Today is America Recycles Day!
To celebrate, Facilities Services and the Office of Sustainability are excited to announce the introduction of mixed recycling (single stream recycling) at the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus starting in the spring 2017 semester. The glass/metal/plastic and paper/cardboard bins on the Medford/Somerville campus will be replaced with mixed recycling bins that can be identified by their UFO-shaped lids, blue bags, and mixed recycling labels. The SMFA can look forward to seeing an increase in this style of bin in January as well.
The Cummings School and the Boston Health Sciences campus will be switched to mixed recycling in the summer of 2017.
A dual stream waste station at Tufts which includes a bin for glass/metal/plastic and a bin for paper/cardboard.
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 in one bin.
What is Mixed Recycling?
“Mixed recycling” means that the items you normally sort into the blue and green-capped recycling bins (paper/cardboard and glass/metal/plastic) can be disposed of together. Recycling materials collected will remain the same but will not need to be separated.
A mixed recycling station set up for testing.
The UFO-shaped mixed recycling lids will allow people to dispose of items in a variety of shapes (e.g. bottles and cardboard).
Why is Tufts Moving to Mixed Recycling?
- It’s easier for you!
The ability to put paper/cardboard and glass/metal/plastic recycling in one bin will make recycling simple and easy, providing the campus community with two primary options for disposing of waste: “Mixed Recycling” or “Landfill” (along with composting for food waste in some locations).
- Our waste stream is changing
The switch to mixed recycling 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’ mixed recycling program will accommodate the disposal of these changing materials more efficiently.
- Mixed recycling will support Tufts’ waste reduction goals
Transitioning 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.
These past two weeks, the Eco-Reps have been in contact with people all over campus. Professor Nancy Gleason talked to us about sustainable development. Our own Ben Rabe shared his experience working as an energy auditor before coming to Tufts and how it relates to dorm life. As you know from our last blog post, we’ve been doing work with Tufts Recycles to work on the Recyclemania challenge. In addition to all of this, our reps have been hard at work planning their first events of the semester. Look out for flyers advertising your dorms event!
Fletcher School alumnus and beloved professor Nancy Gleason’s talk to the Reps about sustainable development was one of the most anticipated meetings of the semester. On the university level, Professor Gleason emphasized that college is the most sustainably most students will ever live in their entire lives. We rarely use cars, all of our food in the dining halls and dorms is composted, we have have low flow shower heads, easily accessible recycling and terracycling. Even those not conscious of sustainable living are living more sustainably. Our mission as Eco-Reps is to make people aware of this fact so that Tufts’ students can graduate being aware of their effect on the planet. On a larger scale, Professor Gleason emphasized climate refugees, the people that will be displaced due to rising sea levels. Some uphill reps will be having an event talking about this the week before spring break. Find out more about Professor Gleason, her work, and her classes. (She’s extremely nice and knowledgeable.)
Ben Rabe, the Blakely Eco-Rep, worked as an energy auditor in Minnesota after undergrad before coming to the Fletcher School. Energy Auditors show you how your home is using energy, where you’re losing it and how to make it more efficient. Ben gave us a presentation of how this relates to dorm life. Opening your window on the top floor of a building for example, doesn’t let any air in, unless there’s a breeze, it just lets air out. This only serves to make the bottom floors colder! If you would like more information regarding dorm energy usage and how you can help, contact Ben!
Recyclemania is in full swing! Tufts could be doing A LOT better. We are doing okay, but so far our first round results are lower than last year. Keep up with your progress here! Also, learn what is recyclable at Tufts . It’s an easy how to guide of what goes in each bin at Tufts. If you live in Lewis or Tilton, hall snack trash sort demonstrations are coming your way. We know Tufts students love being green so let’s show our support for Tufts and the Environment and beat Harvard this year in the National competition!
Last but not least, some great Eco-Rep events are coming up. West and Hill will be joint hosting a Lorax bike-powered movie night! South will be having tasty bike-powered smoothies. Other tasty events to look forward to are Vishakha’s composting event with dirt cups (those delicious pudding + oreo + gummy bear creations) and Sidney’s delicious vegan foods event. Other events are on their way as well. If you live in these dorms definitely go! But if you don’t live in these dorms, you can still come! I know all the reps will be wanting in on these amazing events and treats. If you don’t like delicious food or the environment, then come hang out and let us know what kind of event you want to see from us!
Thanks for reading!
Hi everyone! The Eco-Reps program is proud to welcome four new reps for the spring 2013 semester. Vishakha Ramakrishnan is in Bush Hall. Charlotte Clarke is taking over Hill. Norihito Naka is joining Haskell Hall. You can find out more about our lovely new members here.
Spring events preview
This past week all the Reps hosted “meet and greets” in their dorm. We run these events every semester to get to know some new residents and reconnect with others. Each rep offered a unique event featuring everything from baked goods to recycling pledges to green dorm room surveys!
This semester we have some big events we’ll be working on as a group. For the first one we are teaming up with Tufts Recycles to work on Recyclemania. Recyclemania is a national competition to see which university is the best at recycling. The grade scale focuses on the percentage of recyclables thrown in the trash can. At Tufts, we will also be doing an inter-dorm competition. Be sure to look out for grades posted in your building and around campus. The Eco-Reps kicked off the event in Dewick dining hall last wednesday passing out candy and information regarding the event. You can track our national progress and learn more about the competition at http://recyclemaniacs.org/.
A team of our reps met with David McGraw at the Office for Campus Life this past week to talk about making Spring Fling more sustainable. We’ll be working more on this during the upcoming weeks.
Last but not least, Meatless Meals will be happening in Dewick dining hall Wednesdays from 6-7 pm.