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10 Cozy Ways to Stay Sustainable in Winter

10 Cozy Ways to Stay Sustainable in Winter

 

By Christa Adams

Boil the kettle and whip up a steamy cup of hot chocolate — winter is here.

While many of us are ecstatic about the first snow or breaking out our favorite wooly winter coats, many would prefer to fast-forward to spring. Whatever you like, the shorter days mean you’ll probably be spending more time indoors than usual anyway. And winter can unquestionably make it tougher to live sustainably — not only does the cold translate to higher heating bills, but it can have us reaching for our car keys instead of our walking shoesBut fear and shiver not — here are 10 fantastic ways to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle even in the depths of winter. 

Resist the thermostat 

We’re so used to our comforts that change can be hard. But try this — before cranking the heat when you’re feeling a chill, slip on some fuzzy socks or a knitted hat. The planet will be grateful, your toes will be warm, and your heating bill will sting a little less.

Use radiators instead of central heating 

As many blankets as you pile on, if you live somewhere that receives winter’s brunt, you will need to turn on the heat at some point. Many houses in the U.S. are already equipped with central heating, but we recommend you invest in a couple of space radiators instead. Bonus points if your home is already installed with radiators or you’re willing to invest in installing them. Oil radiators are far more eco-friendly than central heating systems — keeping warm even after they’re shut off — and they still do a wonderful job at keeping your house cozy and warm. They are the greener choice because they don’t give off emissions, have a long lifespan, and are energy efficient.  

Take inventory of your home goods 

Since you’ll be home more, it’s a great opportunity to consider what you’re using around the house. Is it kind on the environment? Make a list of items that could be used up and swapped for more sustainable alternatives (switching from jugs of detergent to eco-friendly laundry strips, for example, or ditching the plastic dish sponge for a biodegradable one).  

Conserve energy 

There are many other ways to conserve energy. When the weather outside is bright and sunny, open your curtains and let in the direct sunlight. This will help warm your home, so you can keep the heating low. Just remember to close them in the evening to keep drafts out. Unplug small appliances, chargers, and adaptors when not in use to avoid phantom energy consumption. This easily applies year-round but is especially handy in winter when bills and consumption are typically higher.  

Drink warm beverages 

The coziness of starting a cold morning with a warm coffee is just what you need this winter. Plus, winter is a great excuse to sip hot coffee in the morning and warm cider after sunset. Whether you prefer tea or coffee, these drinks will keep you and your hands warm while giving you something sustainable to do at home in winter. That’s why we suggest whipping up some homemade drinks instead of heading to your local coffee franchise.  

Try canning food  

While there are delicious local fruits and vegetables to enjoy during the winter, consider canning some to preserve them throughout the coming year. This is one of the many ways to enjoy sustainable living in winter because you’ll be limiting your food waste and purchasing less grocery store produce. So, head to a local farmer’s market (or your home garden), pick up some fruits and vegetables, and let the fun of canning begin. You can even make it an event, as this is a fantastic way to spend time with family and friends during the coldest days. Here’s an awesome guide full of winter canning ideas.  

Bundle up and enjoy a walk 

Winter walks can be extraordinary, especially when your path is covered in fluffy snow. If you live within walking distance of a store or café, consider putting on some durable warm layers and walking instead of resorting to the convenience of a quick car ride. Invite a friend and make it a fun date! 

When you do drive, don’t idle 

Dress for the weather even if you’re just hopping into your car. It only takes 30 seconds for a car engine to heat up in winter. So, instead of turning the car on and running back inside your house while your vehicle warms up, wait 30 seconds, ensure you have visibility from your windows, and then be on your way. Wear warm layers and your car will feel a lot less chilly. Fuel comes at high cost these days — both for you and the planet. 

Try hobbies like knitting 

Hobbies such as knitting are a wonderful and oftentimes sustainable way to pass the time in winter. Knit with sustainably sourced materials like wool and use your creations to keep you comfortable until spring arrives. Handmade items also make for terrific sustainable gifts throughout the holidays. So, keep that in mind coming into the season! 

Use area rugs 

If you have hardwood floors or tiling, they can get pretty cold in winter. Lay out some area rugs to warm up the space and throw on a pair of thick slippers, too. Your home will not only feel warmer but cozier and stylish as well. Win, win! 

There is so much beauty in winter! Any of these cozy sustainable ideas will help you make the most of this snowy, lovely season.

 

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