Sustainable Living in Winter

Keep Loudoun Beautiful

As the leaves start to cascade down and the temperature plummets, our focus shifts from the natural world outside to our own home interiors. No matter the season or where we spend our time, being mindful of our environment here in Loudoun is important, even through the bleakness of winter. 

Keep Loudoun Beautiful is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve the beautiful wildlife of Loudoun County throughout every season. They accomplish this through community cleanups, raising environmental awareness, and facilitating fundraising projects. 

“I started with Keep Loudoun Beautiful in 2000 as an area leader,” said Carrie-Anne Mosley,  Vice President. “I showed up at the first Keep Loudoun Beautiful meeting with a single use bottle of water, and the president at the time took me out and said, “I’m excited you want to be involved in this, but we really need you to start using reusable bottles, because, what you’re seeing is a symptom of a problem, which is we’re generating too much trash.” Mosley said. 

When asked about sustainable living in wintertime, Mosley provided insightful tips that are easy to follow. 

Reduce and Reuse

Mosley stressed the importance of using sustainable items. “Don’t buy fast fashion; things that you’re going to wear three times and then they’re going to tear. There are all sorts of great things in terms of cosmetics and personal hygiene products. Don’t buy disposable razors, instead buy a razor with just disposable razor heads. Also, use an electric toothbrush and you generate so much less plastic waste per toothbrush.”

Remember to Sort 

Mosley detailed common mistakes people make when recycling. Many well intentioned people mistakenly place soft plastic bags into curbside recycling bins. Soft plastic bags clog curbside sorting machines. Consequently, they must be recycled at big box stores such as Walmart, Harris Teeter, Wegmans and other supermarkets with plastic bag collection bins. 

Check the Accepted Item List

Foregoing aspirational recycling is crucial to living more sustainably. This means if an item’s recyclability is questionable, throwing it in the trash is safer. “The problem is, when you put in aspirational recycling, and it’s not actually on the accepted list, it causes all the recycling in that bunch to become trash.” Mosley explained.  “Just little things like that make a huge impact.”

Host or Attend a Community Cleanup

Contrary to common belief, winter is a great season to get outside and clean up Loudoun’s environment. Without the threat of lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses like in summertime, community cleanups in winter are wonderful opportunities to get involved with Keep Loudoun Beautiful. 

“I think winter time is actually the best time to clean up and I’ll tell you why, because all of the growth and the brush dies in the winter, so I think January is the time when I notice the most trash.” Mosley said.  “We have different groups across Loudoun doing sort of pop up events in December and January, and I will tell you that the weather is fabulous. Those days it’s a crisp 45 degrees in the morning, you put on a coat and it’s really beautiful.”

A cleaner and healthier environment is something that a community must achieve together. Therefore, by inputting simple living practices and sustainable habits into our daily lifestyles, we can keep Loudoun beautiful regardless of the season. 

Article by Jillian Wallner

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