Good Citizens for Sustainability

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:

  • UMaine Dining is an active participant 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 for all of our large events – New Student Orientation, Maine Day – on campus
  • Green cleaning products at all locations
  • Wells Central renovation awarded green building recognition in Leadership, Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the Environment Protection Agency in 2008.
  • 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.
  • Biodegradable cups, cutlery, sandwich wraps, plates, salad containers and unbleached napkins
  • 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 (joint venture with Casella Resource Solutions) at all Dining locations.
  • Purchasing food from Black Bear Guild, the University’s organic farming community and learning center
  • New dish room at Wells Central incorporates a food digester that uses microorganisms to break down food waste in much the same way your stomach does. The digestion turns solid food wastes into a liquid form. The fluid goes straight into the floor drain in the dish room, then into our grease trap. The Food Digester diverts good waste from landfills, and it saves in transportation cost and associated energy use.
Three students posing for GCI sustainability efforts
Casella Logo
Graphic showing how students can help recycle

You can PITCH IN for recycling at the Bear’s Den.

Look for the 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 with a significant percent going to 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