Waste Management

Though we try to minimize how much waste we produce, COA also makes sure that we recycle and reuse as much as possible. From clothing, to paper, to food, COA makes sure we use our resources to the fullest.


COA’s student-run recycling program reaches every floor of every building on campus, making it easy for community members to recycle office paper, cardboard, printer cartridges, aluminum, glass, tin, plastics, and batteries. All food at COA is composted, as are napkins and the disposable tableware used for some special events.

Food Waste

Food "waste" from the kitchen is composted in the college's community garden and at Beech Hill Farm providing 4 tons of compost a year from pre-consumer waste and 6 tons of compost a year from postconsumer waste.

However, leftovers aren't necessarily composted. Daily excess food that can't be sold at a reduced price the following day is given to students for free.

At the end of every term we give excess food to a local shelter and the Bar Harbor Food Pantry.

Trays: We have eliminated the use of trays to encourage people to only take what they can eat and to reduce the use of hot water used for washing.

Disposable dining service: When it is necessary to use disposable dining service, COA strives to use only compostable plates, cups and utensils. We have found on-campus composting systems ineffective at breaking down compostable service items, so an arrangement has been made to have them effectively decomposed in a nearby commercially-licensed composting facility.

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