Category: Waste (page 2 of 10)

Food For Those in Need

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Students and staff help rescue prepared foods and create ready-to-eat meals for local families

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New Year, New Lid! Campus recycling is now mixed!

Have you noticed anything different about your favorite campus waste station?

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Recycling at the Medford/Somerville campus is now mixed! Boston will be transitioned in March 2017 and Grafton will make the switch in Summer 2017.

Recycling on the Medford/Somerville campus is now MIXED! Mixed recycling means all the materials that you currently recycle will remain the same but will not need to be separated. All paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, and metal can be mixed together in any blue bins with new UFO-shaped lids! We will keep this blog updated regularly with new information about mixed recycling. You can subscribe to regular mixed recycling email updates here.

Please remember the following when recycling:

  1. Dump out liquids.
  2. Wipe out messy food containers.

If you’re on the SMFA campus, you can expect to see this same type of waste station starting next week.  If you’re on the Boston campus, you will be transitioned in March 2017. The Grafton campus recycling system will be updated during the summer months.

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

Change is hard, but there is no need to panic! Mixed recycling is simple and easy. New mixed recycling stations provide the campus community with two primary options: recycle or landfill (along with existing composting for food waste in many locations). Trash bins are labeled with a white “Landfill” label to help remind the campus community that the trash we discard ultimately ends up in a landfill somewhere. The blue “Mixed Recycling” label indicates that all recyclables can be mixed in one bin: paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, and metal. When in doubt, please recycle!

Making the move 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. Read more about the President’s Sustainability Council goals to reduce waste here.

Frequently Asked Questions about the mixed recycling transition:

  1. What happened to the waste station next to my office?
    Waste stations have been transitioned to mixed recycling, meaning there are now only two bins at the waste station: trash and recycling. Your original central waste station may have been moved to another area on your floor during the transition, however, please do not move any waste stations. As long as you use your desk-side trash buddy, you will be able to bring your trash and recycling to a central waste station located on your floor of the building. If you have concerns, please contact recycle@tufts.edu.
  2. What does “Landfill” mean?A landfill is a facility where solid waste is taken after you throw it into the trash bin. Landfills are engineered to comply with federal regulations and keep waste dry and away from groundwater sources. Landfills are designed to bury trash — they do not help it break down at a faster rate. This means that items you send to a landfill can stay there for hundreds of years, depending on the materials. As stated in the 2013 Campus Sustainability Council Report, Tufts’ overall vision for waste is a cradle-to-cradle economy, meaning that the campus community will consider the lifecycle cost of products before purchasing them. By labeling bins with the word “Landfill” we hope to remind people about where their waste goes after it is thrown away.
  3. What goes in the “Mixed Recycling” bin? What goes in the “Landfill” bin?
    When you take the time to consider what goes in recycling versus trash, you find that most of your waste really can be recycled! For a list of accepted items, please visit the Facilities Services – Recycling & Waste Management website. We also recommend watching the video below, which explains how to recycle under the new system.

Still have questions? Please contact Facilities Services at recycle@tufts.edu.

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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!

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