To celebrate, Facilities Services and the Office of Sustainability are excited to announce the introduction of single stream recycling at Tufts starting in the spring 2017 semester!
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 as a “single stream” of material in one bin.
What is Single Stream?
“Single stream” means that all the items you normally sort into the blue and green-capped recycling bins can be disposed of together! Recycling materials collected will remain the same but will not need to be separated.
After the winter recess, Tufts students, faculty, and staff can begin placing all these recyclables in a single recycling bin.
Why is Tufts Moving to Single Stream?
It’s easier for you!
Introducing the ability to put all recycling in one bin will make recycling simple and easy, providing the campus community with two primary options for disposing of waste: “All Recycling” or “Landfill” (along with composting for food waste in some locations).
Our waste stream is changing
The switch to single stream 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 single stream recycling program will accommodate the disposal of these changing materials more efficiently.
Single stream will support Tufts waste reduction goals
Transitioning to single stream 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 single stream recycling. Read more about the President’s Sustainability Council goals to reduce waste here.
Beginning this fall, the free campus shuttle which runs a loop along Boston Avenue on the Medford/Somerville campus will add a stop at the Whole Foods store on Mystic Valley Parkway.
Though there are several groceries stores near campus readily accessible by car, reaching them by foot or by bike — and returning with a load of groceries — can be difficult, inconvenient, and time-consuming. The new shuttle stop will provide students with another option for fresh produce and other healthy food and make doing errands simpler and more sustainable.
The revised schedule will also include a stop at the Mayer Campus Center, thereby linking the Boston Ave and Davis Square shuttles and making travel between the different sectors of campus and its surroundings more feasible.
Recycling interns Alex Cherry and Megan Mooney worked with Administrative Services to make the change possible. Cherry notes that Whole Foods offers a bottle and can return station and hopes students will use the shuttle for that service as well.
Administrative Services hosts information about shuttle schedules and the shuttle tracker app. The shuttles will begin operating once the school year starts, but the Boston Ave shuttle is available here.
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 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.)
Tufts is joining a rapidly growing number of colleges and universities in adopting a proven new office waste management program for faculty and staff that we’re calling the “trash buddy” initiative. Tufts has a robust recycling program, but with your participation in the “trash buddy” initiative, we can do better!
A trash buddy is a miniature trash can that attaches to the blue paper recycling bin in your individual office or cubicle. The trash buddy replaces your traditional desk-side trash can, and its size represents the typical proportion of office waste that is truly trash. The trash buddy’s small volume and attachment to the recycled paper bin encourage recycling. Comparable programs at other universities and organizations increased recycling rates by up to 55%.
All waste produced at your desk that is not recyclable should be disposed of in the trash buddy, and you should empty the trash buddy into a central waste station when it fills up or whenever you find convenient. Only paper and cardboard should be placed in the desk-side recycling bin the trash buddy attaches to. Central waste stations are typically found in common or well-traversed spaces in your office or building and include a trash bin, a paper and cardboard recycling bin, and a glass, metal, and plastic recycling bin. Custodians will empty the central waste stations every day and will empty your individual paper recycling bin weekly when your office or cubicle is cleaned.
This is Andrew, the Fletcher School’s Eco-Representative. For this week’s post I’ll give you an idea of what it is like to be the Eco-Rep for Blakeley Hall, Fletcher’s graduate student dormitory. First, some background: Blakeley was built in 1926, in a Georgian style of architecture. It has three wings set around a courtyard, with seven independent towers of rooms. The middle tower houses Blakeley’s common room and kitchen, which serves as the busiest gathering space for residents, and the source of delicious smells when students cook dinner or prepare baked goods as a method of procrastination during exam periods…
Every year, about eighty students in Fletcher’s various degree programs spend a year (or a semester, for exchange students) in singles, doubles, and triples. Many residents come from overseas, which results in a vibrant social scene and a tremendous variety of cuisines prepared in the kitchen. Residents routinely come together for dorm-wide events, like communal cooking events, pick-up cricket matches in the courtyard, and Fletcher’s infamous Blakeley Halloween Party.
As to Eco-Rep and sustainability initiatives, Blakeley, like all Tufts dorms, has receptacles for recycling and compost collection. Each tower contains recycling containers on the ground floor, and the communal compost bin is located in the kitchen. I am happy to report that since the beginning of the school year, Blakeley residents have increased their average weekly compost collection by about 60%! Lastly, each of Blakeley’s towers will contain boxes for TerraCycle recycling. Regarding recycling, we may have to wait until Recyclemania to ascertain how well residents are sorting their materials. Residents have been keeping tabs on recycling and composting, asking me many good questions, and offering suggestions on ways to make Blakeley even greener. I’m very encouraged thus far by their enthusiasm and look forward to holding further Eco-Rep events at the dorm. Next up this month: a pie baking event with a review of composting and recycling best practices!