Millions of people around the world are adjusting to living in quarantine. Regular daily routines have been abandoned as people are encouraged to stay home to isolate as much as possible. While you and your housemates adjust to a new normal, your green habits should remain intact. Home isolation does not mean you must abandon your zero waste or eco-friendly way of living. With a few creative solutions and some alterations to your regular routine, you can continue living a zero waste and environmentally friendly life even during the quarantine.
Millions of people are adjusting to living in quarantine, but home isolation does not mean you must abandon zero waste or eco-friendly way of living.
Opt for Delivery
During quarantine, people are advised only to leave their houses for essential activities. Going to the store is considered a necessary activity, but if possible, order the items you need online. Many stores are out of products or have a limited selection, but you won’t know what things are unavailable until you are at the store. With online shopping, you have a better guarantee that the items you ordered are in stock and will be shipped to your home. Orders are easily tracked thanks to shipping APIs that let you know exactly where your items are and estimate when they will reach your front door.
Shopping online is not only convenient, but it enables you to stay home without missing out on essential supplies or expending fuel. Fortunately, there are many well-stocked zero waste, bulk shopping and eco-friendly online stores including: Life Without Plastic, Package Free, Zero Market, Earth Hero, Tiny Yellow Bungalow and Wild Minimalist — to name a few.
You can reduce waste by choosing package-free or plastic-free packaging or request minimal packaging, if available. Look for products in sustainable packaging or cardboard boxes that can be recycled or reused, making the process eco-friendly, safe, and convenient. Also, choosing ground delivery is a more environmentally-friendly shipping option. Plus, you can request contact-less delivery.
Only Buy What You Need
If you were living a zero waste and eco-friendly life before the quarantine, you likely already only buy what you need. Still, this practice is particularly important during the quarantine. Goods are harder to come by as stores have limited availability, and online retailers are working from a limited stock. Resist the urge to stockpile and only order what you need so products don’t go to waste, and you leave enough for other people to buy what they need. And make sure to carry your zero-waste essentials when you do go shopping.
Use What You Have On Hand
Going to the store is much harder while much of the world remains under quarantine. Before social distancing guidelines, popping into the store to grab whatever suits your fancy didn’t require a second thought, but now going to the store requires planning and consideration. If you do not need to leave the house, you shouldn’t. If you are out of your favorite snack, make do with what you have at home instead of making a trip specifically to pick up that snack. Stock your kitchen with basic staples and plan filling, nutritious meals around foods that are in your pantry or freezer.
Chances are you have a small stash of products you have never used, whether it be a box of nuts you didn’t particularly care for or a brand of shampoo you stored away for guests. Before you run out to the store and deal with social distancing restrictions at the store, use what you have on hand. Using your stashed or forgotten items not only keeps those items from going to waste, but it also reduces how frequently you drive to the store, which in turn reduces vehicle emissions and saves you money.
Turn Off the Thermostat
While you are staying home most of the time, it is vital that you keep your home comfortable, but be careful not to waste energy in the process. Instead of turning on the heat or air conditioning, grab a sweater or turn on a small fan. Lowering your heater a few degrees and putting on a sweater instead can save you a significant amount of energy over time. The same guideline applies to air conditioning. Fans consume less energy than air conditioning, making fans a better choice for cooling your house a few degrees rather than reaching for the thermostat.
Turn Off Energy Vampires
The term “energy vampire” refers to devices or appliances that continue to consume energy even when turned off. TVs, computers, external hard drives, and gaming consoles commonly use electricity even when turned off or on standby mode. Some devices are designed this way on purpose so software updates can be automatically downloaded instead of the user manually starting the download. Still, the convenience doesn’t eliminate the unnecessary energy consumption.
The solution for energy vampires is to unplug the device, but unplugging a handful of devices every day and then plugging them back in later is a hassle. Thankfully, power strips make the process much easier. Plug your energy vampire devices into a surge protected power strip and unplug or turn off the power strip to end the energy vampirism. Instead of unplugging multiple devices, now you only have to worry about one power strip.
Living a green and zero waste life during isolation or quarantine need not be burdensome. By adapting existing green habits and adopting new ones, you can continue living an eco-friendly life while staying home.
About the Author
Gwen Lewis is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about anything in the health, green living, and beauty niche”. Don’t hesitate to visit her on twitter @GwenEveLewis”.
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