Maine: Bowdoin College

Brunswick, ME

Bowdoin College has been composting for 6 to 7 years. For the first 4 to 5 years the College used an EarthTub, which is a mechanically operated composting bin. This machine soon became a nuisance for not running as properly as hoped, by either freezing up due to the weather or continuously breaking down. For the last two years, the College has collected both pre- and post-consumer food scraps and sent these to a local farm to be used as animal feed. The College uses compostable biodegradable products (such as hot and cold cups, plates, and utensils) for its large campus events. These include the dinner for returning students at the beginning of the academic year, its traditional lobster and crab bakes, and for commencement at the end of the year. It used to send the collected material to the large-scale facility, Northeast Organics, located in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Due to high metal contamination (metal caps on champagne bottles) in a load after a graduation commencement party, that composter no longer accepts the College’s material. A local on-farm compost operation, Rickers Farm Compost, now accepts its material and at no charge. Typically, about 10 cubic yards of material are sent to Rickers Farm after each event, and 15-20% is comprised of biodegradable products. To select the biodegradable products, the Service Purchasing Manager looks at what his distributor carries, what he has seen in his mailbox, and his own riflings through trade magazines. Product certification for compostability is not yet a purchasing criteria. Bowdoin College uses Greenwave take-out containers, which are made from sugarcane, grass, and reeds, and GreenwareÒ utensils, which are made from corn.

Products and Brands Composted: 
  • Greenwave take-out containers (made of sugarcane, grass and reeds)
  • Hot and cold cups
  • Plates
  • Greenware utensils (made of corn)

Jon Wiley, Purchasing Manager
(207) 725-3432