With most people, social distancing at home, staying busy, and sane can be difficult. It’s important to remember while we’re all doing our part to keep clean, avoid unnecessary travel, and keep an eye out for our loved ones we have to take care of our environment as well. As we are focusing on keeping ourselves healthy at home, it is crucial that we try and keep our planet healthy too.
While there has been some good news during this stressful time, the current trend of panic-buying takes away from sustainability. As a society, we are purchasing a lot of items that contain plastic, like hand sanitizer and bottled water. And we are being encouraged to buy a lot of single-use items, such as toilet paper, face masks, gloves. These will ultimately wind up taking space in landfills, or worse – on the roads, our woods, and parking lots.
Keep reading for seven ways you can use this time at home to give back to the planet and be more resourceful in the future.
Try to avoid purchasing items with a lot of plastic.
Plastic debris is found everywhere. It clogs street drains in our cities; it clutters campgrounds and national parks and litters waterways. Thanks to runoff, and our affection for dumping into the nearest river or lake, plastic is also increasingly common in our oceans. Not only is plastic taking over our environment, but the toxins also pollute our water, soil, and air, and our wildlife is in danger. According to a study from Plymouth University, plastic pollution affects at least 700 marine species. At the same time, some estimates suggest that at least 100 million marine mammals are killed each year from plastic pollution.
So, while we may be tempted to purchase that big case of bottled water or that massive jug of hand sanitizer, remember that when this over, we still need a clean and healthy planet to survive. Instead, try and find more creative ways to fulfill your needs. A family of four can prevent 5,840 water bottles from being used and entering our environment every year by switching to reusable water bottles. Not only that, but you can save a lot of money- and we all know how important that is right now. If you are running low on hand sanitizer, make your own and reuse your bottle with this recipe from Healthline.
Try to avoid purchasing single-use items.
Rather than waiting in the long lines for toilet paper, save yourself a trip to the store and pre-order online. When you subscribe, products are shipped as often as you choose. Check out these following plastic-free brands.
Rather than disposable gloves, wash your hands frequently. However, if you feel more comfortable with gloves, buy plastic-free reusable gloves. Rather than disposing of them, simply wash and dry to be reused later. Do the same with face masks, instead of using disposable ones (which are tough to find anyways) invest in a homemade mask or make your own.
Get busy gardening.
Planting a garden during a quarantine can be daunting but not impossible. Having your own garden will lessen your trips to the store, provide your family with healthy foods, reduce boredom, save money, and teach your family about sustainability. Not only that but planting a garden helps the environment in the following ways:
- Reduce pollution
- Reduces carbon footprint
- Contributes to cleaner groundwater
- Decreases erosion
- Lowers energy costs
Save your eggshells, banana peels, and coffee grounds because they’re more useful than you think. By creating a composting bin, you’re taking all the unwanted shells, peels, and (most) leftover food and turning it into amazing fertilizer for your garden. Just because we don’t eat peels and scraps doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose.
Reduce food waste.
It is essential during this time to reduce food waste and make sure the food you do purchase will last as long as possible. Cook with leftovers, make veggie stock out of food scraps, make banana bread from old bananas, and making jam out of mushy berries. If you do end up with food waste, another alternative is to add it to your compost pile.
Purge your closet.
One of the bonuses of being stuck at home is that you can take on projects that would typically be put off. Going through your closet is one of those tasks. Take a couple of hours to sort through what you don’t need anymore and donate any items you can to a local shelter or nonprofit so your items can be reused and repurposed.
Continue to recycle.
Recycling is such an easy thing to do, yet so many don’t bother to do it. Reusing materials and properly disposing of harmful ones is an essential step toward protecting our world. With dozens of recycling facilities and most cities offering recycle pickup, there are few available excuses for not recycling; even during a shelter in place order.
Hopefully, these ideas will get you on the way to a greener, more sustainable lifestyle while being quarantined at home.