Category Archives: Reduced, Reuse, Recycle (RRRs)

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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Have you heard of Upcycling?


Upcycle
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

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Back to Basics: Remembering the Three R’s

During these difficult economic times, many Americans have been forced to go “back to the basics.” Cook at home instead of go out to eat. Forgo those extra pair of jeans. Take a vacation in-state instead of around the world. While simplicity has become a useful way to save money, it is also a valuable environmental principle. With so many different scientific studies producing competing claims (CS Monitor “How green are trains, public transportation, and hybrid cars? It depends.”), so many supposedly eco-friendly products on the market (Slate Magazine “How Biodegradable are Biodegradable Plastics?”), and with many new technologies still too expensive or impractical (New York Times “Green Promise Seen in Switch to LED Lighting”), it is time to go back to the environmental lesson we all learned in elementary school: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.Although not as flashy or innovative as today’s green buzzwords, reducing your consumption, reusing your products, and recycling your waste is as cheap, simple, and effective as any effort to reduce your carbon footprint. Although our program focuses on recycling, the first two R’s are actually the most beneficial to the environment. Simply buying less stuff eliminates the need to reuse or recycle products. Despite Americans’ reputation as conspicuous consumers, the financial stress that many households are experiencing has meant that consumer spending has dropped off in recent months.

Whatever the motivation, purchasing fewer goods translates into energy savings in production and transportation and less waste in landfills. Reducing consumption involves asking questions such as “How necessary is this product for me?” or “Will I need to replace this product in the near future?” or “Can I purchase a product in bulk or with less packaging?” Out of the three R’s, reduction is the most effective way to be environmentally friendly.Reusing products is the other often forgotten step in the three R process. Complimentary to reduction, reuse keeps waste out of landfills and helps to eliminate the need to buy or use certain items. Common examples of reuse are the reusable grocery bags seen in checkout aisles across the country. The reuse of products can be accomplished through donating gently used items to local charities or resellers or using old products yourself for new purposes.
Reusing takes some creativity and time, but you don’t have to spend any money or worry about possibly complex recycling regulations. The reuse concept can also be applied to one-time use items, also known as throw-away items. Instead of wrapping your sandwich in aluminum foil, put it in reusable Tupperware. Instead of buying bottled water all the time, buy a water filter or pitcher and a reusable water bottle. However you decide to reuse, remember that it is preferred to recycling.While eco-trends may come and go and scientists debate the latest advancement or contradictory data, the three R’s remain a simple, cheap and effective way to reduce waste and be environmentally friendly.

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