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COVID-19 and Zero Waste


reusable mugs

Where do we go from here?

It seems as if every single industry, business, and group is impacted by COVID-19. Of course, the Zero Waste movement is no different! We’ve seen coffee shops refuse travel mugs, grocery stores ban cloth bags, and in-person climate strikes being cancelled. But please don’t despair! There are still many, many things you can do to further your eco-friendly lifestyle. Here are a few.

Use what you have

So you ended up with some single-use plastic—it’s okay! Much of our so-called single-use plastic can be used more than once. Perhaps you can make a mini greenhouse out of a plastic bottle for a seedling, or maybe you can use plastic bags for pet waste or even a craft project. For example, check out Jess’s eco-friendly science experiments for kids, at @thoughtfullysustainable.

Learn some new skills

If you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, you may wish to use this time to learn some new skills. The following skills are not only Zero Waste, but can also help increase your own self-sufficiency:

  • mending your clothes (sewing on buttons, repairing a hole in a sweater, or even doing visible mending)
  • gardening or making your own compost bin
  • cooking/baking more foods from scratch (try making your own tortilla shells, oat milk or bread)
  • making some DIYs, such as window cleaner, lip balm or lotion bars
  • growing sprouts or microgreens (get seeds delivered or use curbside pickup from your local gardening shop)
  • learning how to use a new product, such as a menstrual cup or safety razor (trust us it's like being 13 again) 

Reduce food waste 

Eating at home means you have the perfect opportunity to help reduce food waste. Meal plan, prep, use what you have, cook with your food scraps (such as by making veggie broth, or making bread pudding out of stale bread) and eat those leftovers! Try using your dishwasher less too! Ok, hear us out. Assign everyone in your family one cup and one plate. Rinse after each meal and this helps to cut the amount of dishes you have to do at the end of the day! Plus it's a great way to get kids involved.  

Support small businesses 

Small businesses have a tough time competing with huge corporations at the best of times, which means that they’re struggling more than ever now. Show them some love! Buy from them if you can (research delivery or curbside pickup options), recommend them to friends, leave glowing online reviews, or buy gift cards to use at a later date. There are lots of useful facebook groups popping up (like this one for the Tri-Cities) which shows you local businesses who are delivering in your area. 

Help your community

Living in an eco-friendly way goes hand-in-hand with supporting community measures generally. If you can, consider donating to your local food bank or a local nonprofit that could use extra support now. If you have any skills or abilities that would allow you to offer support to your community given our current circumstances, reach out. For example, are there seniors, or other vulnerable people, who could use a grocery drop off?

Don’t stress it

It’s always important to be kind to yourself, but it’s even more important now: these are challenging times! If you end up with more single-use plastic these days than normal, it’s okay. The most important thing is to take care of your mental and physical health, which will help you be your happiest, most resilient self. Take a deep breath. We will get through this.