BAR HARBOR – The College of the Atlantic has become the first post-secondary school in the nation to sign a pledge to eliminate all single-use plastics from their campus.
The pledge, called Break Free from Plastic, is supported by the Post Landfill Action Network — or PLAN.
PLAN is a nonprofit that educates students to tackle issues around waste and unsustainable systems on their campuses.
“Basically our goal is to divert 100 percent of our discarded resources, so waste, away from landfills by 2030 and our goal is 70 percent by 2020 and we’ve already surpassed that,” said Eleanor White, co-chair of the school’s Committee for Sustainability.
COA students, staff and faculty signed the pledge after months of planning done by student-led groups.
President Darron Collins said the for a long time the school has been aware of the role plastics play in the environment. He said COA focuses on even the little things, like tea bag containers or plastic stirrers. Now they use a pasta-based coffee stirrer instead of a plastic one.
“The best thing about this is it was a student-led initiative. The students worked through our government system and really helped us make some change,” Collins said.
“We have work to do, we have a lot of work to do in terms of reducing our use of plastics, but I’m really proud of what they’ve done and what the institution has done,” he said.
Collins said the end goal is to eliminate all compostable plastics from the kitchen and entire service at college.