Tag Archives: update

Campus Sustainability Council update: Waste Working Group

Since the beginning of March, the three Working Groups of the Campus Sustainability Council have been meeting to discuss the current state of energy/emissions, water, and waste policies and practices at Tufts, and to create new policy measures in these areas.

The Waste Working Group met for the first time on March 12th and reviewed its roles and responsibilities, which include collaborating to create university-wide solid waste reduction/avoidance goals, presenting goals to the main Council for feedback and approval, and creating strategies to meet the goals, including implementation planning.

The group reviewed how Tufts manages its waste as well as consumption data. They learned that causes of waste output variations are usually hard to determine but that waste increases noticeably during a strong economy and times of high consumption, and that reduced consumption and reusing materials could impact waste output considerably. The group reviewed the waste breakdown for the past several years on the Boston and Medford campuses. Finally, the group looked into strategies for waste reduction. The waste management hierarchy follows, from most preferred to least preferred:

  • Source reduction and reuse
  • Recycling/composting
  • Energy recovery
  • Treatment and disposal

In the second meeting, the Waste Working Group decided to break down into smaller sub-groups, and the third meeting was spent working within those groups. The groups, along with their objectives, are:

  • Waste Management
    • To identify gaps and weaknesses in current waste management and address gaps, and to achieve uniformity in waste management practices wherever possible
    • Group will cover practices and metrics
  • Source Reduction
    • Group will impact waste reduction and responsible choices through purchasing contracts and client interface
  • Labs and Hospitals
    • Group will focus on laboratory and hospital waste management including animal facilities
  • Marketing and Education
    • Group will raise the level of awareness for waste reduction across all Tufts communities through behavior change

The working group members are now in the process of brainstorming goals and areas of policy change within their subgroups. Once this process is complete, the sub-groups will discuss their findings and the Waste Working Group will make a report to the Sustainability Council. The working group is co-chaired by Gretchen Kaufman, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Medicine in the Department of Environmental and Population Health and Director of the Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dawn Quirk, Waste Reduction Program Manager in Tufts Facilities Services.

As always, Tufts community members are welcome to add their own suggestions for the working group through the easy, on-line form available on the Office of Sustainability’s website.

Campus Sustainability Council update: Water Working Group kicks off


Since the official announcement from President Tony Monaco last February, members of the Campus Sustainability Council have been getting busy as each of the three working groups (focusing on Water, Energy/Emissions and Waste) began holding their regular meetings.

The Water Working Group met for the first time on March 2nd and reviewed its roles and responsibilities, which include reviewing current usage, existing initiatives and goals, as well as creating recommendations for goals and implementation plans to present to the Campus Sustainability Council.

The group found that very few institutions of higher education have any public water-related goals.  In fact, Johns Hopkins is one of a rare few that have a specific goal (to decrease university wide potable water consumption by 3%). The members also learned that many water-saving initiatives at Tufts are already underway, including:

  • Efforts to use ground water for irrigation
  • Low-flow shower heads in all Medford and Boston residence halls
  • Bathroom upgrades in Medford residence halls which include dual flush or low flush toilets
  • On‐going Medford campus condensate loss reduction efforts
  • Front Load washing machines requiring less water, energy and detergent installed in most residence hall laundry rooms
  • Rain barrels installed at 520 Boston Avenue to capture roof run‐off for landscape irrigation

The working group members discussed the differences between Tufts’ campuses, regulatory and compliance issues, the environmental impact of wastewater, ways to evaluate proposed solutions and appropriate metrics for evaluation.

Scott Horsley, a lecturer in the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning department, and Bob Burns, Director of Tufts Facilities Services, are the co-chairs of the water working group and will be working to guide the group towards specific “SMART” goals for the university over the coming months. Sustainability standards will be incorporated into all proposals for new construction and renovation projects.

As always, Tufts community members are welcome to add their own suggestions for the working group through the easy, on-line form available on the Office of Sustainability’s website.