COVID-19 has swept the globe so quickly that most of the attention towards saving the planet from the climate crisis that we’re in, quickly went out the window. Now that we’ve had a little moment to assess the situation, let’s look at ways that we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, while also considering the impact that we will leave on Mother Nature.
Of course, the use of single-use personal protective equipment is needed for our front line workers and medical staff, but I can’t help but think of all of the waste we’ve also created that’s going straight to landfill. So here is a short list of ways you can be more eco-savvy at home while also helping to stop the spread of the virus and keep others safe.
- Wash yo hands!! - with bar soap rather than plastic packaged soap. We all know that washing our hands is the single greatest way to kill and stop the spread of the virus. But bar soap is just as effective as liquid soap that is often packaged in plastic containers. You could even make your own soap at home with the kids as a fun lockdown activity, using many ingredients you’ll find in your cupboard! If that’s not your jam, then Lush is a world-wide provider known for its amazing smelling and looking bar soaps that you can order online! Best of all they are ethical, don't test on animals, and are a naked package brand!
- Use hand sanitizer packaged in recycled or easily recyclable materials such as glass or aluminium rather than plastic. Check out our mates at Sunny Side Up for delicious fragrances such as citrus and mint or lemongrass and tagine! Also packaged in glass and available to order online! There are also some package-free bar hand sanitizers on the market. Check out our mates at Seed and Sprout for package-free hand sanitizer and soaps that are all vegan, palm-oil free and made in Australia!
- Use washable face masks made from cloth rather than disposable ones. You could even hand stitch your own for another fun lockdown activity. There are heaps of tutorial videos on youtube. Use an old t-shirt to save purchasing new materials. If you do have to use a disposable face mask, make sure you're disposing of them correctly!
- Try to avoid single-use latex gloves - they won’t stop you from touching your face, and even if you do, the germ is on the outside of the glove. But if you are really worried, try using a pair you already have at home, don’t touch your face at all once out, and then pop them straight in the wash once you're back home again.
- Cook more from home, rather than ordering take out or delivery, which often comes with lots of packaging, try to make the meal yourself from scratch. If you’re not a great cook, then use this time to really hone your skills. If you really do need a break from cooking or are just craving that certain meal, try to order from a restaurant that you know uses recycled materials for packaging, like cardboard or a bio pack. And remember - pizza boxes cannot be recycled if they have oil on them! As for baking and desserts, I hope this is something we’ve all embraced a little! I know if been baking a lot more which will explain the quarantine 15!
- Wipe surfaces with alcohol and washable cloths instead of disposable disinfectant wipes or plastic packaged disinfectant spray. Use rubbing alcohol that you can usually purchase from your local bulk food store. You can mix it will a few drops of essential oil of your choice to make it scented. Wipe down with washable clothes or cut up an old t-shirt or towel to save on purchasing new.
- If shopping online, ask the store to send products in as little packaging as possible. Whether it’s your grocery shop, some retail therapy, or your takeaway meal. Lots of online stores now have an option that lets them know you want to use as little packaging as necessary. Otherwise, you could type a request in the delivery notes. They may not always be able to fulfil your request, but if more people start requesting it, then the demand will rise and soon they will adapt to their customer’s needs.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself! Protecting yourself and family is your number one priority here! If you have to use some single-use plastic and there is no other option, then that’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up! We’re all in this together to support each other. Don’t judge other people on their decisions as we are all doing our best.
- Remember the simpler ways of living that we’ve learnt during these times, once this has all blown over. Remember that you can cook that meal or bake that bread! Or that you can grow your own food! That you do have time to prioritise what really matters to you. Relish in the extra time with family and relax, it will all be over soon!