September 9, 2022

CultureLimited Government

5 Steps Towards A More Sustainable Fall

By: Kelvey Vander Hart

Summer is over. (If you need a minute to grieve, go for it.) School has started, football season is here, and the weather is cooling off—fall has arrived. Looking to make this a sustainable season? Here are five steps to get you started: 

Keep the windows open

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating and cooling are the primary sources of energy consumption at home. It should come as no surprise that these functions are not the most environmentally friendly. Cooling, in particular, is predicted by some to account for roughly 25 percent carbon emissions by 2050. While we all likely enjoy the smell of fresh air in our homes, opening the windows a little earlier than usual in the heat of summer and keeping them open a little later as the weather cools can make a positive environmental impact. (And, save on energy bills. A win-win.) 

Feed your pumpkins to the wildlife, not the landfill 

According to research from Pew, food waste sent to landfills produces the third-largest amount of methane emissions in the United States. While reducing food waste is a good idea all year, fall brings a specific type of vegetable waste: pumpkins. Instead of throwing away aging pumpkins at the end of the season, smash them open for the local wildlife. It will be nutritious for them and entertaining for you. (The local squirrels feasted on our pumpkins for weeks last fall, and it was delightful.) 

Thrift your flannels and denim

Colder weather calls for a closet change. But the U.S. produces 17 million tons of textile waste annually, and the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions. For a more sustainable fall wardrobe (and one that is easier on the wallet), head on over to your local thrift store to pick up your seasonal finds. 

Go natural, not manmade, for fall decorations

Fall decorations are fantastic. But instead of hitting ‘add to cart’ on everything cute you see, why not try bringing the outdoors inside first? Pumpkins, pine cones, dried pampas grass—fall brings options! If you are looking at man made ways to brighten up your space, choose more sustainable options. Your pumpkin spice candle will smell just as good if it’s made with clean wax and in a reusable glass jar. 

Get creative with the Halloween costume 

Halloween inspires plenty of one-off purchases. But as we already established, our fashion choices can have environmental consequences. Instead of getting a costume off-the-rack that you will only use once or twice, survey your closet to assemble unique costumes. And who knows? Your creativity could help you stand out from the crowd at the next costume party you attend. 

Happy fall! Go forth and enjoy your season a little more sustainably.