With winter approaching quickly, a lot of people are wondering about how they can be more sustainable. This is particularly an issue when it comes to keeping warm. Fortunately, we’ve decided to round out some tips for you in this post.
Tips for being more sustainable during winter
1. Use public transportation
While using your car seems like the logical way to get around during winter, using public transportation or carpooling is more sustainable. Not only will it reduce your carbon footprint but it will also keep you warmer.
2. Switch to reusable mugs
Since we tend to drink more hot beverages during winter, it’s easy to end up using dozens of single-use plastic cups during this season. As such, one of the best ways to be more sustainable is to get a reusable mug that you can carry around with you.
This will not only reduce waste but also save you money. Interestingly, you can even get drinks at discounted prices in some coffee shops if you bring your own mug.
3. Don’t waste water
While it’s tempting to take long hot showers during winter, it’s not a good idea – it wastes water. What’s more? It dries out your skin. So stick to short hot showers and turn off the shower when shampooing your hair or applying soap on your body.
Also, don’t do the laundry or run the dishwasher unless you really need to.
4. Make your home more energy efficient
You can reduce the amount of energy used in your home by:
- Turning your heater down a bit, even if it’s by just a degree, especially at night
- Turning off your heater when you leave the house for long periods
- Using energy-efficient bulbs
- Turning off any standby appliances
- Unplugging any chargers or adapters when you’re not using them – this helps prevent phantom energy
- Using a smart thermostat
- Insulating your home – consider getting clear window film
- Opening your drapes during the day and closing them at night. This will let in the sun’s warmth during the day and keep the cold out at night
- Ensuring you have warm clothes and accessories
- Draught-proofing your doors
- Considering bleeding your radiators to let out any trapped air. This air could be compromising their heating efficiency
5. Don’t buy new clothes unnecessarily
Instead of getting new winter coats and other warm clothes every winter, it’s best to use your old ones. Considering how much environmental damage the fashion industry does, this is a surefire way to be more sustainable.
Keep in mind that this industry accounts for 1.5 million liters of water use and 10% of worldwide carbon emissions each year.
That’s why it isn’t even advisable to throw away clothes that can still be worn. It will just make things worse by filling landfills. Ultimately, it’s best to only buy clothes you’ll wear for a while and donate those that you are no longer interested in.
6. Shop sustainably
If you must upgrade your wardrobe this winter, buy your clothes from brands that have sustainable practices.
Alternatively, you can buy second-hand clothes from charity shops or online stores like eBay. If you’re shopping for groceries, source locally so that you don’t have to use your car to transport them for long distances.
Also, try to buy whatever vegetables are in season.
In many parts of the world, local city authorities won’t pick up your organic waste/compost from your home during the winter. However, you can counteract this by composting your own waste in your backyard.
8. Don’t use chemical de-icers
While many people use street salt and other chemical deicers to clear snowy paths, it’s not sustainable. These chemicals can negatively affect aquatic ecosystems. It’s better to use more natural alternatives like the beet wastewater that is usually left after sugar beet processing.
Alternatively, you could choose to shovel the snow away. This can even help you warm up and get some much-needed exercise. Avoid using gasoline-powered shoveling appliances though – these contribute to carbon emissions.
9. Choose eco-friendly gifts
Since 30% more waste is usually produced during the festive period, it’s important to be more conscious of the kind of gifts and packaging we buy at this time. One way to do this is to buy gifts from eco-friendly shops. Beyond that, always opt for sustainable wrapping materials. These include:
- Eco-friendly paper tape
- Old newspapers
- Old gift bags
- Old wrapping paper
- Recycled brown paper
10. Consider replacing your air filters
Dirty air filters can interfere with airflow and keep your thermostat from working well, especially during the winter.
11. Run your ceiling fan in a clockwise direction
This will pull warm air from the ceiling and spread it around the room. This simple change can cut your heating costs by up to 10%.
12. Drain water lines
If your air conditioner takes in water, ensure you drain its pipes and remove any water that has accumulated in the system. Also, ensure that you turn off your AC water valve as you won’t need it during winter.
And if you have a window unit, remember to bring it inside the house and keep it there throughout winter. Leaving it outside will bring drafty air into your home.
13. Get some indoor plants
Since plants release moisture into the air, they can help your home trap heat. This will keep you warmer for longer, saving you money on heating costs. It will also help your skin remain moisturized.
14. Get a humidifier
Getting a humidifier will ensure that the air in your home isn’t dry. This will help with heat retention.
When it comes down to it, it will take some effort on your part to be more sustainable in the winter. But it’s more than worth it – both the environment and your finances will be better for it!