Sustainability at Tufts

sustainability.tufts.edu

Category: Waste (page 3 of 4)

DIY Recycled Hanukkah Decorations

The Holiday season is in full swing, and what better to make the winter a little brighter than with some do-it-yourself decorating! Earth 911 has come up with ten fun do-it-yourself decorations for Hanukkah. Check them out here and start your green decorating today!

TSC holds Fall Sustainability Roundtable

TSC's Fall Roundtable drew members from the CSC working groups and various sustainability-related organizations around campus

Tufts Sustainability Collective, the active umbrella organization for environmental groups on campus, has been very busy the past two weeks! The student-run group hosted two successful events, a Sustainability Roundtable and a Sustainability Dinner at Dewick. Both of these events have become staples each semester, so if you missed them this time around, look for their reappearance in the spring!

This fall’s Sustainability Roundtable featured the Campus Sustainability Council‘s three working groups for Energy and Emissions, Waste, and Water. Each group presented their goals for the university and their progress since convening earlier this year, pursuing a dialog with members of the Tufts community, from students to the head of Facilities.

Energy and Emissions team-members noted the achievement of meeting the standards set by Kyoto protocol by 2012 and mechanisms for decreasing the university’s carbon footprint, such as increased efficiency and switching fuels to natural gas or to distributors with renewable sources. In order to reduce energy consumption as the community continues to grow, however, a university-wide effort is called for, and the educational aspect of this goal is where the Office of Sustainability comes in!

The Waste working group focused on reducing outputs to the landfills during new construction projects and building rehabilitation. They mentioned many waste-reduction goals and plans to collaborate with Tufts Facilities in particular to “use less, reuse and recycle more” before anything is dumped in the trash.

The Water team had great news to present, including some concrete actions already in motion on the Tufts campus! Projects so far have included water reuse systems for machinery in laboratories and elsewhere, reducing the water coming in by hundreds of thousands of gallons already, and the recent construction of a university rain garden near the lower campus dorms. Rain gardens are both visually appealing and ecologically sound, ensuring rainwater is infiltrated into the soil, cleaned naturally, and returned to the groundwater rather than sent with pollutants down the storm drains. The Water working group also discussed plans to enter the EPA’s RainWorks Challenge, a national infrastructure design competition, and to look into porous pavement and gray water systems.

Read more about what was discussed at the roundtable in Tufts Daily’s news article.

-written by Anne Elise Stratton

Do It In the Dark

This week we are going to talk about the Eco-Rep initiative DO IT IN THE DARK (DIITD).  With the help of facilities we’re comparing the electricity usage from mid-October – mid-November 2011 to mid-October – mid-November 2012.  Since weather differences won’t make much of a difference with for electric usage, it should be a fair comparison.  We as students can make a tremendous difference by doing simple things like remembering to turn off our lights and computers when we leave for class.  Just switching our desk lamp to a CFL from and incandescent bulb save 75% of the electric used.  Below are some Fun Facts about how to save energy at Tufts.

Fun Energy Facts:
- 90% of the energy that goes into an incandescent bulb is wasted as heat.
- If everyone in a South a floor lamp with an incandescent bulb while they’re at class it would save 23kWh of electricity.
- If you don’t unplug your mini-fridge when you leave for Winter Break, you’d waste 20kWh of electricity.

Campus Sustainability Council Fall 2012 Update

During the summer, the Tufts Sustainability Council’s various working groups met to discuss goals for Tufts in the areas of water, waste and energy/emissions reductions.

The Water Working Group envisioned Tufts having an integrated water management approach that reduces consumption, promotes reuse, and minimizes impacts on the environment enabling Tufts to become a leader in campus water management in higher education.

To reach this goal, the Water Working Group recommends that Tufts meets and exceeds federal, state and local regulations regarding runoff, sanitation, and sewer systems; implements LEED standards for water use and quality; and ensures that Tufts students, faculty, and staff are knowledgeable of how their actions impact water use and quality and know how to mitigate negative impacts on their watersheds.

The Waste Working Group’s primary goal as discussed during their Summer meetings is an overall reduction of waste at Tufts by 3% a year through source reduction, improved waste management strategies, and a general culture change on campus with regards to waste.

Part of the Waste Working Group’s proposed strategies involves improved purchasing practices to ensure that an increased percentage of environmentally responsible products are purchased by the university.

The Energy and Emissions Working Group discussed ways for Tufts to demonstrate leadership in responsible climate action through energy efficiency, emissions reduction and adaptation. Under the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action plan, the Energy and Emissions group is committed to seeing Tufts reduce emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and reducing emissions to 75-85% below the 2001 levels by 2050.

To do this, the Energy and Emissions group is developing a laundry list of energy efficiency measures and is committed to supporting a transition away from fossil fuels and teaching the Tufts community about the importance of energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and reduced emissions.

The groups stressed a need for reporting, feedback, and community outreach to ensure that all of Tufts sustainability efforts and goals can be reached.

Over the remainder of the semester, the Water, Waste, and Energy/Emissions groups will be meeting to discuss progress towards these goals, ongoing sustainability efforts, and additional strategies the university could use to meet their goals. A draft report will be available on February 1st, 2013 for comments. The comment period will end on March 1st and a final report will be prepared for the end of the academic year.

- by Robert R. Lynch, Campus Sustainability Council Administrative Intern

Eco-Reps Weekly Updates

Zero Waste Week

Today, October 17th, is the start of Zero Waste Week! From October 17th to October 24th, 200 students will participate in this challenge to raise awareness that trash doesn’t just “disappear.” Participating students will place all trash that will not otherwise not be recycled or composted in a clear plastic bag that they will carry around with them for the week. Students should feel less compelled to create waste since they’ll have to carry it all with them! The plastic bags will be dropped off on the RezQuad at Mt. Trashmore on October 24th and the amount generated by the participants will be compared to the trash generated from a comparable sized dorm.  Visit the Office of Sustainability, the Crafts House, or find your Eco-Rep to be a part of the challenge!

Sustainability Day

October 24th, the end of Zero Waste Week, is also Sustainability Day! This event, taking place from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, focuses on raising awareness of what has been done and what needs to be worked on to become a sustainable campus. Events for this year’s Sustainability Day include Mt. Trashmore, which will feature individual piles of trash taken from Miller, Houston, Carmichael, and Hill Halls, and “The Story of Bananas” dinner at Dewick. “The Story of Bananas” dinner seeks to educate students on the path of the dining halls’ most eaten fruit from farm all the way to compost. Check out the five stations, play the fun foodie game to win banana themed prizes, and enjoy foods with bananas! In addition, Annie Leonard, the author of “The Story of Stuff” will be holding a talk, question and answer, and book signing session in Cohen Auditorium from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Eco-Rep Events

Last night Eco-Rep Sidney May, the Eco-Rep for Wren Hall, held her first event. She set up a tap water vs bottled water taste test and raffled off a Brita reusable water bottle! Sidney threw residents a fun curve ball by serving only tap water. Residents had fun doing the test and were almost always surprised they tried two cups of tap water. Way to go, Sidney!

Hill and West residents, don’t miss the Sustainability Dinner event tomorrow night put on by Eco-Reps Chantal Davis and Laina Piera. The dinner will focus on sustainability of the food in the dining halls. You can’t miss the delicious Flatbread pizzas they’ll be serving for dinner! The event takes place from 6-7pm in the Hill Hall Lounge.

Plus, look out of Do It In the Dark, an inter-dorm competition to see which can reduce their energy consumption the most over a one-month period! More information to come in our next post!

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