Sustainable MDI expands efforts

MOUNT DESERT — Last spring, a group of local restaurant and cafe owners and workers got together with A Climate to Thrive (ACTT) to figure out how to help each other go further in reducing their environmental impact. They had many sustainability goals, but decided to begin by creating a pledge program with six specific commitments focused on reducing the flow of single use plastics and food into the waste stream.

Last summer, 51 food businesses took the pledge and took significant actions to make their businesses more sustainable. Two of those commitments were to not give out plastic bags or foam containers, so when all four Mount Desert Island towns passed plastic bag and foam ordinances this year, it made room for the group to rewrite the pledge and include all of their original sustainability goals.

The new pledge creates a long range vision that includes reducing, reusing and recycling; energy efficiency; transitioning to renewable energy; food waste reduction; sustainable food sourcing and using non-toxic cleaning products.

Businesses that are doing or transitioning to at least five of the 10 long-range visionary practices this year can display the “SMDI” decal.

ACTT received a grant to expand Sustainable MDI’s reach beyond food businesses this summer.

The Asticou Inn and the Bar Harbor Inn, which pledged for their restaurants last year, took the lead in thinking about how to apply the program to lodging businesses. Eleven more hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts have already signed on to the new pledge: the Acacia House Inn, Ann’s Point Inn, Aysgarth Station Bed & Breakfast, Bar Harbor Villager, The Birches Bed & Breakfast and Cottages, Harbour Cottage Inn, Holbrook House Bed & Breakfast, Kingsleigh Inn, Lighthouse Inn, Saltair Inn and Shore Path Cottage.

“All of them were all already leaders in their sustainable practices, and they’ve pledged to help each other go even further,” a statement from ACTT said. “The ripples are spreading even beyond lodging businesses, as the Criterion Theatre and the whole MDI Regional School System have taken the pledge.”

The new pledge and full list of businesses can be found at Contact [email protected]

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