By Camille Williams, USM Eco-Rep

With the colder months not too far ahead of us, it’s a great time to start thinking about ways to stay sustainable. It can be difficult to keep riding a bike to campus when it’s freezing out or to grow your outdoor vegetables when the ground is cold. Keep on reading to find out five ways to reduce your carbon footprint this winter.

Take the USM Metro Husky Line

I’m sure you have seen the bright blue and white buses driving through campus, you can’t miss them, they have a husky on the side! These are new natural gas buses free for all USM students, staff and faculty to use with an ID. It’s a cost effective and easy way to lower your carbon footprint, save on gas money and avoid looking for parking. Did you also know that you can take all METRO bus lines anywhere in Portland, Westbrook and South Portland? That means going downtown Portland without the hassle of paying and looking for parking!

Insulate Your Home

With the weather turning colder each week, it can make the inside of our apartments feel colder too. Often in older homes there are a lot of air leaks. Air leakage can lead to drafts and increase the amount of heat you use. One way to avoid the increase heat costs and energy use is by putting plastic over your windows or getting window dressers made.

Reusable Decorations

Starting now until the holiday season is over, decorations are sure to adorn the space you live in. The USM Free Store in Lower Brooks has an entire section dedicated to meeting your holiday decor needs. The Goodwill in downtown Gorham also offers a low-cost way to get in the holiday spirit. On the flip side, if you have too many decorations, you can always donate to the Free Store or give to someone else!

Canning your Garden

In a month the harvest season will be over and your beautiful garden might be flush with fruits and vegetables. Instead of trying to use them all now, try canning. Preserving your garden’s goods is a sustainable way to minimize waste and offers a delicious treat in the cold winter months.

Visiting Thrift Stores

Being a student in Maine means that jackets are essential for the cold weather. Before you shell out a bunch of money for a new winter jacket this year, check out a local thrift store first! Production of clothing is costly to the planet. Buying clothes second hand is such a great way to reduce waste/pollution and keep clothes out of landfills.


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