Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 61.04
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Tufts University
OP-19: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.95 / 8.00 Shoshana Blank
Education and Outreach Program Administrator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 759.10 Tons 888.40 Tons
Materials composted 1,225.90 Tons 593 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 16.80 Tons 2.50 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,608.90 Tons 2,374.60 Tons
Total waste generated 3,610.70 Tons 3,858.50 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility, including affirmation that materials are sorted prior to conversion to recover recyclables and compostable materials:

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Baseline Year July 1, 2004 June 30, 2005

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,525 3,491
Number of employees resident on-site 11 9
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 11,017 9,113
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 4,478 3,481
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 79.50 0
Weighted campus users 12,445.63 10,320.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.29 Tons 0.37 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):

In the waste figures reported above, has the institution recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold the following materials?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food Yes
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials Yes
Animal bedding Yes
White goods (i.e. appliances) No
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

Clothing, home goods, canned food, and crutches are collected and donated from move-out. We have freecycle stations in four residence halls. Mattresses that are not donatable are recycled.
There are locations on campus year-round for anyone at the university to recycle/donate CFL bulbs, textiles and clothing, shoes/sneakers, ink and toner cartridges, tennis balls, small and large electronics, batteries, and fitness trackers. We also offer a Terracycle program for energy bar and granola bar wrappers. The university adopted trash buddies in offices in 2015 to increase in-office recycling and reduce waste.

Since September 2017 (after the reported data above), Tufts has collected items from move-out, stored them over the summer, and held a Back to School Sale during move in. This has results in many tons of items that get reused such as hangers, mirrors, mini-fridges, electronics, rugs, plastic storage drawers, furniture, kitchen items, and more.

Composting is now available on all of Tufts four campuses as of FY 2018. On the Medford/Somerville campus, Tufts Dining composts all pre and post-consumer waste and Eco-Reps manage compost bins in the residence halls. Offices on all campuses have the option to have their own compost bin that employees empty into outside toters. (Tufts Dining has been composting since 1994).

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.

Our waste oil is recycled by Newport Bio Diesel is used to make bio diesel fuel. We use 100% vegetable (Canola oil).

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year (e.g. materials that are actively diverted from the landfill or incinerator and refurbished/repurposed) :

Does the institution use single stream recycling (a single container for commingled recyclables) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream (two separate containers for recyclables, e.g. one for paper and another for plastic, glass, and metals) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling (multiple containers that further separate different types of materials) to collect standard recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, glass, metals) in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program (percentage, 0-100):

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed, e.g. efforts to minimize contamination and/or monitor the discard rates of the materials recovery facilities and mills to which materials are diverted:

Annual education on recycling and trash for custodians so that if they see a heavily contaminated bag of recycling, they will throw it in the trash dumpster.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives, e.g. initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices such as signage and competitions:

Tufts has a detailed recycling website where anyone can download Mixed Recycling, Landfill, or Compost wall signs that tell users what they can and cannot put in the bin. These signs are above all waste stations in the residence halls, in many offices, and in the dining locations.
Recycling presentations are made on a fairly regular basis to Tufts students, staff, and faculty. The Office of Sustainability employs a Recycling Education and Verification student intern to make presentations and lead recycling education.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:

Each year the Eco-Reps do a waste audit on waste from one of the dorms. They also perform spot checks throughout the academic year to identify items that are mis-disposed of. The Eco-Reps also administer a survey to all residential students that assesses their knowledge of proper recycling protocol. We also have had a recycling quiz on line that anyone at the university can take to test their knowledge. The recycling interns, co-op student or recycling fellow, along with the custodial managers also do spot checks of dumpsters to identify incorrect disposal practices.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste (e.g. by minimizing packaging and purchasing in bulk):

Tufts University gives preference to environmentally friendly products whose quality, function, and cost are equal or superior to more traditional products. The statement is promoted on our Purchasing Dept.’s homepage (http://finance.tufts.edu/purchasing/green-purchasing-at-tufts/).

In addition, most requests for proposals contain similar language that will become part of the contract once awarded. One recent example is:
Tufts University is committed to a healthy environment and a Green Procurement Program. Our environmental programs are designed to provide a safe workplace that adequately protects our environment.
a) Please identify and discuss any initiatives that you have undertaken to boost energy efficiency, trimming waste, and reducing or eliminating the use or the production of harmful substances.

Commitment to Sustainability:
1. Describe the initiatives your firm is undertaking to ensure environmentally responsible business practices.
2. Explain your approach to sustainable design.
3. Provide an example of a sustainably designed project

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

Tufts has a surplus furniture program. By partnering with a local moving and storage company, Tufts departments are able to view available items online and easily arrange for delivery or pick up of surplus furniture. Items are cataloged and viewed online with a brief description. Items are stored for up to 4 months and then disposed of. Transportation costs are minimized by coordinating truck trips with other business in the area. Storage costs are minimized by carefully controlling the number of items stored and time period of storage.

For office supplies, anyone in the Tufts community can subscribe the Freecycle e-list, where people often post items like binders and toner cartridges for free to others: https://operations.tufts.edu/recycle/freecycleelist/

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse (e.g. of electronics, furnishings, books and other goods):

Anyone in the Tufts community can subscribe the Freecycle e-list: https://operations.tufts.edu/recycle/freecycleelist/

There are freecycle rooms in four residence halls where people can leave anything, and others can take them for free.

There is a textbook exchange run by the Student Government at the beginning of the school year.

There is a Tufts Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group that is well used by the students.

Tufts has been hosting a Back to School Sale during Move In since fall 2017. We collect all of the items from Move Out and sell them at low prices to the students as they move in.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption (e.g. restricting free printing and/or mandating doubled-sided printing in libraries and computer labs):

Black and white duplex printing costs $.15 per page printed, and one-sided printing costs $.10 per side in all computer labs and libraries. Also all library printers are set for duplex printing as the default.

Our Purchasing department centralized printing by networking all users to the main copier/printer. Individual desktop printers are highly discouraged and not supported by the Purchasing office.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials (e.g. course catalogs, course schedules, and directories) available online by default rather than printing them:

Several examples of Tufts' efforts to make materials available online include:

The distribution of our 15-year-old bi-monthly staff newsletter, previously approximately 27,000 heavy paper printings annually, was moved to online only.

Tufts’ Accounts Payable department pays as many vendors as possible via EFT or credit card, thus reducing the printing of paper checks. They also receive many invoices electronically via the EDI –Electronic Data Interchange. These are on-going efforts.

The Tufts Dental school moved all patient files over to electronic records in 2015.

The Tufts Dental Financial Aid Office’s application process switched to be online. Previously, the office had printed out all application materials for distribution to the student population for the annual application cycle. This was spearheaded by an Eco-Ambassador.

Several years ago Tufts' Facilities Services department stopped accepting paper-based requests for work. They also transitioned away from a paper-based Union employee tracking system by introducing mobile technology. Work request information is also communicated to customers via the web instead of printing reports to email/mail. Over the past two years, the Facilities Services department implemented mobile devices, specifically IPads for the crews in Medford Trades, Boston/SMFA Campus, and Grafton Campus to prevent printing work orders. In addition, payroll, attendance, and billing has been automated to reduce paper-based reporting.

The Public Safety department’s paper-based Key Access form has been replaced with an online system.

Admission’s applications for the undergraduate and graduate Arts and Science school are online via the system SLATE (https://technolutions.com/)

Many of Tufts’ largest suppliers only submit invoices online. Examples include FedEx, Staples, VWR, and Sigma.

Course catalogs are not provided to students by default. Students must pick them up themselves if they would like a print copy. Many students just access the course catalog online.

The student directory is only available online.

Orientation materials are only available online.

The pachyderm, the student handbook, used to be printed and given out to every student, but as of fall 2009, it is only available online.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

During fall move-in, the Tufts Eco-Reps and recycling interns team up to capture cardboard and recyclables from the dormitories.

Move-Out is organized by the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services. Ads are put up on social media, posters, etc. telling students that they have to remove all items from their room. Anything they are not taking with them must go to one of the move-out stations on campus, located outside of the residence halls. These stations allow students to donate or recycle virtually anything. This includes: food, clothing, carpets, linens, books, crutches, and electronics. Here is a breakdown:

-Food: donated to food bank
-Linens/Clothing: donated
-Reuse items (furniture, electronics, mirrors, and other dorm goods): stored over the summer for the Back to School Sale.
-Books: sold or donated
-Crutches: reused by our Athletics Department
-Broken electronics: recycled
-Dining Hall dishes: returned

Tufts has been promoting UPS storage as an option for students over the summer as well, since there is not storage for their things on campus.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

Each year the Tufts Eco-Reps hold a clothing swap in celebration of Earth Month in April (http://sites.tufts.edu/tuftsgetsgreen/tag/clothing-swap/).

Eco-Reps often run 'use reusable' campaigns during the school year - encouraging dorm residents and other students to use reusable mugs, bags, etc.

The GreEco-Reps hold several clothing swaps a year.

4 textile recycling collection bins are located on campus and material collected is donated.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

For Parts 1 and 2:
Materials recycled (2017) includes single-stream recycling, scrap metal, and wood pallets.
Compost includes both food waste and yard waste.
Materials donated or re-sold includes dorm goods, clothing, food, crutches, and shoes.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.