In honour of Earth Day, here are 10 Ways to be Eco-friendly During a Pandemic
- When you can’t use reusable, go biodegradable.
Since the pandemic hit, takeaway is obviously the only option available to us for our early morning coffee run or late-night Pad Thais. From my experience, most cafes won’t allow you to use your own keep cup or tupperware container due to hygiene purposes. So, if you really need that coffee, buy from shops that supply biodegradable cups, containers, cutlery etc. This way, you can still enjoy your fav foods, without worrying about what happens to the packaging if it ends up in landfill.
- Natural Home Disinfectants
Disinfectant wipes are convenient, yes, but they generate an awful lot of waste. Staying hygienic during a pandemic is obviously important, but there are some alternative options to try that can be kinder to the environment. The most common ingredients you will most likely have around your house are: white vinegar, essential oils such as tea tree or eucalyptus, vodka, hydrogen peroxide and lemons! There’s such a large variety of cleaning solution recipes online, so I took the liberty of finding some for you. See list at the bottom.
Tip! I soak a clean cloth wipe in some disinfectant solution, or spray solution onto the cloth until it is damp. Then apply to surfaces to clean. This can save on spray and single use wipes!
- Don’t hoard… Please don’t do it
I’m not gonna bad mouth people who hoard here too much, because I understand the fear. But buying more than you actually need greatly increases the chance of food waste and Australia already generates 2.5 millions tonnes a year. So, what to do? 1. I would recommend shopping in off-peak hours. That way you avoid being around people who might initiate the panic buying, 2. Honestly and truly only buy what you need, and trust that there will be enough for all and you will be okay, 3. Try and use up what you have in your kitchen before buying more. Try rummaging through those cans you stuck waaaay in the back of your pantry long ago. There could still be something edible in there.
- Start a compost
If you find you are generating some unavoidable food waste, eg. Egg shells. Try starting a compost! Here’s a link for making one in your garden.
And if you’re a renter like I am, here are some renter friendly options (PS. This article mentions a website called ShareWaste that I’ve used in the past and it’s excellent.)
Tip! My local council provides compostable food waste bags to apartments that they collect in special bins. Check in with your local council to see if they provide the same service.
- Switch to green power
It makes sense that with all this extra time indoors, you’re probably burning more electricity in your home. If you’re not already, I would recommend looking into electricity companies who generate their power from renewable sources. Heck, go all the way and get some solar panels installed! I am with a very lovely company called Power Shop who is the greenest power company in Australia. Otherwise check some others out here.
- Stick to local when you can
This applies to takeaway, grocery, online orders etc. Anything you purchase requires time and energy to be put into preparing, stocking, packaging and transporting to get to you. If you can stick to local, then you can help reduce the amount of energy being used. You also get to support some smaller business like myself, who might love and treasure the extra support during these times.
- Make your own face mask
This one gets its own point because it’s super cool and super relevant and can save so many facemasks who desperately need it, like medical super heros. Pick a fabric you love. Make it fancy. Keep it simple. Think of it as the new accessory trend for 2020. Find some official CDC instructions here.
- DIY, upcycling and other cool crafts
I honestly think I’ve lost track of the number of craft projects I’ve done: I made a hanging mobile of stars and clouds out of an old Juicy Couture sweater; I sewed some little toy elephant out of the same fabric; I made some new yarn tassels to hang on door handles. So. Much. Craft. If you’re stuck for ideas… well… there’s no excuse for that. Google “DIY craft” and you’ll get 1,110,000,000 results. Happy crafting!
My mobile now hangs over my bed. Yes I am a child.
- Do your research
With all the concern for the pandemic (rightly so), it’s easy for other issues to slip under the radar. The momentum from the climate crisis movement seems to have lost a bit of traction, at least in the media. I would recommend trying to stay in touch with people who share your values; keep up to date with government policies and other Environmental movements.
- Stay hopeful
Dolphins, swans and fish have returned to the Venetian rivers for the first time in years; there are clear skies in parts of China and India as a result of factory closures; everywhere you look, there are children on bikes and roller blades; people are walking rather than driving. Find the good. Be the good.
Just a small sample of chalk art I'm seeing everywhere!
Natural cleaning recipes:
Articles used for research:
Disclosure: While I have found many of these tips to work for me, this blog was written from one woman’s opinion. Please do what works best for you and your family.