Author Archives: Lillian Wang

Lint: To compost or not to compost?

Lint, that dusty grey stuff that collects in your dryer, has recently been garnering some attention…


The EPA lists dryer lint as safe for composting, claiming that only biodegradable/natural fibers from cotton or wool clothing break down in the wash. According to the US Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, putting polyester or synthetic clothes in the dryer yields “little, if any, lint since these materials do not break down in the washing and drying cycles as natural fibers do.”

… Wait a minute, so only cotton and wool clothing produces lint? Here at TuftsRecycles! we tested this claim. We washed and dried a load of laundry consisting of only fleece blankets, fleece jackets, and nylon clothes – all fabrics made of synthetic materials. Look what we found:

So what’s the big deal…? A recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology found that washing a single fleece produces 2,000 micro-fibers of micro-plastics, tiny bits of polyester and acrylic debris measuring less than 1-millimeter that make up 65% of plastic pollution. The majority of plastic pollution is invisible, but it can carry harmful effects.

Dr. Mark Browne, a post-doc fellow at the University College of Dublin, conducted a study looking at the accumulation of micro-plastic debris on shorelines worldwide. He and his colleagues found that every beach they tested (18 beaches on 6 continents worldwide) contained micro-plastics in the sand, 80% of which was synthetic fibrous material coming from clothing. Nowadays, most clothing is synthetic, and the lint that comes out of drying these clothes is basically a ball of micro-plastics.

So until further research is conducted, we think it’s best to hold off on composting dryer lint and keeping it out of the soil.

 …What do you think?






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TR! Intern Diego at the Forward On Climate Rally

This past President’s Day weekend, over 35,000 protesters gathered on the National Mall  urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline in the biggest climate rally ever organized in the US.

Our own TR! intern Diego Laurenti Sellers hopped on board a charter bus provided by to make the trek down to DC. During the trip, he wrote a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren urging her to take a strong stand on the issue of climate change and to back legislation rejecting its construction.

The rally drew a diverse crowd including people from all ages and political leanings: political leftists, representatives from green companies on Wall Street, and figureheads such as Rosario Dawson who urged the Latin American community to take a strong stand on climate change.

According to Diego, a crucial part of the rally was the presence of a variety of performers and street theater artists who drew attention to issues of wildlife extinction by dressing up as polar bears and wild animals while doubling as entertainment for the many young kids at the rally. It’s these types of creative activism that forge unity across diverse groups.

That's Diego's arm on the right. Source: NPR website.

The success of the rally brings encouragement that issues of climate change have hit the mainstream, but the work doesn’t stop here.

Want to get involved? Take Annie Leonard‘s advice: “

“Making real change takes all kinds of citizens – not just protestors. When you realize what you’re good at and what you like to do, plugging in doesn’t seem so hard. Whatever you have to offer, a better future needs it.

So ask yourself, ‘What kind of change maker am I?’ We need investigators, communicators, builders, resisters, nurturers, and networkers.”

Get involved in any way you can, it takes a wide range of people with a wide range of skills to make real change happen. While the Keystone Pipeline buzzword represents a key point in legislation, there’s more to the climate change movement than preventative measures. Important work lies in shifting the world away from fossil fuels and onto cleaner forms of energy. Let’s keep the momentum going!




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Your Used Phones Go to a Great Cause!

Ever wonder what happens to all the old phones that end up in the electronics recycling bins around campus?

Bins like this around campus.

… Well, the TuftsRecycles! team is proud to announce that 95 “gently-used” cell phones were sent out today to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit organization that sells old cell phones to a company that recycles them and uses the profits to provide calling cards and free phone service for deployed and returning military personnel.

Just another great way that old goods can be turned into useful resources!

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First box of shoes ready for shipment!

Thank you to everyone who dropped off their shoes in the new bin located at the Tisch Sports & Fitness Center!


Here's our first full box of shoes sitting in the TuftsRecycles! office. In a few days, it will arrive in Africa where these kicks will go to secondhand vendors to be resold and reused.


Thanks for doing your part in reducing waste & supporting microbusinesses. Keep ‘em coming guys!

- The TuftsRecycles! Team





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Introducing Rerun Shoes at Tufts!

Did you guess our new recycling option in the gym??

If you saunter into Tisch Sports Center, there’s now a recycling bin for shoes!

Partnering with the full-service footwear recycling company, Rerun Shoes, the new shoe bin in the gym will accept all types of shoes (without holes). These shoes will be sent to secondhand shoe vendors in Mali, Guinea, and Liberia.

Rerun Shoes aims to divert shoes from the waste stream in North America and at the same time, help support sustainable microbusinesses in the African tropics. Read the company’s mission outline here.

The first shoes ready to be sent to second-hand vendors in Africa!

If you just bought yourself a new pairs of sneakers, hold up! Before you chuck your old ones, stop by the Tisch Sports Center and drop them in the shoe bin!

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