Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.61
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date Nov. 2, 2022

STARS v2.2

Tufts University
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.35 / 8.00 Kaitlyn Reed
Recycling and Waste Reduction Coordinator
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 451.18 Tons 888.40 Tons
Materials composted 118.03 Tons 156 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 8.96 Tons 2.50 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 1,320.72 Tons 2,374.60 Tons
Total waste generated 1,898.89 Tons 3,421.50 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period July 1, 2020 June 30, 2021
Baseline Period July 1, 2004 June 30, 2005

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:

This was the same baseline we have used over the last three STARS submission and thus provides context for each subsequent submission.

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 3,098 3,491
Number of employees resident on-site 8 9
Number of other individuals resident on-site 1 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 11,619 9,113
Full-time equivalent of employees 4,497 3,481
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 450 0
Weighted campus users 12,527 10,320.50

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.15 Tons 0.33 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 No
Plant materials No
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) No
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment No
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets No
Tires No
Other (please specify below) Yes

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

Shredded paper is recycled using Shred-It services on two of the four campuses. In FY 2021, 23.58 tons of shredded paper were recycled from all campuses combined.

There are multiple drop boxes around each campus where textiles, clothing, and shoes can be donated. In FY 2021, 6.91 tons of textiles were donated/recycled.

There are also locations on campuses year-round for anyone at the university to recycle CFL bulbs, ink and toner cartridges, fitness trackers, batteries, ballasts, lamps, electronics and small appliances, and mercury devices.

Plastic film is collected on the Medford/Somerville, Boston, and Grafton campuses and recycled at local grocery stores which offer plastic film recycling.

On two of the four campuses, disposable laboratory gloves are also collected and recycled.

During move-out, clothing, textiles, home goods, decorations, canned food, and crutches are collected from move-out. For many years Tufts has collected items from move-out, stored them over the summer, and held a Back to School Sale during move-in. This has resulted in the reuse of many tons of items, such as hangers, mirrors, mini-fridges, electronics, rugs, plastic storage drawers, furniture, kitchen items, and more. Anything that is not purchased at the Back to School sale is donated. Mattresses that are not donatable are recycled. We also have "freecycle stations" in four residence halls, where throughout the year students can leave items that are in good condition for other students to take.

In addition, student-run clothing swaps occur annually. During these events, clothing is collected and distributed for free on the Medford/Somerville and Grafton campuses.

The university adopted trash buddies in offices on all four campuses in 2015 to increase in-office recycling and reduce waste.

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

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. 180,000 gallons of swine slurry is produced annually. This slurry and composted bedding are spread on the farm fields as fertilizer, preventing their disposal in the solid or liquid waste stream. Tonnage data is not collected from the Cummings school compost.

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:

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

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:

1. 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.
2. Recycling presentations are made on a fairly regular basis to Tufts students, staff, and faculty.
3. All new employees are required to complete an online recycling training module. 4. Half-page recycling "cheat sheets" are provided with every trash buddy.
5. Student Eco-Reps provide education to residential students through a variety of different channels.
6. An on-line recycling training for students is distributed to students through various means. https://sustainability.tufts.edu/get-involved/students/student-recycling-training/

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 disposed of incorrectly. The Eco-Reps also administer a survey to all residential students that assesses their knowledge of proper recycling protocol. The recycling interns, Waste Reduction & Recycling Coordinator, 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:

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 (RFPs) 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.

Furniture is also saved or traded directly during office moves, a process facilitated by the Move Coordinator and the Planning Department.

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:

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. There is also @tuftsjumbocycle on Instagram for freecycle use.

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:

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 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.

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 Tufts 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 since 2009, it is only available online.

In 2020/2021 virtually all transactions were converted to electronic because of COVID.

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 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.

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

More on Tufts' Reuse programs: https://access.tufts.edu/reuse-programs
More on Tufts' specialty recycling programs: https://access.tufts.edu/specialty-recycling

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

In 2022 Tufts was selected as one of the winners of Casella’s Sustainability Leadership Award. Casella launched this annual awards program in 2020 to recognize and celebrate customers who are reducing waste and advancing the circular economy.

For Parts 1 and 2:
Materials recycled includes single-stream recycling, scrap metal, shredded paper, speciality recycling (batteries, ballasts, electronics, etc), ink and toner, disposable gloves, and recycled styrofoam.
Materials donated or re-sold includes dorm goods, clothing, other textiles, food, crutches, and shoes.
Materials composted includes food waste only. Yard waste and animal bedding are also composted, but they are not included in the compost figure since they do not represent per person waste.
Construction and demolition trash and recycling are not included.

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.