Bowdoin College, ME Dining Service Environmental Commitments

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Bowdoin College, ME, US

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Bowdoin College, ME, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted

Source File:


Bowdoin Dining Service is committed to being an integral partner in the environmental mission of the college. As a department, we believe that it is important to think green and therefore we constantly evaluate our policies and procedures in light of their impact on the environment. We are proud of our initiatives that encourage best practices like reducing, reusing and recycling.

As residents of Midcoast Maine, our employees live in small towns like Brunswick, Lisbon, Bowdoinham, Litchfield and Arrowsic. We appreciate the beauty of our area and the importance of preserving the healthy eco- systems that we currently enjoy. Working at Bowdoin gives us the opportunity to share our commitment with students from all over the country and the world who in turn energize us with their passion and perspective. The good things we do here now can have a big impact for generations to come.

Bowdoin College Environmental Mission Statement
Being mindful of our use of the Earth's natural resources, we are committed to leading by example to integrate environmental awareness and responsibility throughout the college community. The College shall seek to encourage conservation, recycling, and other sustainable practices in its daily decision making processes, and shall take into account, in the operations of the College, all appropriate economic, environmental, and social concerns.

In keeping with Bowdoin's bicentennial motto, "The College and the Common Good”, Bowdoin Dining Service recognizes its responsibility to take a leadership role in environmental stewardship by integrating environmental awareness, local action, and global thinking into our operational planning and decision-making. As a way to capture this ethic and interpret the College’s Environmental Mission Statement within our department, we commit ourselves to the following initiatives:

Sustainable Awareness
Bowdoin Dining will make department decisions considering relevant environmental and sustainability issues. Through our Environmental Committee, which includes representation from Dining Service, Sustainable Bowdoin and Bowdoin students, we will advocate action and monitor our adherence to departmental environment policies. We will select and monitor “best practice” sustainability indicators suitable for Bowdoin Dining operations as a method for tracking performance improvement. We will keep the College community informed and aware of our environmental initiatives and process.

Sustainable Policy
To promote a sustainable economy in Maine and New England, Bowdoin Dining will use all reasonable efforts to utilize affordably priced local and renewable products that reflect the College's commitment to sustainability.

  • We will continue our strong relationship with Farm Fresh Connections (FFC), a program of the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society that coordinates the sale of food from farms to institutions (colleges and hospitals) in south-central Maine.
  • We will provide oversight and coordination to the ongoing development of an agriculturally and financially sustainable Bowdoin Organic Garden project. Within College budget parameters, we will provide funding, equipment and labor to help ensure its continued viability and success.
  • We will strengthen the ties to our local communities by utilizing local businesses and services whenever possible.
  • We will ensure that a selection criterion for all contracted vendors is a consideration of their environmental practices and record.
  • We will consider environmental factors when purchasing new or replacement equipment.

To reduce waste, Bowdoin Dining will use all reasonable efforts to decrease consumption and purchase reusable, recyclable and biodegradable products when available.

  • We will continue to use unbleached dioxin-free paper napkins in all our dining units.
  • We will make reusable mugs and lunch bags available to all students and provide tangible benefits for their use.
  • We will continue to use biodegradable containers in our take-out operations to the greatest practical extent.
  • We will utilize biodegradable service ware for our two largest annual catered events—the Graduation Lobster Bake (2200 happy people) and the Commencement Lunch (4000 proud people).
  • We will advocate for reduced and bulk packaging with all our vendors.
  • We will use accurate menu forecasting from our food management software to match food production to usage. If over-production occurs, we will work with students to develop an efficient delivery system to appropriate local non-profit organizations.
  • We will enthusiastically support Bowdoin Composting by diverting pre- and post-consumer food scraps from the waste stream into the program.
  • We will be frugal and practice conservation in our use of natural resources such as electricity, water, fuel, food products and paper.

To complete the loop of recycling products, Bowdoin Dining will use all reasonable efforts to purchase products with recycled content when available and conduct vigorous recycling programs.

  • We will continue our commitment to recycling all cardboard, metal cans, plastic containers and glass in our dining operations.
  • We will support the 1976 Maine Refundable Beverage Container Law by providing adequate locations for the collection of refundable bottles and cans.
  • We will continue to use dioxin-free unbleached coffee filters in all our dining units.