Going Green at The Highlands
Through 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.
- 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.
- 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
Our Go Green efforts have made the news with articles featured on wecompostit.com and in the Times Record.
- The Forecaster: “Topsham retirement community a leader in efforts to go green“
- The Times Record front page article: “Residents help Highland of Topsham Go Greener“
- The Times Record: “The Highlands in Topsham receives certification“