Courtesy of USM

By: Ben Whitcher, USM Eco-Rep

According to, zero waste is the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.

Sounds nice. You’re probably thinking, “But I’m just a college student, I don’t know my left from right, let alone how to eliminate all my waste”. Well, you’re right, you’re probably not going to eliminate all the waste you generate, at least not at first. Not everything has a perfect zero waste solution, sometimes the only solution is to evaluate how necessary what it is you are purchasing. With that being said, here are a few good places to start.

1. Thrift thrift thrift.
This one is a no-brainer. Do I really need to explain? Okay fine,, number one look cool and get compliments on that dope funky sweater. Two, save money on clothes, school supplies, crafts, kitchenware, even furniture for your dorm! Three, thrift stores often have programs that benefit the community and help to fight homelessness! Did you know USM has its own thrift store on the Gorham campus too? The USM Free Store is the place to be.

2. BYO
Step one, get a reusable water bottle. Step two, cover that bad boy in stickers so that people know you are interesting and go places/do things (okay this part isn’t EXACTLY zero-waste, but it looks cool). Step three, take that 36 pack of Kirkland water bottles and throw ‘em in the trash! Not really, but STOP BUYING THEM.Oh yeah, and don’t forget to bring that reusable shopping and produce bags to the store with you! Or maybe invest in a Greenwave container from Sodexo and bring that to Woodbury Dining instead of putting your pizza on a plate you will throw out a minute later.

3. Stop buying things you don’t need.

Here’s a list: sandwich baggies, plastic shopping bags, plastic
water bottles, and paper towels. There are more, but these are easily swapped with zero-waste alternatives. Before making impulsive or any purchase, take a breath and ask yourself, how long will this last, is it a necessity or want, what will happen to it after I am done with it? Going through this process might sway you from making that purchase.

And now a tip on how to make your own lotion! –
Non-Greasy Lotion
● 2 Tablespoons of Grated Beeswax
● 1/2 Cup of Sweet Almond or olive oil*
● 2 Tablespoons of Vitamin E Oil
● 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Butter
● 3/4 Cup of Water

Melt your beeswax, almond oil, and cocoa butter in a double broiler. Once they’ve melted add the vitamin e, a natural preservative and excellent for nourishing skin. In the base of a blender add your water. Once my roses are in bloom, I think I will use rose water next time. Once the water is blending slowly stream in your oils. You’re creating an emulsion. Do it VERY SLOWLY. You will see it form into a thick and creamy consistency. Pour it into a spare pump bottle or into a mason jar. Keep it in the fridge.


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