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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.39
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date Nov. 12, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Tufts University
OP-23: Waste Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.36 / 3.00 Betsy Isenstein
Director of Facilities Technical Services
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Materials diverted from the solid waste landfill or incinerator:
1,627.32 Tons

Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator :
1,962.50 Tons

A brief description of programs, policies, infrastructure investments, outreach efforts, and/or other factors that contributed to the diversion rate, including efforts made during the previous three years:

Recycling is part of Tufts culture; all staff, faculty, and students are expected to participate. Everyone has bins available to them.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, office recycling and trash collection has changed to the "trash buddy" system. Each office or cubicle is equipped with a desk-side recycling bin and a small hanging waste basket known as the trash buddy. Office occupants are expected to empty their trash buddies into central waste stations. The custodians empty recycling from employee’s desks once each week. Central waste stations are serviced daily.

Students receive bins for their dorm rooms. We participate in RecycleMania. Recycling and trash weights are tracked. Periodic waste sorts and bin inspections allow us to monitor our progress. New students receive recycling information when they matriculate. Every floor of every dorm has central recycling stations with instructions posted. New employees receive recycling instructions during their employee orientation. Every shift (1st, 2nd, 3rd & weekend) of custodians on each campus receives an annual recycling review and retraining. Most student publications include a "recycle me" logo, including The Daily newspaper. We have a large move-out recycling program where we collect electronics, carpets, food, clothing, paper, and commingled recyclables. We have abundant outdoor recycling bins in our greenspaces. We have extensive battery recycling receptacles. We have a shoe/sneaker recycling bin in the athletics center. Our largest science complex recycles Styrofoam coolers and plastic bags. We have an interactive reverse vending machine on campus that is meant to attract fraternities and offers potentially uninterested or unmotivated students a financial incentive to recycle.


A brief description of any food donation programs employed by the institution:

Collection boxes for unopened food are placed in residence halls during spring move-out. Donated food is brought to a local food pantry.

An undergraduate student community service club, the Leonard Carmichael Society, has a group called "Food Rescue" that works with Dining services and area businesses to donate left-over but unserved food to local food pantries and shelters. More info at http://sites.tufts.edu/tuftslcs/programs/food-rescue/ For large campus events such as Commencement we donate un-served food to the Veteran's Homeless Shelter in Boston.


A brief description of any pre-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

On the Medford/Somerville campus, pre-consumer food waste is composted in six out of eight eateries. We do not have a breakdown of our food waste composting totals by pre or post, but the total tonnage of food waste composted in 2013 was 325 tons. In 2014, 306 tons of food waste was composted.


A brief description of any post-consumer food waste composting program employed by the institution:

Post-consumer waste is composted in three out of eight dining facilities, and we have fifteen central collection bins where any member of Tufts community can bring food scraps from their kitchens or special events.

Student "Eco-Reps" manage compost bins in all staffed dorms where residents can deposit vegetable and compostable paper waste. Students living in unstaffed dorms and employees can collect their own compost (no animal products) and deposit them in one of the many "public" compost bins located around the campus.

Many events on the Medford/Somerville and Grafton campuses now have post-consumer composting bins available, including the undergraduate matriculation lunch and dinner and the commencement luncheon located on the Medford/Somerville campus.

For more information go to http://operations.tufts.edu/tuftsrecycles/composting/


Does the institution include the following materials in its waste diversion efforts?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food donations Yes
Food for animals ---
Food composting Yes
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials composting Yes
Animal bedding composting Yes
Batteries Yes
Light bulbs Yes
Toner/ink-jet cartridges Yes
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets ---
Motor oil Yes
Tires Yes

Other materials that the institution includes in its waste diversion efforts:

Clothing and home goods from move-out. We have freecycle stations in four residence halls. Shoe/sneaker recycling is available at the gym. Ink and toner cartridges are recycled. Mattresses that are not donatable are recycled. Tennis ball recycling is available on both the indoor and outdoor tennis courts. We also offer a Terracycle program for energy bar and granola bar wrappers (chip bags were also collected through FY14). Most recently, due to the trash buddy deployment, hundreds of trash cans were collected. Some of the trash cans have been recycled, some have been repurposed, and others will become available for donation to local schools.

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine composts animal bedding. The Farm, Hospital for Large Animals, and LAMS units produce 3,000 – 4,000 cubic yards of compostable bedding annually, and there are 180,000 gallons of swine slurry produced annually. The slurry and composted bedding are spread on the farm fields as fertilizer, preventing their disposal in the solid or liquid waste stream.

Clothing is collected and distributed for free during annual student-run clothing swaps at the Medford/Somerville and Grafton campuses.

Various student-led initiatives have collected plastic grocery bags for recycling and clothing for donation during the year (separate from move-out). A resident of the Green House collected simple dorm supplies from move-out in 2014 and 'freecycled' them to the incoming students in the Fall.

For many years the Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) would collect non-wire coat hangers from move-out, package them into groups of 5, and give them out to incoming students.


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.