Due to COVID-19, we’re spending more time at home. Why not use this opportunity to adopt a few eco-friendly habits? Here are 10 ways to reduce your waste.
1. Start a Compost Bin
A compost pile serves a couple of purposes. It allows you to use your waste to create nutrients for your plants. In other words, it’s a two-for-one. Plus, you don’t need a big backyard to compost. A small bin for your kitchen counter will do. There are items you can and can’t compost, so you’ll want to review those before you start. As you fill your bin with food scraps, they’ll break down into a beneficial mixture.
2. Find Ways to Eat Leftovers
The coronavirus pandemic has caused loss for many people worldwide. If you’ve lost your job or are on a budget, it’s crucial to cut down on food waste. Your cash can stretch further when you reuse leftover ingredients. Don’t toss them. Instead, you can put them in stocks, sauces and smoothies.
3. Pick Cold Water for Laundry
Did you know U.K. citizens use 39 gallons of water every day? That’s an impressive feat, but you can do more. Your energy bill increases when you launder your clothes with hot water. You can fix that if you use cold water for most loads. It’s important to note that hot will sanitize germs. As a result, you shouldn’t use cold for anything you or someone else wears when sick.
4. Donate Old Clothes and Trinkets
Go around your house and gather old clothes, knickknacks and other objects to donate. Make sure to follow any COVID-19 guidelines required by local thrift stores. This effort will help keep your space tidy — and you can assist someone else who needs to buy some new items for less.
5. Buy Reusable Containers
There’s never been a better opportunity to explore meal prep and reusable containers. This practice can save time, money, food and energy, as you’ll make your meals for the week in one day. You can learn how to plan, budget and reuse so your grocery bill doesn’t overwhelm you. Be sure to sanitize your containers if you plan to take them to a public space like work or school.
6. Learn to Recycle Better
It can be a bit confusing to determine what you can and can’t recycle. Like with composting, you should try to learn more about these efforts. Find out your municipality’s specific recycling options so you can reassess your current recycling tactics. You may be able to add additional items and make an impact.
7. Choose Rags Over Paper Towels
Do you have old washcloths or cloth napkins? They can make effective cleaning rags. You can store them under your sink for easy access. As a result, you’ll use fewer paper towels for cleaning spills and messes. You could keep some paper towels for specific jobs, but you should tuck them away so you don’t think to use them. Out of sight, out of mind.
8. Make Reusable Masks
There are times when you’ll want to use a disposable mask. That said, you should have reusable ones handy for your everyday needs. It’s generally easy to sew your masks with household materials, so you likely won’t have to buy any extras. Once you develop your skills, you can create a few for friends and family.
9. Switch to Green Detergent
Your laundry detergent probably comes inside a plastic bottle. You can cut down on waste if you choose sustainable options like plastic-free pods. They work as well as your current soap — but they don’t come with wasteful materials. Look for shops or websites that sell green options for your laundry room.
10. Try Homemade Cleaners
You don’t need to spend money on cleaning products to combat COVID-19. Instead, you can try soap and water, 70% isopropyl alcohol and other household materials to disinfect your surfaces. Learn which products eradicate viruses before you use any. You don’t want to think you disinfected your house when you didn’t.
Make Your Household More Eco-Friendly
If you have more time on your hands due to COVID-19, it’s smart to implement new habits. These ideas can help you reduce waste so you and your family lead a more sustainable life. It’s easier than you think.
Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability freelance writer and blogger from Lancaster, PA. Check out her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for the latest updates!