Tag: Sustainability News (page 1 of 3)

Recycling at Tufts is about to get easier…

Today is America Recycles Day!

To celebrate, Facilities Services and the Office of Sustainability are excited to announce the introduction of mixed recycling (single stream recycling) at the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus starting in the spring 2017 semester. The glass/metal/plastic and paper/cardboard bins on the Medford/Somerville campus will be replaced with mixed recycling bins that can be identified by their UFO-shaped lids, blue bags, and mixed recycling labels. The SMFA can look forward to seeing an increase in this style of bin in January as well.

The Cummings School and the Boston Health Sciences campus will be switched to mixed recycling in the summer of 2017.

A dual stream waste station at Tufts which includes a bin for glass/metal/plastic and a bin for paper/cardboard.

Tufts currently uses a dual stream system, which requires separating glass, metal and plastic containers from paper and cardboard items. Starting in January 2017 all these items will now be collected in one bin.

What is Mixed Recycling?

“Mixed recycling” means that the items you normally sort into the blue and green-capped recycling bins (paper/cardboard and glass/metal/plastic) can be disposed of together. Recycling materials collected will remain the same but will not need to be separated.

Mixed Recycling Station

A mixed recycling station set up for testing.

Mixed Recycling Lid

The UFO-shaped mixed recycling lids will allow people to dispose of items in a variety of shapes (e.g. bottles and cardboard).

 

Why is Tufts Moving to Mixed Recycling?

  1. It’s easier for you!

The ability to put paper/cardboard and glass/metal/plastic recycling in one bin will make recycling simple and easy, providing the campus community with two primary options for disposing of waste: “Mixed Recycling” or “Landfill” (along with composting for food waste in some locations).

  1. Our waste stream is changing

The switch to mixed recycling is a direct reaction to the changing needs of the recycling industry: with increased demand for more efficient packaging and changes in personal habits, the makeup of the nation’s waste stream is changing. At one time, paper made up to 70 percent of the weight flowing through recycling programs, but now it accounts for less than 40 percent in many cities. More complex, lightweight materials have begun to replace paper; Tufts’ mixed recycling program will accommodate the disposal of these changing materials more efficiently.

  1. Mixed recycling will support Tufts’ waste reduction goals

Transitioning to mixed recycling supports Tufts’ larger plan to improve solid waste and recycling efforts in line with the President’s Campus Sustainability Council’s goal of reducing total waste by 3% per year. Every Tufts community member is asked and expected to help the university meet its waste goals by educating themselves about their campus’s move to mixed recycling.

Tufts Dining Achieves 3-Star GRA Certification

On September 29th, Tufts Dining achieved the 3-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a nonprofit organization that recognizes food service providers for their work to become environmentally sustainable.

GRA rates on a 4-star scale in seven categories including:

  • Water efficiency
  • Waste reduction and recycling
  • Sustainable/durable goods and building materials
  • Sustainable food
  • Energy use
  • Reusable and environmentally-preferable disposables
  • Pollution/chemical reduction.

Tufts is the first university to earn 10 GreenPoints™in each category and receive the 3-star certification for all ten of its dining locations on campus, and the first GRA-certified food service provider in Medford/Somerville!

Some of the changes Tufts Dining made include switching to low-flow aerators and pre-rise sprays, changing over to LED lighting in Dewick-MacPhie, and launching Rise Craft Pizza at Hotung Café which features environmentally friendly pizza boxes.

Tufts Dining plans to continue its sustainability initiatives and push for as many 4-star locations as possible. They will start by updating dish machines with a much more energy and water efficient machine in Mugar Hall.

 

New Holiday Bus Partnership to Debut This Fall

Beginning this fall, Tufts is launching a partnership with MyBusHome, a small private company which contracts with major coach fleets to provide buses on major school breaks, thereby reducing the need for hundreds of parents to make individual trips to pick up their kids.

The pilot run for the program will occur in October over the Indigenous People’s Day long weekend. Destinations will include Albany, NY; Portland, ME; Philadelphia, PA; and New York, NY. These cities were chosen through an analysis of the demographics of the student body in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The partnership aims to fill gaps in availability, affordability, or convenience of mass transit options. The buses will have a lower carbon impact than if students were to be driven to and from school by their parents or guardians.

Buses are also scheduled for Thanksgiving, the winter break, and the spring break.

Tickets can be purchased at MyBusHome.com. MyBusHome will be processing all payments, ticketing, and questions.

Grafton Campus Celebrates First-Ever Zero Waste Week

In April, the Grafton campus celebrated Zero Waste Week for the first time ever, joining Medford in challenging the Tufts community to recognize one’s personal footprint and reduce it.

About 30 people signed up for the challenge, which involves carrying any waste which cannot be recycled, composted, or avoided in a plastic bag clipped to one’s backpack or handbag for a full week. Participants included students from all years, interns and residents at the hospitals, and faculty. 15 participants made it to the end of the challenge, delivered their bags to the Earth Day event, and received their prize.

Some of the bags collected on Earth Day

All participants were entered into a raffle for an earth-friendly gift, which was ultimately won by Whitney Stiehler from Wildlife.

Whitney Stiehler won these hip reusable lunch containers, which make eating on the go, at your desk, or at Zero Waste events easier than ever.

After the challenge, participants reported that the exercise led them to think more about what products they were using and how everything could be disposed; they also praised the accessibility of recycling and composting on the campus for making the challenge more doable.

The Grafton campus also celebrated Earth Day with its annual tree planting next to the Agnes Varis Campus Center.

Trees are planted in honor of Earth Day.

Boston Ave Shuttle Will Now Stop at Whole Foods

Beginning this fall, the free campus shuttle which runs a loop along Boston Avenue on the Medford/Somerville campus will add a stop at the Whole Foods store on Mystic Valley Parkway.

Though there are several groceries stores near campus readily accessible by car, reaching them by foot or by bike — and returning with a load of groceries — can be difficult, inconvenient, and time-consuming.  The new shuttle stop will provide students with another option for fresh produce and other healthy food and make doing errands simpler and more sustainable.

The revised schedule will also include a stop at the Mayer Campus Center, thereby linking the Boston Ave and Davis Square shuttles and making travel between the different sectors of campus and its surroundings more feasible.

Recycling interns Alex Cherry and Megan Mooney worked with Administrative Services to make the change possible. Cherry notes that Whole Foods offers a bottle and can return station and hopes students will use the shuttle for that service as well.

Administrative Services hosts information about shuttle schedules and the shuttle tracker app. The shuttles will begin operating once the school year starts, but the Boston Ave shuttle is available here.

 

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