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.)
It’s been a busy and exciting week as the Tufts Eco-Reps got back to work across campus! First and foremost, we are very pleased to introduce Andrew Williams, our new Rep for Blakeley Hall! Andrew is a second year MALD student at the Fletcher School, an avid cyclist, and a distance runner. We’re so glad to have him join the team, and we’re looking forward to working with Fletcher students to promote sustainability.
In other news, this past week Reps continued to host “Meet-and-Greets” in their halls as a way of getting to know residents, plan future activities, and discuss sustainable behavior. Cookies, brownies, and music were all brought out to start the year off with good vibes and good humor. Many halls constructed new Terracycle boxes or reconstructed old ones as a way of further diverting wrappers from the waste stream, and composting bins have now spread to all of the dorms.
The Eco-Reps also enjoyed the Tufts Freecycle event hosted by the Sustainability Suite this past Friday. At the event, people were able to drop off old clothing, shoes, sombreros, parasols, and other items, with the opportunity to find for themselves a great pair of used jeans, a comfy sweater, or a sweet new carpet. All this, while chatting over music, fresh baked treats, and beautiful weather!
Looking ahead, the Reps are beginning to plan events and campaigns for the remainder of the semester–things that should be both a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment. That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and stay green!
It’s easy to do the Zero Waste Challenge when you are at a place like Tufts, where recycling bins abound and compost drops are available on campus. Still, here are some good tips to keep in mind:
- Snack on fresh fruit – it’s healthier AND it’s compostable.
- Carry a small tupperware to put food to compost later.
- Bring your lunch and use the container to get takeout for dinner.
- Get your drinks without a straw.
- Avoid individually wrapped tea or drink loose leaf tea.
- Always bring a reusable mug or water bottle.
Photo courtesy of Tufts Dining
- Save 20 cents at Mugar Cafe, Tower Cafe, Brown & Brew, Hodgdon Good-to-Go & Commons Deli if you bring your own mug.
- The Tufts “Choose to Reuse” clear water bottle will get you a discount on any fountain beverage at Mugar Cafe, Hodgdon Good-to-Go, Commons Deli, and Tower Cafe. Water and sparkling water will also be discounted at Hotung Cafe.
A few things to remember:
- Aluminum foil and yogurt cups are recyclable.
- All napkins are compostable.
- Any rigid plastic can be recycled – including coffee stirrers. (It doesn’t have to fit through the openings of the recycling bin, by the way – just lift the cover.)
- Energy bar wrappers and chip bags are recyclable. Tufts has Terracycle brigades on campus.
For more information on recycling and composting at Tufts, visit the TuftsRecycles! website.
Good luck and have fun!
Last September, the AS&E Faculty Meeting announced their plans to “Go Green” with initiatives such as switching from paper to electronic copies of meeting documents, recycling, composting, and encouraging attendees to bring their own cups and silverware.
We are incredibly pleased to share their results from last fall, via an email from Jillian Dubman, Secretary of the Faculty for AS&E:
“On behalf of the Office of the Provost, we wanted to thank all of you who have supported the go-green initiative during the fall 2011 A&S and A&S&E faculty meetings. Because of your efforts, we have:
- Composted 24 bags of post-meeting waste
Instead of throwing out 24 bags of trash
- Recycled all forks and knives
Instead of putting these items back in the trash (and consequently, the ground)
- Cut back meeting document waste
Instead of wasting our paper resources
Most importantly, these efforts make the A&S and A&S&E faculty meetings zero-waste events!”
Congratulations to Jillian and Courtney Spieler for their hard work in spearheading the greening of faculty meetings! May your actions inspire others and move Tufts closer towards becoming a zero-waste campus.