|Submission Date||Nov. 12, 2015|
Office of Sustainability
For several years, the Tufts Eco-Reps have organized the Zero Waste Challenge, a week-long challenge during which participants (both students and employees) are invited to collect everything they don’t recycle or compost in a clear Ziploc bag and carry it around for the week. The bag should be prominently displayed or clipped onto backpacks or bags. The exercise helps participants become aware of how much waste they generate and their own habits (e.g. how decision-making is affected when your trash is visible to other and connected to you).
In 2012 and 2013, the week culminated in an event called “Jumbo Mountains," during which participants were invited to bring their Zero Waste Challenge bags to the Quad where the Eco-Reps collected and displayed them alongside the piles of trash generated from several residents halls throughout the week. The contrast between the small amount of waste generated by challenge participants and the comparatively large amount of waste generated in the residence halls demonstrates just how much of a difference being conscious of your consumption and waste can make.
Participation in the Zero Waste Challenge appears to be on the rise if the number of bags brought to the culminating Jumbo Mountains event is any indication. Out of 200-250 bags distributed to both students and staff, around 40 bags were brought to the Jumbo Mountains event in 2012, and the number increased to 65 bags in 2013. We estimate that a majority of participants couldn't bring their bags to the culminating event due to schedule conflicts, but most of those who received a bag participated throughout all or part of the challenge.
Other indicators that the Tufts community has become more waste-conscious over time is the steady decline of Total Waste (Trash + Recycling) generated by the Medford, Boston, and Grafton campuses since 2010, from 4,621 tons in 2010 to 3,685 tons in 2013. The Eco-Reps' composting program in the residence halls measured 1,500 lbs in the fall of 2013 alone, and an upcycling program with TerraCycle brought in over 20 lbs of snack bags and granola bar wrappers in the same time period.
In order to reduce waste at the annual President's Picnic held on Tufts' Medford campus at the start of each summer, the Office of Sustainability encourages individuals to BYOP - Bring Your Own (reusable) Placesetting. Attendees are notified of the initiative through communications, including emails from the President's Office, leading up to the picnic.
At the event itself, attendees who BYOP are eligible to receive sustainability-themed prizes for participating, such as reusable snack plates to bring to future events. The offices or departments with the most attendees to BYOP are also awarded grand prizes, such as glass water pitchers and potted plants.
The campaign, which was held during FY12, FY13, and FY14, contributes to the overall goal of making the picnic a zero waste event, in which everything is either composted or recycled and nothing is thrown away.
As one of the largest annual campus-wide events for Tufts employees, the picnic provides an important opportunity to increase the visibility of Tufts' waste reduction efforts and show the community what a zero waste event looks like. The Office of Sustainability complements the zero-waste efforts at the picnic undertaken by the Tufts Recycles program and the BYOP campaign by educating Tufts employees and other community members about additional sustainability programs and resources available at the university.
Participation in the BYOP campaign at the President's Picnic has increased with each passing year, with increasingly more individuals and offices bringing their own dishes and utensils to the event instead of using disposables.
This campaign has advanced the efforts facilitated by the Tufts Recycles program to make the event zero-waste. At the event held in May 2014, a total of 25 full bins of 23 gallons each of compost were collected, and trash was minimal. There was also much less food waste than at previous events.
Other sustainability-related outreach campaigns include Massachusetts Car-Free Week, Bay State Bike Week and the MassCommute Bicycle Challenge, Meatless Meals, and Recycle Mania.
The BYOP campaign at the President's Picnic also continued in FY15 and was expanded to the President's year-end events on the Boston and Grafton campuses as well.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE
staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.