The heart of sustainability is being conscious of the impact our actions and our habits have on the planet. The three R’s of refuse, reduce, and reuse is often the guiding light, but what changes with the new normal of social distancing and other restrictions to our lives? Our understanding of living sustainably also needs to adapt to this strange new world.
As all but key workers (thank you!) stay home to do our part, here are a few ways you can still practice sustainability during this pandemic, intertwining your values into the new norm:
Be conscious of your neighbor’s needs and those who aren’t able to stockpile due to financial reasons, lack of space, or anything else. Restrain yourself from overbuying so those who don’t have the means to stock up are able to buy their essentials when they can shop. If we all shop responsibly, nobody will have to go without.
Buy groceries from grocers
Buying local produce from your neighborhood grocer or farmer’s market is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while helping your local community. It also helps support your local, independent economy which will be hit hard. An added bonus is they may be more likely to be well stocked over larger stores.
Buy gift cards to support local closed businesses
Why not also support your local businesses that are unable to open their doors during this time? Maybe it’s for your hairdresser or favorite coffee shop. This way, they’ll have a source of income now, and you’ll feel like your first buy is on the house when they reopen. It’s also great to support your self-employed friends and family with a giftcard for the future too.
Treat yourself to local takeout
For those days you just don’t feel like cooking, order takeout delivery from your favorite local restaurants to support them in these times. Don’t forget to ask for no utensils or napkins to reduce unnecessary waste! To protect yourself, it is also recommended to transfer food to your own containers and to throw away the containers it came in. Then wash your hands before enjoying your meal – safety first, always!
Don’t use latex gloves
Latex gloves are not biodegradable, and many people are going to be turning to them for protection. This isn’t necessary though! The key thing to remember is to thoroughly wash your hands for 20+ seconds with soap after touching surfaces, and never touch your face with unwashed hands. Be sure to completely dry your hands too! Wet hands may attract more germs. Our friends at Made Safe put together a hand washing guide of everything you need to know.
Don’t flush toilet paper alternatives
Toilet paper is hard to come by these days, so you might find yourself resorting to wipes instead. Fatbergs are an avoidable public health issue, but by not flushing anything but 3 P’s: pee, poo, and paper, we can avoid contributing to the issue. For those who want the flushable wipe experience, check out Natracare’s Safe to Flush Moist Tissues, which are made from 100% paper.
Turn a mug of tea into a pot of tea
You deserve the whole pot of tea! Instead of brewing cup by cup and repeatedly boiling the kettle, brew a whole pot of tea to reduce the total amount of electricity or gas used. You can also pour freshly boiled water into a thermos to have your hot water supply for longer without re-boiling! For a more sustainable conscious cup of tea, opt for tea with fair trade and organic sourcing as well as plastic free packaging.
Wrap up to warm up
Before cranking up the temperature on your heater, try wrapping up to warm up. Whether with thick socks, a cozy sweater, or a fuzzy blanket, adding layers is a great way to reduce one’s carbon footprint at home before turning on the heater. Thankfully the Northern hemisphere is moving into Spring, so we can have warmer and lighter, longer days.
Everyone’s situation is different, so some of these may not be doable for you – but that’s okay. Being sustainable is a continuous process of living consciously and doing our best in today’s modern world.
How are you intertwining your sustainable values into this new normal? Let us know in the comments below.