The coronavirus pandemic has upended daily habits across the world, and one of the many consequences has been the increased production of plastic. From personal protection equipment (PPE) to take-out containers, plastics have become essential in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. But even as we continue to make our health the top priority, there are still many ways to reduce our waste. Below are some tips on how to stay sustainable even in the midst of a pandemic.
1. Make Your Own Masks
When suiting up to go outside, opt out of disposable masks. A great alternative is to make your own reusable cloth masks with materials you have at home. Not only is it a great DIY opportunity but it will also create less waste in landfills. When making face masks, factors to consider are: fabric thickness, amount of cloth layers and mask snugness. If you are able to, support businesses that sell cloth masks using eco-friendly or deadstock (leftover) fabric.
2. Avoid Single-Use Plastics When Possible
Limit individually wrapped plastic items as much as possible, and look for items in glass or metal which are infinitely recyclable materials. When ordering take out food, ask for no utensils, napkins, condiments and straws. Check to see if your local grocery stores still accept reusable bags. Many stores will have you bag your own groceries. Alternatively, you can leave them in the cart to bag later when loading them into your car.
3. Start Your Own Garden
Another quarantine project to add to your list could be to start your own garden if you have the space to do so. Even with limited space such as a window-sill, you can grow herbs like basil, mint, parsley, chives and so much more.
4. Give Plastic a Second Life
As COVID-19 has taught us, using plastic is sometimes inevitable, but you can mitigate its effect by repurposing the plastic you do use. Turn your plastic yogurt tub into a new planter, knit plastic bags into baskets or use plastic coffee cups to paint with. The possibilities are endless. Above all, make sure you properly rinse and sort items into the recycling bin to avoid cross contamination.
Sustainable living, especially in the COVID-19 era, may look different for everyone. Don’t feel guilty if you have to resort to using plastic, especially during this pandemic. With some creativity and resourcefulness, practice sustainable habits where possible.