How to Have a Greener Winter

It’s difficult to think of anything but being cold during the winter season, and thoughts of living sustainably may fall to the wayside. Since using up resources to stay warm during the winter can affect the environment around us, we’d like to share some easy ways for you to reduce that carbon footprint!

Did you know that home heating and cooling accounts for approximately 65% of all energy consumption in Canada? Household electricity and heat generation also accounts for 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why it’s important that you keep an eye on your thermostat, for both the environment and your electric bill’s sake.

Making small changes in how you handle the winter chills can make a huge difference for you and for the earth. 


So what can you do?

At Home:

1. Moderate Energy Use

This is the easiest tip to start implementing. 

When you leave your home, lowering your thermostat a degree or two will lower your energy usage more than you would imagine! You may even notice it on your next bill…

An even easier way to handle this would be to get an automatic thermostat. It may cost a little more up front but can save you 10-30% on your total energy costs while making your home more eco-friendly.

Go on, this article isn’t going anywhere. You can come back after you’ve reset the thermostat.

Bonus Tip: Try cooking more often at home. You’ll be able to cut down on waste, and more importantly, spread heat from the kitchen to the rest of the house. Try it sometime!


2. Weatherproofing

There are plenty of ways to keep your house naturally cold-proof without having to call in external help. Some simple ways to do this include:

  • Covering the floors with rugs and carpets wherever you can.
  • Letting in sunlight during the day to warm your house naturally, while keeping windows covered with curtains at night to minimize heat loss.
  • Putting the fan on reverse (if possible) to keep air drafts from helping the heat escape.
  • You can even take this a step further by doing some small DIY insulation projects on your own. Some of our favorite ways include: using weatherproofing strips and caulking to seal up cracks in your doors and windows; covering the bottom of your door with a line of old socks; and using thicker curtains for your windows.


Out and About:

1. Dress Consciously

It goes without saying that in the face of negative degree weather, you need to have at least one good winter coat.

One thing you can do is make sure your coat has been sourced ethically. Fast fashion is detrimental to the environment and wastes a huge amount of resources. 

  • When shopping, be on the lookout for brands that use sustainable and/or vegan fabrics. PETA has a list of brands that use vegan down if you’re unsure. The same list also mentions bamboo, which is a great eco-friendly fabric in general. Other sustainable (and warm) fabric alternatives to cotton include hemp and linen. When it comes to the outer layer, aim to get biodegradable fibers or recycled synthetics.
  • Look for eco-friendly certifications like Fair Trade, OEKO-TEX and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) that indicate that the garment has been produced in an ethical manner.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to go second-hand. Second-hand clothing requires no extra resources and is often more cost-effective. Thrift stores, online stores and community swap groups are all great ways to source reused clothing that doesn’t need to end up in a landfill. 

Try to keep reusing your coat for as long as you can. If you can no longer hold on to it, don’t throw it away. Instead, donate it, or give it to someone who’d love it. After all, the holiday season is all about giving!


2. Public Transportation

Try getting on the public transport bandwagon. A study conducted by ICF International showed that taking public transit can reduce the total amount of individual fuel use by up to 947 million gallons.

You can contribute to that too. By sharing warmth and resource consumption with other people, you’ll be cutting down on overall carbon emissions and energy usage. Plus, if you’re going by subway, you won’t have to deal with traffic!


3. Travel Mugs

A cup of joe keeps the morning chills away!

And what better way than by keeping it in a reusable travel mug? There are several types of bottles available for you, many of which can keep your drinks warm for hours. This way, you get to reduce plastic waste and use. We have a great bamboo tumbler made from bamboo that can keep your drinks warm or cold for us to 10 hours, plus it’s leak proof so you can throw it into your bag without a worry.


“Why I started I LIVE ECO”, By Gen Atangan

Entrepreneurship was a large part of my life before I knew the word for it. As a child, I watched my self-made father grow in his work. He had made his own clogs from the trees in the forest of his childhood village when he was 11 years old. He sent all seven of his children to American and Canadian universities. He started as a janitor in the middle school that he had gone to, cleaning up before going to school with the rest of his classmates before rising up to be a well-respected business person in Corporate Asia. It would take the start of my own company to truly realize what an inspiration he’d been. 

When striking out on my own, I thought the only path I could take was working my way up the corporate ladder, so I started on my journey. I still remember the first computer program I made in high school – it was a point of sale system for a pizza place. My program would show an animation of a pizza being made while the customer chosen toppings. Being able to watch my program work began a lifelong fascination with programming. I continued in my profession and ran large campaigns as a project manager for many years. In 2018, I left Toronto to visit the Philippines not knowing that my life would never be the same again.

There I was, having the time of my life with eight of my friends on an island-hopping trip, and we ended up at a sandbar. There was a floating cocktail bar right next to it and I got my drink in a glass with a bamboo straw. I asked the bartender why they used bamboo and he told me that its difficult to get shipments in the remote area they’re in so they use the resources that they have right there. Of course, back home in Toronto I knew of the movement to ban plastic straws and had become interested in living a more sustainable life like so many others as more information began to surface about how our waste affects the earth. 

I still had that inkling inside of me given to me by my father of starting my own business but it hadn’t been fully realized. It took taking me out of my day-to-day corporate life for all the pieces to come together. 


I had been in my own bubble having fun throughout the trip but one night we were walking down the street late at night and saw children scattered along the street in groups with older men and it was heartbreaking to realize the abuse that was happening in the beautiful country I once called home. I knew I had to do something, I had to do my own small part towards change. That was the final piece: I knew that bamboo straw had come into my life for a reason – I would sell them and give proceeds towards these children.

The day after I got home from vacation, I quit my corporate job and started Karunaki, and now I LIVE ECO. 

Through all the products we have made, I don’t just see the product – a bamboo tumbler for instance – I see a child’s life. I see people making small changes that will impact the planet in a greater way. We give a portion of each purchase to the Sun Crew: a grassroots children’s charity in the Philippines that offers an education program to children that wouldn’t otherwise be able to access it. Part of their program is teaching social responsibility, as well as giving them tools towards changing their futures. 

I see each of our subscribers as my partners in making steps towards loving, honouring, and healing our planet.