Author Archives: Christopher Ghanny

The Electric Car, Revolutionized

A few months ago, we blogged about Better Place, an international company that is blazing the trail for an increased use in electric vehicles, or EVs. Though the widespread adoption of EVs is still a ways away, the electric car is slowly creeping its way into the forefront of our society as Americans, as Massachusetts residents, and even as Tufts students. Don’t believe me? Ask Bob Aronson, Facilities Manager at Tufts’ Boston campus, who recently purchased an electric-powered Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

The i-MieV, or Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle, can travel up to 60 miles on one charge and uses the equivalent of over 100 miles per gallon of electricity! Bob reports that these numbers are even higher based on his own experiences, as he average 70-80 miles per charge. Commuting every day from Medfield to the Boston campus, Aronson saves thousands of dollars every year in gasoline costs as well as barrels upon barrels of oil.

“I ride my bike to work as much as I can, but that’s only 6 months out of the year, weather permitting,” Bob explains. “My only other vehicle was my pick-up truck, which gets 14 or 15 miles to the gallon. It pushes snow, it lugs lumber, but it’s not the greatest commuting vehicle.”

After receiving an ostensible junk e-mail regarding Mitsubishi’s newest vehicle, Bob did the research and saw the utility in an electric car. Now, he owns one of, if not, the first fully electric vehicles in Massachusetts. Bob charges the car at a home charging station specially installed near his garage.

There are three levels of charging for electric cars. At Level 1, roughly the normal wattage of electricity in a house’s wall outlet, a full charge will take up to 16 hours. Level 2, the type at Bob’s house charges a car from E to F in 6-8 hours. At the final grade, Level 3, a dead car will zap up to a full charge in under an hour.

Though the home charging station installation cost roughly $1500, the savings have already begun to mount. A full charge at Bob’s charging station costs him upwards of $3 — roughly $0.15 per gallon! Bob even lists his home charging station on PlugShare, an iPhone community app for electric car users. The app projects a list of charging stations over a Google map, a convenient tool for any electric car driver on the go. So far, he hasn’t charged anyone for charging at his house.

“I wouldn’t put a meter on my charging station,” Bob says, “though I wouldn’t say no if they bought me a couple of beers.”

Five years from now, Bob likes to think, the electric car will be the new standard. Bob paid about $30,000 for the options he chose for the i-MieV (including a level 3 charging port), but with a $7,500 tax rebate from the federal government, it came out to a total of approximately $22,500. With such a great value, the i-MieV is the frontrunner for the electric car that will revolutionize the roads for the future.

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Orientation/Move-In 2012 – Welcome to Tufts!

Welcome returning students and class of 2016! As we enter the 2012-2013 academic year, we at TuftsRecycles! would like to keep you up to date on our work towards greater sustainability on campus. Here’s what we’ll be doing (and what you can do) during your first few weeks at Tufts.

1. Compost yourself crazy. For all incoming freshmen, orientation guarantees one thing: boatloads of delicious food! This year, TuftsRecycles! and the Tufts Eco-Reps are collaborating to implement composting at matriculation lunch,  evening dinners, and the Orientation Food Fair, all boasting the best in edibles courtesy of our friends at Tufts Dining. Help us keep these events sustainable by composting your food, napkins, and paper plates at designated compost barrels. Watch out for contaminants like plastic wrap, chip bags, and ice-cream wrappers — these go in the trash — and recyclable bottles, cans, and silverware which can be dropped into recycling bins all around campus. Help us keep these events zero-waste!

2. Recycle your boxes at Move-In. Please flatten all large cardboard boxes and leave them in a common area — custodial staff will pick them up. Smaller cardboard boxes, paper packing material, and paper bags can be deposited in the paper recycling bins in your residence hall.  Use our helpful guide, click here!

3. Earn money for recycling. Heard of the bottle bill? It’s a Massachusetts law which returns 5¢ for carbonated beverage containers (soda, beer, sparkling water, etc). Recycle your bottles and cans at the GreenBean Machine in the Campus Center — it’s basically free money! Come to the Official GreenBean Launch on Sunday, September 2, 2012 from 4-6 for more information, recycling swag, and how-tos from the people behind TuftsRecycles!.

4. Freecycle it up. Need stuff for your dorm room? Come to the Freecycle giveaway on Saturday, September 1, 2012 from 12-2 on Tisch Library Roof. We will be giving away dorm essentials like shower caddies, storage units, desk organizers, cookware, and fun knickknacks. Be sure to come early — supplies are limited and last until they are exhausted!

5. RAs – Represent your dorm! We have loads of materials for you to share with your resident recyclemaniacs. Check our bulletin boards page for posters and banners regarding recycling and sustainability on campus.

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Reducing Waste on the Road

Thanks to our friends at Tufts’ Office of Sustainability, the TuftsRecycles! team got the privilege of viewing the documentary YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip. The film chronicles three friends who sojourn across the country for a year in search of the best of America’s sustainable sites, all while keeping all of their trash, recycling, and waste in their hybrid vehicle so as to leave zero environmental footprint. At the end of the trip, the group produced only 40 pounds of waste (including recycling) for the year. Would you believe that the average American produces about 1600 pounds per year? That is truly truly truly outrageous!

Whether it’s a weekend in the woods or two weeks in Tangiers, you should keep sustainability at the forefront of your mind whenever you travel. Below are some tips, adapted from the movie, on how to reduce waste during your travels this summer.

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What’s new in South Hall?

As some of you know, South Hall is due for renovations this summer. TuftsRecycles! recently paid a visit to the construction site to check out the progress. We can’t reveal too much, but we are sure to say that South Hall will look *nothing* like it did before. And TuftsRecycles! is of course working with our construction contractor to make sure the renovations are as environmentally-friendly and sustainable as possible!

What’s new in South Hall come September? Leave a comment or tweet us @TuftsRecycles with your guesses!

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Have you heard of Upcycling?

verb. /ˈʌpˌsaɪkəl/ to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original.

Recycling your waste is great — but upcycling produces a reusable item without the energy needed to process recyclables. In the picture above, normally disposable toilet paper rolls are upcycled into a cable and cord organizer which can be used over and over again. Our pals at TwistedSifter have compiled a list of 50 Ways to Repurpose, Recycle, and Upcycle Old Things — check it out! Click below for some of our favorites and some more recommendations on how to upcycle. Continue reading

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R²ePack 2012 By The Numbers (And In Pictures!)

Happy summer to all graduating and returning students! While you were packing up your dorm rooms and fiddling with CollegeBoxes, the TuftsRecycles! team was hard at work collecting assorted items for R²ePACK 2012.
 What is R²ePACK?! Good question! R²ePACK is our move-out initiative in which students are asked to Reuse & Recycle everything, pack and clean… k?! Here’s what students recycled and freecycled this year:

- 8500 pounds (wow!) of clothes and linens, to be donated and recycled
- 1 truckload of freecyclable items, to be donated to incoming freshmen in the fall
20 pairs of crutches, to be reused by the Tufts Athletics Department
- 15 boxes of nonperishable food, donated to Project Soup in Somerville
- 6 boxes of Dining Hall dishes, returned to Dewick-MacPhie and Carmichael Dining Halls
- 5 boxes of school supplies, to be donated to the Medford Public Schools
- 3 boxes of books, to be donated to the Boston Prison Book Drive
- 2 cubic yards of broken and working electronics, to be recycled
1  mountain of mattress foam, to be recycled

Many thanks to the R²ePACK team, the dedicated men and women of the Tufts Facilities Department, the Eco-Reps, and all students who participated! Be on the lookout for our Freecycle drop on Tisch roof in the Fall. 

Click for pictures! Continue reading

Posted in All, Featured, Move-out/R2ePack, Recycling at Tufts, Reduced, Reuse, Recycle (RRRs) | 1 Comment

TuftsRecycles! Composts the President’s Picnic 2012

After the craziness of Commencement, the President’s Picnic is a great opportunity for the remaining students, faculty, and staff to relax with some down-home barbeque food and some lemonade on the Lawn. More important for us: after our sustainability success at Commencement by processing over 5000 meals, we were able to relax while we sorted through just a few hundred meals today.

Our waste management yielded 28 bags of compostable material, 6 bags of recyclable paper, and just 1 bag of trash! Many thanks to the dedicated TuftsRecycles! interns, the Facilities department crew, Tufts Dining, the Tufts Institute for the Environment, the Eco-Reps, and the Eco-Ambassadors for making this happen! Click below for pictures. All images courtesy of the Tufts Office of Sustainability.

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TuftsRecycles! Composts Commencement 2012

Commencement is a big deal, period, full stop. The speeches, the crying, the tearful last-minute hugs on the sun-basked hill before grad school and the working world all make for an unforgettable day. And don’t forget the senior luncheon: feeding over 10,000 people is no small matter. But what about processing the refuse and waste from that 10,000? If you were at Commencement this year, you probably saw us working away to make this Commencement as green as the Prez Lawn itself.

How successful were we? We processed 5000 boxed-lunch meals in about three hours, exhausting roughly 100 man hours for all workers combined. We were left with 500 pounds  of food waste and one (1) 30 yard rolloff of mixed recyclables, as well as a negligible amount of trash. Click here for pictures.

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