When winter comes, the trees lose their leaves, cold airs set in, and (if you’re lucky), snow covers the landscape. It might seem like everyone is taking a break from helping the environment during these chilly times, but in reality, there is so much to do! Here are three simple steps for going green during the winter, keeping our environment healthy (and saving you some money).
1. Green De-Icing and Snow Removal
Replace your de-icing substances with non-toxic materials can go a long way in reducing your environmental impact on the environment during winter. The EPA recommends using things like clean clay cat litter, sand, or fireplace/stove ash that won’t harm your plants, pets, and the environment. Especially when snow melts, chemicals like antifreeze can pollute groundwater during run-off.
If you need to remove snow around your yard, reduce carbon emissions by switching to electric tools instead of gasoline-powered ones. There’s also the option of using manual tools like shovels, ice crackers, and brooms to reduce electric energy spent for removing snow.
2. Recycle Your Christmas Tree
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, about 24.5 million real trees were purchased in 2012. Though they are considered carbon neutral and a renewable resource, it’s important to keep them out of landfills, where they decompose a lot more slowly. Such a huge impact on the environment might encourage you to opt for a plastic tree, but if you do end up buying a fresh one, there are many different ways to reuse it. You can turn it into mulch for your yard, or you can even buy a smaller, potted one that can grow in your backyard for years.
3. Make Green Upgrades
An average household spends $2100 a year on energy bills. You can start seeing decreases in your energy bills by installing new Energy Star rated appliances (such as faucets, heaters, dishwashers and more) that can reduce the amount of latent and active energy spent throughout your home through plugged-in gadgets.
If your home is feeling drafty this winter, also look to make small repairs and upgrades to rooms that will keep the cold chills out and the heat within. You can reduce your heating bill by making sure your windows are sealed properly, putting down rugs on the floor, adding insulation in your walls, and using a programmable thermostat to heat your house more accurately.
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Posted by Mark Contorno.