Ways to Be Sustainable During COVID-19
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
With the world’s 50th Earth Day having been this past Wednesday, we are reminded that practicing sustainability is important, and what better way to escape this coronavirus-induced boredom than by getting sustainable? Here are some ways to keep you thinking green (and maybe even have fun doing it!).
Being holed up in your house for weeks at a time because of this pandemic, you’re bound to be throwing out a lot of vegetable and fruit waste from cooking meals. Instead of throwing those food scraps away, you can compile them for compost. In a large bin outside or directly on the ground, lay down a layer of your veggie carcasses and coffee grounds (greens), then a layer of dead leaves, grass or shredded paper (browns), and you’ve kicked off an amazing natural process. Continue layering the pile as much as you can in this manner. You’ll want to consistently spray the pile with a hose to keep it damp, but not soggy, to keep the process active.
Composting, which breaks down the aforementioned organic materials, has several benefits: it’s eco-friendly, it keeps rancid food waste out of your trash and it acts as fertilizer for plants to name just three. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the composting process by Good Housekeeping. Click here for a more comprehensive guide on how to make compost at home by Happy DIY Home.
Maybe you’d like to be able to say that you pluck your tomatoes directly off a vine in your backyard (I know I do). There are several types of produce that you can regrow from seeds or directly from the actual produce.
I’ve personally been growing tomato plants in my backyard from seeds that I separated from a store-bought tomato. If you want to grow a vegetable or fruit, just search on the internet how to plant it. Not all climates will support every type of produce, but it’s worth doing a search to find out.
Reusing water from everyday tasks for watering plants
We waste a lot of water when we cook, rinse our hands, wash fruit and wait for the shower to warm up. If you can capture and save the wasted water with a bucket, you can reuse it to water your indoor and outdoor plants (maybe the seedlings you're growing from your produce!).
You could also use the water to pour over your compost pile instead of wasting even more water with a hose.
Recycling paper products
Chances are, you have a recycling bin. Use it! You can add newspaper, unwanted letters, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, pizza boxes, and anything you can think of that’s made of paper/cardboard. Or, as I mentioned earlier, you can use shredded paper, cardboard and newspaper as a brown layer for your compost.
Do your activities outside
Constantly staying indoors isn’t exactly “natural.” If you can, venture outside to your backyard or balcony while you read a book or watch a show on your laptop. It’s a good way to conserve energy without having to keep a light on. It also might be nice to enjoy the breeze or warmth of the sun after being inside for so long.
Take quicker showers
We all know that taking longer showers means wasting much more water. So, how do you take quicker showers? Make a self-competition out of it. Set a personal record to beat by timing how long it takes you to shower. Or you could make a small playlist on your phone that you could try to shower to before the last song ends. Get creative with it!
Use half a napkin/paper towel (when you can)
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but in the long-run, you’ll double your supply of napkins, which is especially helpful during this pandemic when store shelves are barren.
Much like paper products, many metal and plastic products are recyclable.
If you're creative like we are, though, you might even be interested in repurposing your plastic and metal products into art or a “life hack.” One trick I learned on YouTube is that you can cut a yogurt cup into strips and mark them with Sharpie to use as garden labels. You can even drill holes into the bottom of containers to use as pots for gardening. Again, get creative with it!
Use a reusable water bottle
You’ll save money, not to mention the world from unnecessary plastic, when you choose to use a reusable water bottle. Folks, you may not believe that all brands of water taste the same, but I promise you will get used to drinking tap water.
These are only a handful of ways that you can lead a greener life. If you’d like to save more money, save resources and help keep waste out of the environment, there is an enormous supply of information out there.
If you’d like to read about some sustainable initiatives being put in place to improve our globally endangered environment, check out this article of 50+ green initiatives.