Three seniors at The Highlands retirement community holding compost buckets

Going Green at The Highlands

ELCThrough collaboration with fellow residents and staff, the Go Green Committee has gone far beyond creating a culture of sustainable action. Here are some of the programs implemented at The Highlands that have already had a quantifiable effect on being ecologically responsible.


  • Biodegradable laundry detergent-diverting solvents for more than 5,000 loads
  • Green cleaning supplies available to all residents and used in common areas. Fifty percent of residents have elected to use green products impacting more than 200 homes in our community.

Waste Management

  • Emphasis on zero-sort recycling with an aggressive Reduce, Reuse, Recycle campaign
  • Accomplished 50/50 goal with a simultaneous reduction in total pickup


  • LED conversion project
  • Grounds care for 100+ acres. ALL weed suppression is 100% organic, ALL mulch is 100% organic, and all clippings and sod are composted, diverted from landfill.
  • Exclusive use of Magic Salt. At six tons of volume, significant reduction of chlorides released into the environment and eliminates the use of sand.
  • Swimming pool conversion from chlorine to salt water and CO2
  • 50% of rooms use less than 1.6gpf toilets
  • Domestic solar hot water for both the Maine Lodge and Cadigan Lodge. Solar preheats for boiler.

Food Service

  • Compost of all food waste and other biodegradable materials; With 7 bins that are 200 lbs each, twice a week and an average of 4.3 weeks in a month that equals 6 TONS per MONTH. This is a decrease in waste disposal of 72 TONS per YEAR, 144,000 lbs that isn’t going into landfills each year.
  • Recycled kitchen cooking oils. Culinary Department recycles 100% of all cooking oils. With 280 lbs of cooking oil recycled per week, that equals 7 tons per year.
  • Conversion of all single use food and drink containers and utensils to 100% compostable materials. Over 40,000 meals are served each year on one-time use utensils and all are 100% compostable.

Go Green Committee

Our Go Green committee has identified several initiatives to continue improving sustainability. Efforts include:

  • Increasing access to technology to reduce paper use and potentially save more than 500,000 copies per year
  • Providing on-site paper shredding
  • Facilitating responsible disposal of medications
  • Distributing reusable bags and recycling information
  • Including green tips in the Highlighter weekly newsletter
  • Designing collection process for electronic waste
  • Gathering signatures from 80% of residents and staff to commit to being an environmental leader community
  • Achieving Environmental Leader Certification from Maine’s Department Of Environmental Protection


News-Worthy Efforts

Our Go Green efforts have made the news with articles featured on and in the Times Record.

Green compost bin
Garden box outdoors
Compost sign at The Highlands Retirement Community
Image of garden flowers
Retired man gardening outdoors
Image of garden boxes with plants
Gazebo surrounded by flowers
Image of a bicycle on the grounds of The Highlands Retirement Community
Image of a goose lawn decoration