BAR HARBOR, Maine — Think about the plastic waste produced at any given college; students throwing away late-night food containers on weekends, using a new straw for coffee every day on their way to class, and the school itself using plastic products for events and seminars.
A world full of wasteful tendencies, working hard to reverse damage to the planet. Those reversal strategies started here in Maine with the banning of plastic straws in Portland.
By 2021, Maine's largest city will have a complete ban on the use of plastic straws at restaurants and bars.
The plastic straw ban is the first of many bans being voted on and passed in Maine. In Bar Harbor, the College of the Atlantic is working on banning straws, and all other single-use plastic products.
The college is the first school in the country to initiate this plan, a plan led by students.
"This was an entirely student-led initiative. I'm always proud of our students, but this is something really special," College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins said.
The students got the idea from the Post Landfill Action Network, an organization working with colleges and universities around the world to reduce waste.
"This should be something we should be taking on because we can serve as an inspiration for other places," student Tina Drupa said.
Drupa and the other students who attended the conference, brought the idea of the pledge back to campus where it was met with open arms.
"By consensus, everyone in this college signed this pledge," student Ellie White said.
Officials with the Town of Bar Harbor, right down the road from the college's campus, announced a climate change emergency Tuesday. The community is going to mobilize a plan and take action. Students at C.O.A. helped bring this to the attention of the town council.
This is not the first time that students at C.O.A has helped their community. The college prides itself on being an environmental leader and living up to its reputation.
“We passed the pledge at the College of the Atlantic as a statement of the community," student Anna Sheehan added.
The school and local community have a lot of work to do in the coming months and years. President Collins says he plans for the school to be waste-free by the year 2025.