Category: Waste (page 1 of 9)

Medford/Somerville Winter Break Recycling Bin Update

Over the winter break, Tufts will begin transitioning the Medford/Somerville campus from dual stream recycling to mixed recycling.

Bins without lids

Custodial staff will start collecting both green and blue recycling lids and extra recycling bins from university offices. and waste stations will be reduced from 3 bins to 2 bins in many locations. Staff and faculty who are working on campus during this period should put their glass, metal, plastic, paper, and cardboard recycling in any bin with a recycling sticker because all items will be recycled together as part of the new mixed recycling program.

Mixed recycling labels and updated lids will be added to campus waste stations throughout the month.

Mixed Recycling Waste Station

New waste stations will contain 1 bin for trash and 1 bin for recycling. Paper, plastic, glass, and metal should be placed in the same bin.

ufo-shaped lid

A ufo-shaped lid will replace the traditional blue and green recycling bin lids. The new lid will allow the Tufts community to conveniently recycle objects of a variety of shapes and sizes.

Thank you for your cooperation as Tufts works to improve its recycling program. Please contact us at recycle@tufts.edu with any questions.

Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative Fall 2016 Summary

We would like to congratulate the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative, Tufts Dining, and Food For Free on an amazing fall semester! The infographic below shows what they accomplished in 2016.

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3 Things the Zero Waste Challenge Taught Me

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The Zero Waste Challenge entails collecting everything that I don’t recycle or compost in a clear Ziploc bag that I clip to my backpack for a week. This was an eye opening experience and (literally) helped me see what type of and how much trash I produced. Here are a few takeaways from my experience!

Zero Waste Challenge Ziplock

My Ziploc bag three days into the Zero Waste challenge

1. Not all paper and plastic are recyclable…

Before my 8:30 AM class, I stop by Hotung Café to pick up their sausage and egg breakfast sandwich. The packaging is made out of waxed paper and plastic. At first glance, I thought I would simply separate the plastic and paper, recycle, and go on with my day.

However, waxed paper cannot be recycled because paper is recycled with water, so any type of wax or oil coating would contaminate the batch. (Check out this infographic that illustrates this process by the Recycle Guide!)

Soft plastics and plastic bags cannot be recycled either. I learned about the Scrunch test—if the plastic item can be scrunched easily into a ball or breaks apart easily, it can’t go into your recycling bin. Unfortunately, the breakfast sandwich packaging ended up becoming the first item in my Ziploc bag.

2. I Use So. Many. Paper Towels

Maybe it’s living with friends, maybe it’s being in college, but my house uses up a lot of paper towels. I’ve noticed that I use them for the smallest things—wiping down the table, picking up food waste in the sink, or even drying my hands after doing the dishes.

These paper towels were piling up in my Ziploc quickly, and I realized I need to make a change in my cleaning habits. I first started to use a small cloth towel to wipe my hands after the dishes, and designated another small towel for wiping down the table.

3. Easy to cook? Difficult to recycle!

As college students, we are probably all guilty of buying premade, or easy-to-cook food like mac and cheese, frozen hot pockets, and ramen. I’ve noticed that I couldn’t recycle any of this packaging. During the Zero Waste Challenge, I started to cook a lot of things from scratch.

Instead of buying individually packaged meals, I bought items in bulk. I got glass bottles of sauces and a big package of noodles, both of which will last a long time. As an added bonus, I noticed that this only adds a few more minutes to my cooking!

Intern, MassDEP (Various Locations)

The Department of Environmental Protection is the state agency responsible for ensuring clean air and water, the safe management of toxics and hazards, the recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources. In an effort to assist MassDEP with its succession planning, MassDEP continues to recruit individuals who are interested in working and utilizing their skills in the environmental field. MassDEP is providing opportunities to undergraduate students, graduate students, law school students, and other individuals who are seeking experience in the environmental field.

Application Deadline: November 25th
Apply Online

Recycling at Tufts is about to get easier…

Today is America Recycles Day!

To celebrate, Facilities Services and the Office of Sustainability are excited to announce the introduction of mixed recycling (single stream recycling) at the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus starting in the spring 2017 semester. The glass/metal/plastic and paper/cardboard bins on the Medford/Somerville campus will be replaced with mixed recycling bins that can be identified by their UFO-shaped lids, blue bags, and mixed recycling labels. The SMFA can look forward to seeing an increase in this style of bin in January as well.

The Cummings School and the Boston Health Sciences campus will be switched to mixed recycling in the summer of 2017.

A dual stream waste station at Tufts which includes a bin for glass/metal/plastic and a bin for paper/cardboard.

Tufts currently uses a dual stream system, which requires separating glass, metal and plastic containers from paper and cardboard items. Starting in January 2017 all these items will now be collected in one bin.

What is Mixed Recycling?

“Mixed recycling” means that the items you normally sort into the blue and green-capped recycling bins (paper/cardboard and glass/metal/plastic) can be disposed of together. Recycling materials collected will remain the same but will not need to be separated.

Mixed Recycling Station

A mixed recycling station set up for testing.

Mixed Recycling Lid

The UFO-shaped mixed recycling lids will allow people to dispose of items in a variety of shapes (e.g. bottles and cardboard).

 

Why is Tufts Moving to Mixed Recycling?

  1. It’s easier for you!

The ability to put paper/cardboard and glass/metal/plastic recycling in one bin will make recycling simple and easy, providing the campus community with two primary options for disposing of waste: “Mixed Recycling” or “Landfill” (along with composting for food waste in some locations).

  1. Our waste stream is changing

The switch to mixed recycling is a direct reaction to the changing needs of the recycling industry: with increased demand for more efficient packaging and changes in personal habits, the makeup of the nation’s waste stream is changing. At one time, paper made up to 70 percent of the weight flowing through recycling programs, but now it accounts for less than 40 percent in many cities. More complex, lightweight materials have begun to replace paper; Tufts’ mixed recycling program will accommodate the disposal of these changing materials more efficiently.

  1. Mixed recycling will support Tufts’ waste reduction goals

Transitioning to mixed recycling supports Tufts’ larger plan to improve solid waste and recycling efforts in line with the President’s Campus Sustainability Council’s goal of reducing total waste by 3% per year. Every Tufts community member is asked and expected to help the university meet its waste goals by educating themselves about their campus’s move to mixed recycling.

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