Category: Waste (page 2 of 14)

2018 Tufts Move-Out Recap

Summer has officially begun, all of the students leaving Medford for the summer have moved out, and we can finally stop posting all over our social media about Move-Out 2018!

Thank you so much to everyone who donated their unwanted items. This year, we collected 14,290 pounds of textiles, 719 pounds of food, as well as a significant amount of other donations in the form of e-waste, books, appliances, furniture, and miscellaneous items! That is very significant amount of items that will not be going straight into the landfills, as would have otherwise happened.

Many thanks also to all of the Recycling student workers and staff and the Office of Sustainability staff who helped sort through, organize, carry, and store all of the items. It took us many, many hours to ensure that what can be reused will have the opportunity to find a new home.

So what happens with all the items that are collected?

  • Many of the items that are in working and usable condition go to the Back To School Sale hosted by the Green House in the fall. The profits from the sale help them run programs on campus throughout the school year.Items collected that will be sold in the fall move out sale
  • Books go to the Book-it-Forward Lending Library which allows Tufts students on financial aid to borrow textbooks and other books. Books that will go to book-it-forward
  • Non-perishable food items are donated to Project Soup, part of the Somerville Homeless CoalitionNon perishable foods taken to Project Soup
  • Dining hall dishes get taken back to the dining halls!
  • Textiles (old clothing, sheets, linens, towels, etc.) go to Bay State Textiles, where 50% of the textiles are recycled for reuse, 30% are turned into wiping cloths, and 20% are recycled into new items. Joannie and Tina with all of the textiles donations!
  • Plastic bags are taken to Whole Foods who then deliver them to Trex, an outdoor decking and living products company. Trex converts used plastic film into new, environmentally responsible outdoor products!

Although we are happy to help minimize waste that will go to landfills through our move-out initiative, we also want to remind you that the best way to reduce waste would simply be to purchase fewer items, especially if you are not certain you will use them! You would be surprised by how many unopened packages we found of various miscellaneous items, as well as clothes and shoes that seemed barely worn.

Nonetheless, everything that was donated will be put to good use, and we hope that those who will be returning to school in the fall will stop by the Green House’s Back To School Sale – there will be many great items sold at significantly discounted prices (lots of dorm furniture, some coffee makers, a pair of Hunter boots and some North Face down jackets in good condition, just to name a few)!

Zero Waste and BYOP at the 2018 Medford President’s Picnic

Wednesday was a picture-perfect day for promoting sustainability on the Medford campus! President Monaco hosted another picnic on the Medford campus. Faculty, staff, students and new graduates gathered to eat a delicious lunch provided by Tufts catering and enjoyed the beautiful day outside.

To make the picnic a zero-waste event, staff from the Office of Sustainability helped attendees sort recyclable and compostable items at the numerous zero-waste stations located throughout the venue.

Catering also helped with sustainability efforts by providing condiments and drinks in bulk, as opposed to the smaller, individual packages that are commonly seen at such events. This helps reduce packaging waste produced by the event.

Plastic film and bags will be recycled separately at Whole Foods

In addition to the standard recycling collected at all zero-waste events, plastic film and bags were collected separately to be recycled at Whole Foods!

In order to take our sustainability efforts a step further, we promoted the event as BYOP – Bring Your Own Place-Setting. While using compostable and recyclable items are a great first step to reducing waste, bringing your own place setting from home or work helps reduce waste even more efficiently.

The first 90 attendees who visited the Office of Sustainability’s table had the opportunity to show the plates, knives, forks, and cups they had brought with them to claim a free, reusable sandwich bag as well as an “I saved a Tree” sticker. To our delight and surprise, we ran out of the sandwich bags after just twenty minutes!

Everyone who had a complete place setting was also invited to participate in our raffle to win an insulated, multi-compartmental, bento-style lunchbox. Over 140 people entered our raffle!

The grand prize of the raffle -- a cool lunchbox!

We loved seeing the diversity of the place settings people brought with them, and couldn’t be happier with the number of people who enthusiastically stopped by our table.

Folks with their own plates and silverware

Head to our Facebook page to see all the photos of everyone who stopped by our table on Wednesday with their place settings.

If you are a faculty, student, or staff at the Boston or Grafton campuses, be sure to bring your own plates, cups, knives, and forks to the President’s lunches next month for a chance to get a reusable sandwich bag and to enter our raffle for the grand prize lunch box! For everyone at Medford, thanks for helping make the event a sustainable one, and we hope to see you next year.

Earth Month at Tufts 2018

Tufts has a month-long series of events planned to educate the community about sustainability issues. The month will culminate with an Earth Day celebration on the Medford/Somerville campus.

April 2nd
Tom Thumb Student Garden
Garden Club Tea Swap
8:00-9:00PM, Eaton 203

April 3rd
Tufts University Phone Bank to Defend Transgender Equality
6:00-9:00PM, LGBT Center

April 3rd
Talking 100% renewable energy w. State Reps. Connolly and Barber
7:00-8:00PM, Barnum 104

April 4th
Students for Environmental Awareness -SEA
Chasing Coral Screening and Discussion
7:00-9:00PM, Terrace Room

April 5th
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn:
Land Cover in New Hampshire
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 5th
Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Building Resilient Communities Networking Night
5:30-7:30PM, 51 Huntington Ave, Boston

April 6th
WSSS Symposium 2018: Water in Humanitarian Emergencies
8:30AM-4:30PM, The Fletcher School

April 6th
Tufts Food System Symposium
10AM-2PM, 51 Winthrop Street

April 6th
TCA x Polykhroma Present: Visions
8:30-10:30, 46 Quincy Street Basement

April 7th
Social Impact Ideation at Tufts
11:00AM-2:00PM, Robinson Hall, Rm 246

April 9th
An Evening with D’Lo
6:00-7:30PM, Crane Room

April 10th
Students for Environmental Awareness -SEA
Startups and App Development: A Talk with Soli’s CEO
7:00-9:00PM, Crane Room

April 12th
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn:
Somerville Immigrant Worker Health Project: Seeing Environmental Justice Through an Occupational Health Lens
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 13th
Demain: Reimagining Community Systems For A Better Tomorrow
2:00-6:00PM, ASEAN Auditorium

April 19th
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn:
The Road to Food Waste is Paved with Good Intentions
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 26th:
Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University Lunch & Learn
Environmental Justice in the City of Chelsea
12:00-1:00PM, Rabb Room

If you are planning any Earth Month events at Tufts that were not included on this list, please contact sustainabilityoffice@tufts.edu and we will add them.

Student Move Out Workers, Tufts University

Student Move Out Workers, Tufts University, Medford Campus

The Tufts Office of Sustainability is looking for people to help manage move out from a waste-perspective. Move-out workers help with miscellaneous tasks such as signage as well as working move-out stations. This helps divert waste from the landfill and to donations for our fall move out sale or charitable organization, recycling, or compost. We are looking for workers between May 2 and May 25.

Application Deadline: April 1, 2018
Apply Online on JobX

Plastics by the Numbers

Have you ever seen numbers on plastics and wondered what they mean?  There are hundreds of different types of plastics, with different properties, making them more flexible or ridged.

The numbers 1-7 on plastics indicate what type of plastic is used in your bottle, container, or shopping bag. Here’s a quick guide to knowing what these numbers really mean.

  1. Plastics labeled with a 1 are  PETE and are typically found in food or beverage bottles and are easily recyclable. PETE is most common for single-use items.
  2. Number 2 plastic is HDPE, which is used in clean product bottles. It is considered a safe plastic, because it doesn’t break down easily and is easily recycled.
  3. Number 3 is for PVC, which is commonly used in piping and other building materials. When burned, PVC releases toxic gases into the environment and is harder to recycle because of this toxicity.
  4. Plastic bags are commonly made from LDPE, number 4, and can be recycled in bulk. You can return shopping bags to your grocery store to recycle them, but never put individual plastic shopping bags into the recycling bin.
  5. Number 5 plastic is found in straws and squeeze bottles. Some of these products can be recycled, but straws are not recyclable.
  6. Styrofoam is made from PS plastic with the number 6. Evidence has shown that these plastics leak toxins into their environment relatively easily and take millennia to degrade naturally. Number 6 plastics can be recycled if collected properly. At Tufts, the Science and Technology Center collects styrofoam in bulk for specialty recycling.
  7. The last category, number 7, is miscellaneous plastics. The attributes and recyclability of the plastics are variable.

To learn more about how recycling works watch this great video from Sci Show:

Be sure to check the numbers on the bottom of your plastics and refer to this guide to recycle your plastics correctly. Recycling is a great way to reduce our environmental footprint and a big step toward making our world more sustainable, but remember that reducing use and reusing items should always come before recycling.

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