How to Become More Sustainable in Post-COVID19 World?
You have probably heard of increased waste quantity due to the pandemic, and this is because single-use items are being used in huge volumes for safety reasons. This includes medical waste, plastic, and the tons of disposable masks that ended up in our oceans– to name a few. So in our attempt to help the environment and minimize waste, how can we become more sustainable in a post-COVID19 world?
Do an audit.
Consider looking at what types of items you throw out and recycle. It is easier to reduce waste or minimize its impact if you know what’s in your bin. For instance, check your list for high-volume single-use items such as disposable face masks and plastic utensils. Are there reusable alternatives for those?
Also, see if you can improve the way you sort your waste. You want to make sure that you are not combining your food waste with medical-related waste. You can do this at home, at work, and even at your business.
If possible, work from home.
Telecommuting greatly cuts down your footprint. It reduces gas emissions, fuel usage, energy consumption, and transportation costs. More importantly, you lower the risk of exposure to the virus. Consider working from home especially if you can do your work on your phone or computer.
Make your space energy-efficient.
When it’s time to buy new appliances for your home, check for energy-efficient options. There are energy-saving hair dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions, dishwashers, stoves, and many more. These can cut down energy usage by around 40% compared to regular appliances.
Are you using energy-efficient light bulbs? If not, then it’s time to consider switching to LED bulbs, which are the most energy-efficient lighting option on the market.
Another way of making your space more sustainable is by the way you set your thermostat. Consider turning your settings down while you’re asleep. This will not only reduce energy consumption, but it will also save you money on heating bills.
Use reusable face masks.
Face masks are still considered essentials in a post-COVID19 world. It provides extra protection along with physical distancing and proper hygiene. Consider switching to reusable face masks to become more sustainable.
Make sure to choose ones that cover your nose and mouth. You can easily make one at home or buy ready-made ones. You can choose from 2-ply or 3-ply masks that have pockets for filters. Just make sure to wash them regularly after use.
Use bags for your groceries.
With the increase of plastic waste during the pandemic, consider using reusable bags for your groceries. It’s more durable and not to mention, stylish than single-use plastic bags. You also get to save money in the long run as stores now charge for plastic bags.
Reusable bags are also versatile. You can use them to pack your lunch, clothes, tools, and other items. There are also plenty of options that you can choose from. Aside from using an existing bag, you can buy a foldable shopping bag, non-woven grocery bags, or even bags that are made from recycled plastic. To clean them, you can include them in the laundry or simply handwash them.
Buy in bulk when possible.
Aside from sustainability, there are other benefits of buying in bulk. One is that you get to save more money. Next, you are able to eliminate packaging waste. Another is that you cut down on shopping trips.
When it comes to food, you can buy items like rice, cereals, pasta, and other snacks in bulk. There are also shops that offer refills on dish detergent, shampoo, body lotion, and household cleaners. The store may pack these in reusable containers that you can use on your next purchase.
Buy fruits and vegetables from your local market. This way, you cut down on fuel use and emissions. Local farmers offer fresh, responsibly-sourced, and healthy food items. When you buy local, you also help the community which contributes to creating a positive impact.
Switch to reusable kitchen items.
Do you drink coffee every day? Switch to reusable coffee filters to minimize waste. There are filters that are made from stainless steel or natural materials such as organic cotton. These are also more environmentally-friendly than disposable paper filters that are bleached with chlorine or oxygen.
Switch to reusable personal care items.
Take a look at your bathroom. Have you considered eco-friendly personal care products? For instance, women can use cloth napkins made of bamboo. These are highly-soft, absorbent, anti-bacterial, and free of chemicals compared to disposable ones.
When it comes to skincare and make-up, take a look at alternatives such as NakedSwab’s reusable q-tip and LastObject’s reusable facial pads. These work like regular q-tips and cotton rounds, and you can use them 1750 times or more. These are also very easy to clean. You can put them either in a laundry bag on your next machine wash or clean with a soap manually.