By: Carly Dittman and James Flick
As the temperatures drops, it is hard to think of anything but staying warm. However, the cold weather gives even more opportunities to “go green” and rethink your day-to-day winter-time activities. Below are ways to keep sustainability in the front of your mind, at home, this winter season.
- Use non-toxic de-icing material: items such as clean clay cat litter or fireplace ash do not contain the hazardous chemical materials that most deicing products do. These chemicals can be harmful to your pets, trees, and shrubs.
- Use electric snow blowers: while electric snow blowers consume energy, they do not emit the greenhouse gases that gasoline powered blowers do. If you are looking for a completely green option, using snow shovels or brooms to clear snow from your sidewalk or driveway are other options.
- Save your fireplace ashes: not only does fireplace ash help to deice sidewalks and driveways, it can also be mixed with your compost heap next spring. Cold wood ashes contain a valuable soil amendment that provides nutrients to your garden. Save them in a bin rather than throwing them away this winter.
For more winter green tips for at home visit http://www.epa.gov/waste/wycd/homeandgarden.htm.
Oh and don’t forget about the everyday ways that you can help keep your office green
- Recycle newspapers, batteries, electronics, papers, printer cartridges etc. (You may want to check with local recycling facilities to see what materials they will accept.)
- To reduce the amount of paper you are using and therefore eliminate excess waste, use two-sided printing and copying.
- Instead of replacing a computer that no longer meets your needs, check with an IT professional to see if installing a hard drive disk, computer chip, or extra memory will help give that computer a second chance.
- If you do end up seeking out new electronics, consider a leasing program that includes proper reuse and recycling.
- After those holiday office festivities, birthdays, etc., put any leftovers in recyclable containers, and share them with family, friends, or others. Any whole or untouched leftovers can also be donated to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
For more tips on waste reduction/recycling at work visit http://www.epa.gov/waste/wycd/atwork.htm