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Past Sustainability Projects

3D Printing Waste Reuse – Kayla Devosa, 2021-2022

3D printing allows users to create multiple design iterations quickly and at low costs. Therefore, 3D printing has become a major component in rapid prototyping for both engineering disciplines and technology and engineering classroom use. The two main filament types used are Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polylactic Acid (PLA). Both examples are thermoplastics meaning they can be reformed with minor chemical degradation. In the prototyping process, large quantities of waste is produced from failed designs and support material. One makerspace reported fifteen pounds of filament waste in one semester.1 Although PLA is biodegradable and made from renewable resources, such as corn, only industrial composting facilities can degrade the material into water, carbon dioxide, and organic material.2 Additionally, PLA is not accepted at all recycling facilities due to its dissimilar melting temperature. As the patents of 3D printers continue to expire and prices decrease, more and more people will buy 3D printers for personal use; yet, there is still not an affordable and sustainable model to recycle the plastic waste. Therefore, PLA waste will continue to enter landfills at alarming rates. My proposed solution is a system that melts and extrudes PLA filament waste into reusable 3D printing filament. In developing my design I have taken inspiration from Filabot’s industrial scale filament recyclers. Click here for the full proposal. 

Watch the extruding system in action.


Air Quality, Traffic and School-Based Neighborhoods: A Proposal Creating Citizen Scientists through an Environmental Monitoring Simulation (SIM) – Alexis Mraz and Karen Gordon; Co-I Brenda Seals, 2021-2022

We propose to develop course-embedded class projects and wider TCNJ participation in a Simulation Exercise with a focus on air quality with potential impacts on educational settings and human health outcomes such as asthma and respiratory disease.  Air-quality related asthma plays a significant role in educational participation by limiting attendance and quality of engagement for children and students of all ages.  Data-driven, case study simulations (SIM) are a realistic and effective method for interactive and authentic instructional experiences for students in a variety of departments and programs. Once developed, time-limited SIMs can spike interest and skills augmenting ongoing classes and providing opportunities for interdisciplinary-shared interests. TCNJ faculty can adapt SIM situations, problems, and conditions by tailoring content specific to their respective disciplines. SIMs and teaching, especially related to environment, climate change, and communications. Faculty within the Department of Public Health are in the process of developing an interdisciplinary pilot project proposal useful for multiple courses across TCNJ departments. Click here for the full proposal. 


Native Plants – People for Plants, 2021-2022

People4Plants, a Recognized Student Organization, proposes to purchase and plant ornamental native perennial plants, grasses, and small shrubs in one or more of the proposed designated places indicated on the map below. Adding more native perennials, shrubs, grasses, and trees on campus is essential for elevating the moods of
students and their appreciation for the campus, as well as doing our fair share as a campus to support gravely endangered wildlife and pollinating insects. Increasing native plantings is also required by TCNJ Sustainable Landscaping Policy. Increasing native planting spaces on campus will require a cultural change and can be accomplished through small projects, such as this one. Additionally, this poses an opportunity for TCNJ to increase biodiversity and join other college campuses making strides in becoming more environmentally sustainable. The planting of these native garden beds will be the responsibility of People4Plants and their members. Ongoing upkeep and maintenance will be the responsibilities of People4Plants and their members, in collaboration with Buildings and Grounds Staff. Click here for the full proposal.


TCNJ Pollinator Garden

A team of students in Dr. Shakow’s Climate Change and Society course received $7,000 to install pollinator gardens throughout TCNJ. The first planting day happened in September 2018. Stay up-to-date with the pollinator gardens by following them on Instagram @tcnjpollinatorgarden !

Water Bottle Refilling Station

PC3 funded a project to install more water bottle refill stations on campus for $3,500.

Sustainability Stickers

Students designed stickers to promote sustainability on campus. Their project was awarded $36.

Hazelnut Grove

Dr. Aucott received a donation of hazelnut trees from Rutgers. With support from TCNJ Grounds, Bonner Scholars, and Students, the trees were planted in Fall 2017. PC3 funded the educational signs in Hazelnut Grove. More information on the initiative can be found here.

TerraCycle Bins

TerraCycle bins were installed around campus as a supplement for TCNJ’s single stream recycling. Items that could not be recycled at TCNJ could now be taken to TerraCycle bins. Once the boxes were full they were shipped back to TerraCycle to be recycled. Learn more about the program by clicking here and visiting their website.

Environmental Sustainability in Education

TCNJ is proud to say we now offer Environmental Sustainability Education. The program is comprised of three courses covering varying intersections of environmental sustainability education, a 5-course minor in ESE, and workshops for teachers.

Bike Repair Stations

$1,700 were allocated for the installation of a bike repair station on campus right outside the Student Center. The bike repair station includes tools and an air pump. It is free to use and open to the public so that we can continue to make biking to campus more accessible. More information can be found here.