Category: Waste (page 1 of 8)

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

Environmental and Sustainability Intern, Schreiber Foods (Green Bay, WI)

The duties of the Environmental and Sustainability intern will be focused on supporting the execution of the environmental/sustainability capital projects and assisting with environmental regulatory programs. This position will be based at Green Bay Home Office location.  This is a paid, year-round internship. Schreiber Foods offers flexible scheduling to accommodate your class schedule.  This position will start Fall 2016.

Apply Online

Grafton Campus Celebrates First-Ever Zero Waste Week

In April, the Grafton campus celebrated Zero Waste Week for the first time ever, joining Medford in challenging the Tufts community to recognize one’s personal footprint and reduce it.

About 30 people signed up for the challenge, which involves carrying any waste which cannot be recycled, composted, or avoided in a plastic bag clipped to one’s backpack or handbag for a full week. Participants included students from all years, interns and residents at the hospitals, and faculty. 15 participants made it to the end of the challenge, delivered their bags to the Earth Day event, and received their prize.

Some of the bags collected on Earth Day

All participants were entered into a raffle for an earth-friendly gift, which was ultimately won by Whitney Stiehler from Wildlife.

Whitney Stiehler won these hip reusable lunch containers, which make eating on the go, at your desk, or at Zero Waste events easier than ever.

After the challenge, participants reported that the exercise led them to think more about what products they were using and how everything could be disposed; they also praised the accessibility of recycling and composting on the campus for making the challenge more doable.

The Grafton campus also celebrated Earth Day with its annual tree planting next to the Agnes Varis Campus Center.

Trees are planted in honor of Earth Day.

Recycling Interns Launch Apartment Composting Program

Tufts students on the Medford campus have been composting in their dorms for several years through the Eco-Reps program. But until last year, unstaffed dorms – that is, dorms without Residential Assistants (RAs) and Eco-Reps – were left to organize the disposal of their organic waste on their own.

The Recycling and Waste Management office run by Facilities Services office set out to rectify that situation in early 2016 by launching a composting program for on-campus apartments, including Hillsides, Latin Way, and Sophia Gordon.

The program aimed to divert food waste from the trash. On-campus apartments have full kitchens, meaning students living in those spaces are more likely to be cooking regularly – and therefore producing more food waste – than students in some of the other dorms.

22 apartments received bins during the first pilot round of the program and several more joined during the spring semester.

Students who signed up for the program received a bin at the beginning of the spring semester, along with instructions about maintaining their compost and locations around campus where the bins could be emptied. Recycling interns also sent out a weekly email with tips and reminders.

Recycling is currently working to improve the program and investigating the potential of having off-campus apartments participate.

(Pictured above: Savannah Christiansen, ‘16, Recycling intern, coordinated the program’s launch in the spring of 2016.)

 

 

 

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