Posts in Greening Initiatives

Our 2017 season began like most others - a well-rested crew starting off with a long list of enthusiastic goals for what would be our busiest season to date. One of those goals, which we carried over from basically every season before that, was to have zero waste. Yes, I said it. Zero. Waste.

You’re probably wondering, how in the world does a catering kitchen manage that feat?

First, we nominated a Zero Waste Ambassador who started weighing out our compost each day so we’d have an eye-catching tally to report at the end of the season. But with all our good intentions, things got away from us and we had to focus our energy more on creating delicious cuisine and magical events than on ensuring our zero waste initiatives were met. 

That’s not to say some great progress wasn’t made, however. We’ve always had a robust composting and recycling program, both of which have improved year over year in the nine years we’ve been in business. Our neighbor’s farm benefitted from the tons of compost we saved from the trash that fed his gardens and we had long since replaced Styrofoam and other similar products with biodegradable and compostable alternatives.  

As such, our momentum last season propelled us into 2018 with great ambition. To top it off, we were invited to join a local group of food businesses on and around MDI who had similar goals in mind - namely to reduce food and other waste produced by businesses like ours. So, we joined the Sustainable Business Pledge and we haven’t looked back. As a participant in the pledge program, we promise to: 

  1. Not use plastic straws or plastic drink stirrers

  2. Not use foam (Polystyrene, Styrofoam™) to-go containers, cups, bowls, or plates  

  3. Not use plastic bags for to-go orders

  4. Use reusable, washable, or compostable cups, plates, bowls, and utensils

  5. Not use plastic garbage bags that are not certified compostable

  6. Compost food waste (or give it to farmers) and compost compostable disposables.  

We’ve made huge progress thanks to this pledge, and one of our biggest achievements has been with regards to trash. We’ve reduced our trash output exponentially - going from several large bins to one small bin for the ENTIRE kitchen.

We’re excited to see where this all leads to next and we know one thing for sure, the local pigs are super happy with all our food scraps. 


Mandy Fountaine is the owner of Bar Harbor Catering Company, lifelong Mainer, and lover of all things food and travel related.


Bar Harbor restaurants are working together to find uses for food waste, as well as looking to reduce waste from to-go containers, flatware, returnable bottles, cans, cups, and straws.

Here at BHCC, we work hard each year to add to our sustainability efforts by:

  • Using compostable plates and utensils

  • Implementing a kitchen scrap program that is either composted or donated to local pigs, chickens, and farms

  • Increasing our recycling program

  • Only giving out (paper!) straws when requested.

Other initiatives are in the works and we look forward to working with other environmentally-conscious businesses to come up with even more greening ideas!


We have pledged to:

  1. Stop using plastic straws and drink stirrers

  2. Replace all foam (polystyrene, Styrofoam™) products with products that are truly biodegradable

  3. Stop using plastic bags for to-go orders

  4. Use reusable and washable cups, plates, bowls, and utensils

  5. Stop using regular plastic garbage bags

  6. Compost food waste (or give it to farmers) and compostable products


Agri-Cycle is New England’s premier food waste collection service. We have partnered with them to convert everything from scraps to expired packaged food into clean, green energy.

According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted each year, and the majority winds up in landfills. When food decomposes in a landfill it produces methane, which is approximately 20 times more potent in trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Through a process called anaerobic digestion (see the image at right), it captures those harmful greenhouse gasses, harnessing them to use as clean fuel and fertilizer.