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4 ways to improve your winter sustainability efforts

In a state like Wisconsin, harsh winter weather leads many to adopt lifestyle changes. We often spend much of our time inside, using more resources. But it’s also during this time that mindful decisions about using, reusing and reducing consumption can be most impactful. Here are 4 tips for living a more sustainable winter.

Dress in layers
Though it can be difficult to adjust to the low winter temperatures, resist the urge to turn up the thermostat. Instead, save energy and keep warm by dressing in layers.

Fair Indigo
This eco-friendly clothing company based in Madison focuses on sustainable resources — like its high-quality cotton — as well as ethical labor practices. Shop online or find Fair Indigo items in-store at Change Boutique at ​​1252 Williamson St.

GrayByDesign
This Etsy shop, run by a Madison creative, sells hats, scarves and other handmade knitwear. Items from GrayByDesign are small-batch products, sometimes made to order. Everything is knit, crocheted or woven by hand.

Good Day Shop
This boutique carries “mindfully-made” clothing, lifestyle and home items from independent brands. Good Day Shop’s apparel selection contains ethically-sourced clothing and shoes in a variety of styles. Shop online or in store. 1925 Monroe St.

Shop sustainable coffee brands
The winter season calls for plenty of hot drinks. Instead of defaulting to a large chain, support one of these local shops that emphasizes sustainable business practices.

Wonderstate Coffee
This coffee shop is dedicated to environmental activism. Since 2015, Wonderstate has been 100% solar powered, and emphasizes ethical sourcing. Avoid excess waste by purchasing one of several reusable coffee mugs and travel cups online, or as available in store. 27 W. Main St

Fair Trade Coffee House
One hundred percent of the coffee from this shop is fair trade certified, meaning farmers are treated like partners. If you prefer to buy coffee beans and brew at home, consider Fair Trade for its biodegradable coffee bags. 418 State St.

Ledger Coffee Roasters
This micro-roaster and coffee shop offers a wide range of ethically sourced coffee. Ledger also operates with transparency — its single origin coffee blends contain specific information about where the beans came from, down to the exact farm. Shop online or in store. 3241 Garver Green

Buy local and seasonal groceries
Purchasing food that is produced locally and harvested in-season saves energy and is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint in the winter. Try one of these businesses for more eco-friendly shopping.

Pasture and Plenty
Stop by this deli and meal kit service to buy farm to freezer prepared meals and grocery items. Pasture and Plenty uses local and seasonal ingredients to create all natural, high-quality meals sustainably. Buy online for pick-up or in store. 2433 University Ave.

Late Winter Market
The Dane County Farmers’ Market holds its Late Winter Market at Garver Feed Mill every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. through April 8. Purchase fruits, vegetables, meats and other food items from local producers. 3241 Garver Green

Vitruvian Farms
A local leader in sustainable agriculture, this McFarland farm growing vegetables and mushrooms focuses on organic products and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Browse their virtual farm store online (bonus! they deliver locally), which also includes a full range of pantry products from other local makers, or view the list of stores that carry and serve their food.

Compost food scraps
While composting options may seem limited during the wintertime, there are still ways to prevent food waste from ending up in landfills, improving soil health and combating climate change.

Make a compost at home
The City of Madison has a variety of resources about creating your own home composting bin, including this extensive guide from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Follow instructions to create your own compost system for your fruit and vegetable scraps. 

Madison composting sites
Madison operates two composting sites during the winter season. These are a good option if you don’t have the space or time to create your own. Be sure to check accepted materials and hours before stopping by. 402 S. Point Road, 4602 Sycamore Ave.

Earth Stew
This composting service based in Wisconsin makes it easy for anyone to compost their food waste. Sign up for a collection schedule, then leave your compost outside to be collected. Compost is taken to a worm farm to create vermicompost, a natural fertilizer. After using Earth Stew for six months, you can earn a share of the vermicompost produced. 

Green Box
For another composting service, try this Sun Prairie-based company. Choose a collection plan that works for you, then leave your compost outside to be collected. Green Box also offers compost delivery and the ability to view your greenhouse gas metrics to better understand your environmental footprint. 

Celia Hiorns is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.

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