St. Mary's Tradition Makes the Switch to Bamboo

Cardboard Boat Race Goes Green

ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (Sept. 27, 2010)—To increase sustainability, St. Mary’s College of Maryland has upgraded its time-honored campus tradition—the Great Cardboard Boat Race—to the Great Bamboo Boat Race. Students will be constructing the boats from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, October 2, on the college's waterfront; the race begins at 4 p.m.

In the past, competing boats were made of furring strips of pine, lots of cardboard, multiple rolls of duct tape, twine, and building plastic, but disposal of the remnants was difficult. “The downside after (the race) was duct tape made it hard to separate for recycling, and the cardboard got all soggy and messy,” said Rick Loheed, assistant director of waterfront activities.

Now, racers will use bamboo, a fast-growing renewable source that is available locally; biodegradable twine; recyclable plastic; and some duct tape. “By intelligently changing one material, increasing or decreasing the quantities of some, and eliminating others entirely, the event becomes more sustainable, environmentally friendlier, more economical, more esthetic, and safer!” said Loheed.

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