Good Citizens for Sustainability

Three students posing for UMaine Green Campus Initiative sustainability efforts

Engaging in sustainable initiatives and making decisions for the greater good are part of our mission. Here are just some of the ways we are making a difference right here in our campus community:

  • Active participation in the Real Food Challenge requiring that 20% of the University’s food purchases be “real” food (local/community based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources) by 2020
    • Currently we are purchasing local food from 26 Maine farms and 33 local businesses
  • Trayless dining at many locations, reducing the amount of water used to wash trays and additional dishes
  • Zero Waste events on campus (New Student Orientation, Maine Day and more)
  • Green cleaning products at all locations
  • Partnering with University of Maine Cooperative Extension in composting program which composts approximately 241.5 tons of food scraps and waste a year from all dining locations
  • Hilltop Dining dish room has a food pulper that grinds up food scraps and napkins, then composts as part of the University Composting Program
  • Zero-Sort Recycling at all dining locations as part of a joint venture with Casella Resource Solutions
  • Purchasing food from Black Bear Food Guild, the University’s organic farming community and learning center
  • The renovation of Wells Central was awarded green building recognition in Leadership, Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the Environment Protection Agency in 2008
    • The updated dish room incorporates a food digester that uses microorganisms to break down food waste (similar to a stomach). The digestion turns solid food wastes into a liquid form. The fluid goes straight into the floor drain in the dish room, then into the grease trap. The digester diverts good waste from landfills and saves in associated transportation costs and energy use.
Casella Logo
Graphic showing how students can help recycle

Do Your Part: Look for Signs and Bins

Collected material is transported to a Zero-Sort Processing facility where materials are sorted, baled, and sold on the recyclables commodities market. A significant percent goes toward mills and processing facilities for the manufacture of new products.

YES! Do toss these materials into the recycling bins*:

  • CARDBOARD/PAPER: pizza boxes, plates/bowls, coffee cups and hot sleeves, soup containers, food boxes/cartons
  • BOTTLES & CANS: water, soda, juice
  • PLASTIC: all salad bar containers and lids, soda cups and lids (no straws), sandwich containers, condiment cups and lids, coffee cup lids, milk bottles
* Before you do so, please empty and wipe containers with a napkin; also, pour ice or liquids into the bucket provided. Toss the container into the recycling bin. Toss the food waste and napkin into the trash.

NO! Please do NOT place these items in the recycling bins:

  • CARDBOARD/PAPER: sandwich wrappers, bakery tissue, napkins, straw wrapper
  • PLASTIC: utensils, straws, chip bags, bar wrappers, condiment packages
  • OTHER: coffee stir sticks