Category: sustainability tips (page 2 of 4)

4 Ways To Eliminate Plastic From Your Life

 

According to a National Geographic article, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been created since manufacturing of the material began six decades ago. The article also estimates that 91% of all plastic consumed around the world is not recycled.

As you may have seen on social media,  many people have attempted to avoid using plastic products completely for the month of July, as a part of Plastic-Free July. Although July is coming to an end, that does not mean that we should abandon the effort to reduce our plastic consumption.

Here are just a few small changes you can make to reduce your consumption of plastic on a daily basis:

Ditch Bottled Beverages and Disposable Cups:

According to a 2017 article, “a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute.”  That comes down to around 20,000 plastic bottles every second! Not only is using a reusable mug or water bottle a great way to reduce plastic consumption, it may also save you some money. Many coffee shops and other stores offer discounts to those who bring their own bottles and mugs.

Bring Your Own Bag

As with reusable mugs and bottles, bringing your own reusable bag to grocery stores often gets you a discount. To take a step further, you can also purchase reusable mesh bags for produce instead of using the plastic bags available in the produce section of grocery stores.

Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk is not always feasible if you do not have many mouths to feed in your home. As an alternative, many grocery stores have bulk sections where you can purchase items like grains, nuts, spices and dried fruits from bulk bins in the exact quantities that you need. Bringing your own container and measuring out the exact amount of an item you need is a great way to eliminate both packaging waste and food waste – because are you really going to use up that large container of cardamom you bought to make curry that one time?

Use Reusable Utensils

Whenever possible, try bringing your own utensils and plates to events and meetings where food may be served. For packed lunches, you could invest in a reusable sandwich or snack bag to replace single-use plastic bags. You could even try out beeswax wrap, an alternative to plastic wrap!

Summer Sustainability On-The-Go

It’s the last day of classes, which means summer is around the corner. It is a time for traveling, whether you’re going home or you’re off to somewhere new. To make your trip more sustainable, be conscious about planning before you leave.

  1. Packing: Bring reusable utensils, tupperware, water bottles, shopping bags. Our sustainable packing video has great tips and tricks to make packing for break easy and sustainable!
  2. Moving Out: The items you do not wish to bring home with you do not necessarily belong in the landfill. Donate or recycle clothes, books, plastic bags, electronics and more at our Move Out stations. Find more information on our website. 
  3. Leaving: Unplug all electronics, close all windows, turn down the heat, and eat or pack your perishable foods.
  4. Travelling: Take public transportation like busses and trains, carpool, and avoid flying less than 500 miles, and buy a carbon offset if you can.

500 miles radius from Tufts.

5. Enjoy: Feast on locally sourced dishes and treat your destination with respect.

What to pack for spring break

Are you traveling next week? Remember to pack these items to reduce waste on your trip!

Eating: Bring a fork, spoon, and knife. Or, to save space, bring a spork or chopsticks! Make sure you only bring a knife in your checked luggage. In addition, bring a few cloth napkins – they double as handkerchiefs.

Drinking: Definitely remember to pack a reusable water bottle. You may even want a travel mug for coffee and tea, too.

Transporting: Once you’re done eating, you’ll need Tupperware for leftovers. Carry the Tupperware and your Tufts Office of Sustainability reusable sandwich bag in a reusable shopping bag.

Toiletries: Invest in small reusable containers to bring small amounts of shampoo, sunscreen, and face wash on your trip instead of buying the travel size toiletries. Also, pack a wash cloth and a menstrual cup.

 

Last, but not least, bring mindfulness about your waste and consumption on your trip! As a visitor, treat your destination with respect.

Bring Home Sustainability

Congratulations, you finished the semester! You’re done with finals and are heading home for winter break. We know that before you left campus, you made sure to unplug all of your electronics, turn the heat down to 1, and close all of your windows.

You’re officially ready to leave for break, but don’t forget about sustainability while you’re at home. While at school, we are often shielded from a lot of the waste that is created on our behalf. In the dining halls, we often don’t see all of the packaging that goes into food production and all of the food waste at the end of meals. At home, we can be more aware of the waste we produce.

How to bring sustainability home with you:

Remember to recycle!

At home, it can be easy to put all waste into the trash bin. So, remember all of the good recycling habits that you learned at Tufts and bring them home with you. Always sort your waste into bins destined for the landfill or recycling.

Care to compost!

At Tufts, the Eco-Reps take out compost from the dorms, but at home, there might not be a city-wide composting program. If you don’t, talk to your family starting your own compost pile at home. When food waste is sent to the landfill, it releases methane gas. When food waste is recycled to form fertile soil. Learn more about how to create a compost at home from the EPA.

Reduce your food waste.

Holiday meals are notorious for their large spreads of food. Make sure you eat what you can and that you save any leftovers. Read more tips for a sustainable, food-centric holiday from our Thanksgiving blog.

Think before you buy!

Have you ever thought about how much energy, labor, water, and raw materials go into everything that you buy? Before buying new, try reusing what you already have, or buy used and save money. Watch The Story of Stuff to learn more about the life cycle of some of our most used goods.

Be wary of plastic packaging! 

Plastic film cannot be recycled and is used in many single-use items. Before you buy something in plastic wrapping, try looking for a bulk size to cut down on packaging waste or find a similar item that’s not wrapped in plastic.

Make sustainability your New Year’s resolution!

In 2018, commit to being more sustainable and taking steps to reduce your environmental impact. Read some great tips for how to live more sustainably from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Bring on the sweater weather!

Put on a sweater before turning up the heat. Save energy in your home by keeping the temperature down, and if you get chilly, then put on a sweater and some cozy socks before turning up the heat.

Connect and engage!

Being home is a great time to reconnect with your family, friends, and community. Share your passion for sustainability with your communities at home. Here are some tips for .

Enjoy your time off from lectures, exams, and projects, but don’t forget about your environmental impact and responsibilities. Enjoy a restful and sustainable winter break!

 

Finals Heat, Winter Needs, and Holiday Greets

Picture Credits: Tufts University

Stressed about finals? Excited about winter break? Procrastinating moving out? Have no fear! Follow our tips and tricks to handle your end-of-year stress in the most efficient and sustainable way!

Stay Toasty in a Sweater

Heaters use up a lot of energy. While we don’t encourage anyone to freeze in their rooms, remember to be conscious of how high your heat is turned up. Often times wearing a sweater or warmer clothes can help keep your dorm heating low while allowing you to be warm and cozy.

Closing Up When You Leave

Remember to shut all windows when you move out so that heat doesn’t escape the room. This helps save energy and money! Leave your heat setting to no.1- not on the snowflake- so the pipes don’t freeze. If your windows don’t close, be sure to put in a work order request before you leave!

Pull the Plug

Electronics and power cords run the risk of short circuiting or fuse bursting if left plugged in. Avoid any possibilities of mishaps and unplug all power chords and cables from sockets.

Gateway to Winter

Your mini-fridges can often get moldy and smelly if left shut and unplugged for a long time. Don’t forget to keep your fridge door open with a towel underneath to catch the melting ice.

Donate Instead of Waste

Finals are stressful. Often times we don’t want to take a second look at our books after we are done. If you already plan to get rid of your leftover paper, books, pens, and other materials, donate them. Someone else could benefit from your donations, and so will the environment!

Pizza Crusts and Coffee Mugs

Finals season calls for higher doses of caffeine and late-night snacks. If you are an avid beverage drinker, be mindful of the waste you generate. Reusable coffee mugs are a great way to reduce the number of visits you make to the trashcan.

While you enjoy snacks, and stock up on them in your dorms, composting leftovers is an effective way to dispose of your waste rather than throwing it in bins. Find composting tips and tricks from Facilities Services.

Santa in the Papers

Exchanging presents and goodies is a tradition for a lot of people this season. However, wrapping paper wastes a lot of plastic and is harmful to the environment. Get creative instead; wrap your presents in newspapers that are self-painted or designed. Your loved ones will appreciate the personal touch, and the environment will also be smiling!

 

The Office of Sustainability wishes everyone speedy finals and happy holidays! Remember to do your part in keeping your surroundings clean, green, and healthy.

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