Commitment to Sustainability

Bowdoin College Dining Service is a committed and enthusiastic partner in the sustainability mission of the college.

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 the 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 environmental decisions considering relevant environmental and sustainability issues.  Through our Environmental Committee, 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.  To that end, we will:

  • Continue our strong relationship with Farm Fresh Connections (FFC), a local company that coordinates the sale of food from farms to institutions in south-central Maine.
  • Provide oversight and coordination to the ongoing development of an agriculturally and financially sustainable Bowdoin Organic Garden project.
  • Strengthen the ties to our local communities by utilizing local businesses and services whenever possible.
  • Ensure that a selection criterion for all contracted vendors is a consideration of their environmental practices and record.
  • Consider environmental factors when purchasing new or replacement equipment, especially as they relate to energy and water efficiency.

To reduce waste, Bowdoin Dining will use all reasonable efforts to decrease consumption and purchase reusable, recylable and biodegradable products when available.  To that end, we will:

  • Continue to use unbleached, dioxin-free paper napkins in all our dining units.
  • Market reusable mugs and lunch bags/boxes to students and staff and provide tangible benefits for their use.
  • Continue to use biodegradable containers in our take-out operations to the greatest practical extent.
  • Encourage tray-less dining in all dining halls.
  • Utilize biodegradable serviceware for our two largest annual catering events-the opening lobster bake (1600 happy people) and the commencement lunch (4000 proud people) as well as other large catered events.
  • Advocate for reduced and bulk packaging with all our vendors.
  • Reduce use of single-serve water bottles by advocating for bulk water service (earthenware, cambro and Zip-2-Water) whenever feasible.
  • Use accurate menu forecasting from our food management software to match food production to usage.  If over-production occurs, we will work with the student organization, Food Forward, to ensure efficient delivery to appropriate local non-profit organizations.
  • Be frugal and practice conservation in our use of natural resources such as electricity, water, fuel, food products and paper, including utilizing solar hot water panels to pre-heat the hot water for the dishroom and switching to LED lighting in dining rooms and kitchens where possible.

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. To that end, we will:

  • Continue our commitment to recycling all cardboard, metal cans, plastic containers, glass, and plastic bags in our dining operations.
  • Support the 1976 Maine Refundable Beverage Container Law by providing adequate locations for the collection of refundable bottles and cans.
  • Continue to use dioxin-free unbleached coffee filters in all our dining units.
  • Enthusiastically support composting by diverting pre- and post-consumer food scraps from the waste stream for pick up by our contracted composting partner.

To promote health and reduce the negative impacts of global industrial meat production, Bowdoin Dining will promote a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and sourced locally.  To that end, we will:

  • Increase plant-based menu options including the use of local and organic fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins.
  • Make information available to our customers regarding healthy diets with less reliance on animal proteins.
  • Support and improve the supply chain for local food producers.
  • Continue to partner with Portland-based Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) to increase markets for local fish, including underutilized species.