Bowdoin Wins Recycle Bin Grant

Story posted May 20, 2014

Thanks to Keep America Beautiful and the Coca-Cola Foundation, Bowdoin will receive twenty, 23-gallon bins for placement in the first year dorms. Having collection bins solely for bottle and can redemption on every other floor of the bricks will foster improved recycling behavior in students acclimating to Bowdoin’s sustainability-focused campus.

Since 1978, Maine has had a bottle bill that imposes a five or fifteen cent deposit on every bottle or can purchased in the state. States with similar bottle bills boast recycling rates more than twice the national average, with Maine claiming upwards to 90% return rates on redeemable items. At Bowdoin, these statistics are difficult to calculate because many students collect and return their own bottles and cans. Trash audits in the past, however, suggest that many first year students do not understand that disposing of those aluminum, plastic, and glass containers equates to throwing away nickels.

Nickels add up, and for college students looking for extra cash (even if it is to reclaim their own money), entering the world of redeemable containers is a redeeming habit. For several years now, the college house system at Bowdoin has assiduously counted their bottles and cans. Olivia “Seward’s Folly” Pfeifer ’16, Quinby’s Eco Rep, raked in hundreds of dollars for her house alone.

Receiving this grant puts Bowdoin one step closer to achieving its goal of zero waste. With our recycling rate presently at 35%, campaigns to encourage increased recycling, expanded composting, and decreased consumption all play a key role in attaining a smaller waste stream.

Read the press release here.