There are plenty of sustainable practices that require you to be outside, but when winter comes along, that’s the last place you may want to be.
Don’t let the cold weather keep you from doing a little something for the environment. You can enjoy those frosty months and adopt a few new sustainable habits all without any inconvenience.
Here are a few things to try.
Adjust the thermostat
Running the heat is an essential component of winter. When it’s cold outside, you want a home that’s nice and cozy. However, your thermostat can waste a lot of electricity and/or natural gas based on the type of heater you have.
To save some energy, consider adjusting your thermostat when you’re not in need of that blast of warmth. When you’re going to be away from home for more than an hour, turn the heater down a few degrees. When you go to sleep at night, and pile under that down comforter and extra blankets, practice the same habit. Yes, your house will take a little time warming up first thing in the morning, so keep a terry cloth bathrobe by the bed for those first few moments awake. Anything to save some energy!
Eat what’s in season
There are so many amazing fruits and vegetables that hit peak ripeness in the winter months. And, when you eat what’s in season, your food spends less time traveling to your local grocery store. Less travel time means fewer vehicle emissions and less carbon dioxide hitting the air.
A great winter recipe, featuring in-season Brussels sprouts, is also an easy one-pan meal and perfect for a busy winter night. Try Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs over Caramelized Brussels Sprouts for a warming meal that’s ready in just 45 minutes.
You can find plenty of easy recipes, featuring winter produce, in Stop & Shop’s recipe center. Other seasonal fruits and veggies to use all winter long include:
- Swiss chard
- Winter Squash
Deck the halls with recyclables
No matter what holiday you celebrate during the winter season, or how you decorate your home, there are always options that are better for the environment. Change up your habits by forgoing traditional wrapping paper, which creates tons of waste each year, and trying some alternate options.
Baskets and jars make great reusable gift containers, and newspaper wrapping paper is easily recycled. You can even find reusable gift bags or get creative by using one gift, like a scarf, to wrap another.
You may also want to rethink what you use for certain holiday decorations. Artificial decor, that you toss at the end of the season each year, can create a lot of unnecessary waste. Instead, opt for decorations that last. Even an artificial tree you use for years on end is better for the environment than something you use once and toss.
If you’re able to get living decorations though, they’re the easiest to recycle. You can separate the plant matter from any wire or plastic parts and compost it, or purchase a living tree which you can recycle (or sometimes replant) once the season is over.
Staying away from decor items like tinsel and spray snow is another good practice.
Consider what’s in those holiday lights
Holiday lights can add quite the sparkle outside your home, but whether you go big and bold or subtle this winter, check to see what’s powering those lights. Traditional incandescent string lights use up to nine times more energy than LEDs. The upfront cost to switch your holiday lights might be a little more, but the energy savings will easily cover those costs in the long run. LEDs also last longer, produce less heat, and shine brighter.
Once you get those lights up, don’t forget to put them on a timer so you won’t have to remember to shut them off each day. You don’t want to waste electricity by accidentally leaving them on while the sun is shining.
Hit the road with the right mindset
Another thing that changes in winter is the amount of time you spend in your car. Maybe you’re taking a road trip to visit family for the holidays. Maybe you’re running twice as many errands, or maybe it’s just too cold to walk the two blocks to grab a bite to eat.
Your car is one area where your habits can really play a role in your environmental impact, so fuel up responsibly, try to plan an efficient errand route, and spend as little time idling in your car as possible.
To stay sustainable when it’s time to refill the gas tank, make sure you visit a Stop & Shop station. Through Stop & Shop Restore, up to 30 percent of your emissions are offset based on the amount of fuel you purchase. This is done through investments in certified carbon reduction projects around the world.
Keep it warm, cozy, and sustainable this winter
With just a few adjustments to your own winter habits, you can easily make your everyday life more sustainable. Keeping the environment in mind when you cook, decorate, and even enjoy a quiet evening at home can all make for positive changes. Stay warm and safe this winter.