Trying to minimize waste is always a challenge, but due to the coronavirus it has been especially challenging.
We wrote this article to share a few of our favorite tips to help you on your zero waste journey.
Let's dive in.
With local farmers markets canceled, or local bulk food stores closed - Covid-19 has set new waste realities for us all.
There's no denying that Covid-19 has re-shifted our values.
Prior to Covid-19, we did all our grocery shops at local farm gates and markets, where a zero waste, zero plastic shop was possible.
With all our local markets canceled, we've had to move to online grocery deliveries.
And, as a result, it’s challenged us and our values to living a life with less waste.
Our favorite quote could not be any more relevant right now.
“We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” - Anne Marie Bonneau.
If you are in the same boat as us, don't feel hopeless.
There are so many things you can do within your home and within your control to help minimize your waste during coronavirus.
From starting a veggie garden to embracing DIY cleaning spray, minimizing your waste during covid-19 is possible.
So, here are a few of our favorite tips/hacks and ideas to help you live a more sustainable life with less waste.
1. Shop fresh produce over packaged foods
It's important to remember that fresh produce is (always) the better option in terms of your health and waste.
Packaged and non-perishable foods are likely to be wrapped in many forms of plastic, which may be unrecyclable.
Eco Tip: If you are ordering your produce from a local grocer and they won’t accept your produce bags, ask them to send your fruit and veggies loose or in a paper bag as an alternative.
2. Start a veggie garden
With some new found iso-hours, there's no better time than to start your own veggie garden if you don't already have one.
At theotherstraw HQ, we started our veggie garden early last year. We’ve never appreciated our organic, home-grown vegetables so much as now
Veggie gardens are also great for the climate.
By growing your own produce, you're reducing waste, saving money and supporting a more sustainable lifestyle.
Eco Tip: Are your neighbours also growing their own produce? Try and organize a neighborhood food swap - where you swap excess produce, seeds etc.
3. DIY cleaning products
Making your own cleaning products is a great way to minimize your waste.
Homemade DIY cleaners can be used to disinfect surfaces in your home, clean your glass windows or even the shower.
Homemade cleaning products are very simple to make, with very simple ingredients.
Most items used to make cleaners can be found in your home (or maybe even in your garden).
Natural Non-Toxic All Purpose Cleaner
What you'll need:
-10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (or other essential oil)
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
What to do:
Get an empty spray bottle and add the essential oil and vinegar. Fill with warm tap water and mix. It smells great and will keep your home sparkling clean.
Eco Tip: This cleaning spray recipe can also be used to mop your floors, clean your bathroom/toilet. Keep the cleaner stored in a cool, dry location.
4. Reduce food waste and get composting
One of the easiest and best ways to reduce waste is to set up a food waste composting system at home.
Throwing your food in the trash can may seem harmless.
But, it has environmental consequences.
When your food waste ends up in landfill, it produces methane gases, and ultimately contributes to climate change.
Composting will help reduce the methane emissions from landfills and will help lower your carbon footprint.
Once your compost is in action, it makes a perfect, organic fertiliser and feed for your garden or indoor places.
5. Support local, bulk food stores
I think we can all agree that doing a plastic-free shop at supermarkets can be challenging.
With most produce, nuts and other staples wrapped in single-use plastic packaging, it's unavoidable.
That's why supporting local, bulk food stores is a great alternative.
If your bulk food store is unable to use your produce bags (for hygiene reasons during this time), ask them to use kraft paper bags for your goodies.
After use, you can compost and/or recycle the paper bags.
6. Follow the 6 R's of zero waste
The 6 R's of zero waste and sustainability can help guide you to minimizing your waste during coronavirus.
Before you head out and buy a new toy for your child or a face mask, stop and think about what you're buying and using. Do you really need it? Maybe it's something you can recreate or make with current items in your house?
If you're getting a take-away coffee or smoothie out, remember to always bring your reusables. Refuse plastic straws, plastic cutlery and bags, when possible.
Reuse as much as you can to prevent items going to landfill. If you purchased some jam from the shop, keep and reuse the glass jar for preserving or as a drinking jar for smoothies and juices.
Work hard to reduce and minimize your waste by avoiding the purchase of cheap products that won't last. If you need to buy some toys for your kids to entertain them, spend a little more and buy consciously and ethically-made products.
Recycle items as your last resort. If you can't reuse it, then put it in your appropriate recycle bin.
With these new found iso hours, you may be sorting your wardrobe or spring cleaning your home? If you find something around your home that is broken, try repairing it before throwing or donating it.
Please remember that we are all in this situation together and we're all trying to do our very best based on the current circumstances.
We hope we've given you some food for thought to help minimize your waste during covid-19. Do you have any other tips reducing your waste during these challenge times? Please share them below!
Please share, stay safe & keep well!