosting a a community meeting to promote discussion on these critical topics.

The community meeting is tonight, Wednesday, March 9, from 6 pm to 8 pm, in room 401 of 574 Boston Ave.

Can’t make tonight’s meeting? Visit the website of the City of Medford for future meeting dates.

 

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