Staying Green During a New England Winter
Tips for a time when being sustainable is not so easy.
With temperatures here in Newton dipping into the teens, it's time to brace ourselves for another New England winter.
Sometimes it feels much more difficult to be green in the winter; our gardens are done for the season, locally grown produce is minimal, there's temptation to crank the heat up and you might be less likely to walk somewhere and jump in the car instead. Even so, there are ways to make the frigid winter a little bit greener.
- If you celebrate Christmas and haven't purchased a Christmas tree yet, avoid artificial trees. Most of those trees come from China and are not biodegradable or even recyclable. Christmas trees are grown specifically on Christmas tree farms, so you don't need to worry about destroying a forest. Greener options include locally grown, organic trees. An even better option are trees that you can replant in your yard. In Newton, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have little Christmas trees that you can replant. If you can't replant your tree, consider composting it or turning it into mulch after the holiday season.
- Lower your thermostat a few degrees and put on some extra layers. You can also turn off the heat in rooms that you don't regularly use. We keep the heat off in in our guest room unless we have a guest, and we almost never turn the heat on in the kitchen because it usually gets warm enough from cooking or from the radiator in our living room.
- Unplug that space heater. Not only are they energy hogs, but they're often dangerous, too.
- Get rid of those drafts! Many of the houses in this area are old and drafty. Upgrade your windows or cover your windows in plastic to get rid of drafts and use thick drapes to keep the cold air out. Additionally, block doorway drafts by either buying a doorway draft blocker or rolling up a towel.
- Keep on composting. Things will take longer to break down, but it will pick up again in the spring. Alternatively, if your compost bin is difficult to access once it gets snowy, you can vermicompost (worm compost) indoors.
- Continue to buy locally grown produce when you can. The Whole Foods on Walnut Street carries a small amount of local produce in the winter.
- Bundle up and keep on walking to run those errands! It's hard to get motivated to go for a walk when it's cold out, but once you're out, it's usually not so bad--in fact, it can even be refreshing. Wear thermals, long underwear, and double up on your socks. For women, Maggie's Organics makes warm tights, socks and legwarmers, which are sometimes available at the Newtonville Whole Foods.