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Winter

At Home & In the Garden

Quick Tips:

  • Winterize your vehicle by checking your air filter and fluid levels, checking tires for tread wear and proper inflation, and checking the condition of your windshield wipers. Ensuring your vehicle is ready for weather changes will reduce damage, which prevents waste from broken parts, and will keep you safe on the road.
  • Use electric snow removal products rather than gasoline-powered ones. While electric products consume energy, they do not emit greenhouse gases. As alternatives, use snow shovels, ice crackers, and brooms to clear snow from your sidewalk, porch, or driveway.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, save your ashes in a tin instead of throwing them away. Cold wood ashes can be mixed in your compost heap to create a valuable soil amendment that provides nutrients to your garden.
  • Winter storms often cause power outages. Prevent waste by keeping rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones stored throughout your house with your flashlights. If you do use disposable batteries, prevent hazardous waste by buying batteries with low mercury content.
  • Many articles of clothing, such as jackets, scarves, gloves, and boots, are now made from recycled materials. Most fleece products are made from recycled plastic soda bottles, and certain clothing and shoe manufacturers use recycled cotton scraps and rubber tires to make their products.
  • "Recycle" old newspapers by making rolled paper logs for your fireplace. Roll newspaper sheets around a broom stick until your log is the desired size, then soak your log thoroughly in water. Dry the log overnight and use like ordinary wood. Always follow proper safety precautions when burning anything around your home.
  • Turn off or unplug holiday lights during the day. Doing so will not only save energy, but will also help your lights last longer.

Holidays & Other Events

Quick Tips:

  • Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper or funny papers. Also remember to save or recycle used wrapping paper. Give gifts that don't require much packaging, such as concert tickets or gift certificates.
  • Send recycled-content greeting cards to reduce the amount of virgin paper used during the holidays. Remember to recycle any paper cards you receive. You can also try sending electronic greeting cards to reduce paper waste.
  • Have a create-your-own-decorations party! Invite family and friends to create and use holiday decorations such as ornaments made from old greeting cards or cookie dough, garlands made from strung popcorn or cranberries, wreaths made from artificial greens and flowers, and potpourri made from kitchen spices such as cinnamon and cloves.
  • After holiday festivities, put leftovers in recyclable containers, and share them with family, friends, or others. Donate whole, untouched leftovers from parties to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
  • After parties, fill your dishwasher to capacity before running it. You will run fewer cycles, which saves energy.
  • Bake cookies or other goodies and package them in reusable and/or recyclable containers as gifts. Homemade goodies show how much you care and help you avoid packaging waste.
  • To help prevent waste from cutting down and disposing live trees, you can buy a potted tree and plant it after the holidays.
  • After the holidays, look for ways to recycle your tree instead of sending it to a landfill. Check with your community solid waste department and find out if they collect and mulch trees. Your town might be able to use chippings from mulched trees for hiking trails and beachfront erosion barriers.
  • Many battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run.
  • Consider the durability of a product before you buy it as a gift. Cheaper, less durable items often wear out quickly, creating waste and costing you money.
  • When buying gifts, check product labels to determine an item's recyclability and whether it is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available.
  • Think "green" while shopping the President's Day sales. Bring your own reusable cloth bag for carrying your purchases, and try to buy items with minimal packaging and/or made with recycled content. For example, buy fleece jackets made from recycled soda bottles, sneakers made with recycled rubber soles, or clothes made from recycled cotton scraps.

Vacations and Sports

Quick Tips:

  • Before leaving for vacation, turn down your thermostat (or use one that can be programmed) so that you don't waste natural resources by generating unneeded heat. You can also buy outdoor and indoor lights with timers so that lights don't stay on all night.
  • When possible, use skis, snow shoes, or sleds to go through snow instead of gas-powered snowmobiles.
  • Use your own camera instead of a disposable one to reduce waste while capturing holiday memories. Consider buying a digital camera so that you don't have to use film and only print the pictures you want to keep.
  • Before storing your used sports equipment for the winter, consider donating or selling any equipment you no longer want to a charity or used sporting goods store. Also consider donating old soccer balls, footballs, or tennis balls to your local animal shelter to use as chew toys.
  • If you are participating in a winter sport, purchase used sports equipment whenever possible, and look for sporting goods that are made from recycled material. Examples include hiking shoes with recycled rubber soles, basketballs made with recycled rubber, and ski jackets and sleeping bags made from recycled soda bottles.
  • For cold weather sporting events, wear multiple layers of clothing or thermal underwear instead of relying on battery-operated or kerosene heaters.

Photo of snow covered road and trees


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