Category Archives: Composting at Tufts

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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Composting at Tufts

Do you love the magic of turning your food waste into nutrient-rich compost? Then, you probably want to learn more about what is going on in the world of compost on the Tufts Medford-Somerville campus. We currently have three locations where anyone can drop off their organic waste to be composted. The uphill bin is behind Miller hall next to the TIE and OOS office, the downhill bin is by the rear Tisch loading dock, and the brand new bin is located behind the Crafts House.
Tufts Recycles! recently purchased a ComposTumbler®- an incredibly easy way to turn organic matter into compost. The ComposTumbler is located behind the Crafts House, at 14 Professors Row. It consists of two compartments: one will be open for use, and the other will be  closed and in the “hot” phase of the composting cycle (which lasts about two weeks). There are labels on the doors to let people know which side to add to and which side should be left alone. What should you put in the Tumbler? Compost needs a combination of carbon and nitrogen sources:  nitrogen from fresh green things, like food scraps, and carbon from brown things. Some good carbon sources include dead leaves, brown paper bags and unbleached paper towels. There should be a few paper towels near the bin.  Every time you add some food scraps, throw in a brown paper towel or bag to give the right carbon/nitrogen ratio. It will make for a much higher quality finished product.
If possible, chop or rip your composting material before adding it to the tumbler. Decomposition will occur much faster if material is chopped up- it creates more surface area for microbial action. It is also important to rotate the drum! Every time you add compost, give the tumbler a few turns. When you are done adding/turning the bin, make sure to position it with the doors facing down to allow excess water to exit the drainage units.
For all three on-campus compost drop-off locations, the type of waste that can be composted is the same:
  • fruit and veggie scraps
  • eggshells
  • coffee grounds and teabags
  • paper bags
  • Unfortunately we cannot compost:
  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs (but the shells are okay)
  • dairy
  • anything oily
  • bones
  • bioplastics
  • In addition, for those living on campus, many dorms have composting, courtesy of the Eco-Reps. If your dorm has an Eco-Rep, ask them about composting (and just talk to them because they are cool people). Hillel has also begun to compost! We applaud their commitment to reducing waste and Tufts overall environmental impact.
    Happy Composting!

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    A look at the Tufts composting system

    Breaking it Down: Composting at Tufts University from JD Cutrufo on Vimeo.
    A film by Joseph Cutrufo, presented in partnership with Tufts Recycles!, Tufts University Facilities Department, and The Office of Sustainability. Featuring Jeanne Eisenhaure, George Ellmore, John Fisher, Dawn Quirk, and Dallase Scott. Music by Hot Protestants.
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    Downhill compost bin open this week

    You may recall that in October we announced a new drop-off site for compost at the Tufts Institute of the Environment at the rear of Miller Hall. This bin is open to members of the Tufts community during business hours. The key for the locked bin is in the office foyer. Please remember to return the key and lock the bin.Thanks to the initiative of the Tisch Library Green Committee, there is now a bin at the library loading dock in the rear of the building as well. This bin is accessible anytime as there is a key to the bin in the mailbox above it.

    Please remember to compost non-animal products only.

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