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:

  • a pulper that composts food and paper products
  • green cleaning products
  • Zero-Sort Recycling (joint venture with Casella Resource Solutions) in the Bear’s Den at the Memorial Union
  • trayless dining at many locations, reducing the amount of water used to wash trays and additional dishes
  • biodegradeable cups, cutlery, sandwich wraps, plates, salad containers and unbleached napkins
  • “GreenToGo” reusable container program
  • improved efforts in Zero-Sort and composting by continual staff education,  currently compost all pre-consumer food waste and some post consumer
  • worked to improve signage and awareness for post consumer waste at the Bear’s Den
  • enlisted Green Campus Initiative students to do some awareness campaigns in the Memorial Union
  • working with campus committee to test Zero Waste event procedure to eventually build a model for campus
  • Maine Day (May) and New Student Orientation (June) are Zero Waste events for this year. Fed over 3,400 people with only 2 bags of trash for one event.

For UMaine Dining’s local food and health initiatives click here.

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

For an updated Zero-Sort Recycling brochure from Casella Resource Solutions explaining the process and more details on what can be recycled and what can’t, click here.

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

Learn more about UMaine’s Sustainability Efforts!


How it Works — 1st Visit:

  1. Get a GreenToGo ticket from any Bear’s Den or Union Central Market cashier for $5—this is a deposit and NOT A FEE. The $5 will be returned to you at the end of the program.
  2. Visit any Bear’s Den venue from 11AM to 2PM, Monday through Friday. Please do not mix salad bar items which are purchased by weight with items that are purchased by each. This will make it difficult for the cashier to know how to charge you.
  3. Hand the server your GreenToGo ticket and place your order.
  4. Your meal will be placed in the secure, environmentally-friendly reusable container that is 100% BPA free.
  5. Pay for your meal as usual at the cashier station.
  6. Enjoy then or later! The container seals and can be used in the microwave. If you are going to save your meal for later, please be sure to refrigerate it promptly for safety and quality reasons.

How it Works — All Semester Long:

  1. Clean your container and return it to the drop-off station at Nature’s Palate in the Bear’s Den. (Please do not reuse your container as we need to properly sanitaize it.)
  2. You will be provided a new GreenToGo ticket to exchange for a clean, sanitized container at any Bear’s Den venue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

At the End of the Program:

  1. Return your clean container or GreenToGo ticket at Union Central Market to reclaim your $5 deposit.

Interested? Contact Us!