With most of the world locked down due to Covid-19, you might be asking yourself how can you continue to live a sustainable lifestyle when everything has changed so drastically. How can we live green in quarantine, and be eco-friendly when staying home?
Personally, having to use single-use plastic gloves and masks makes me feel bad, however, not all single-use plastic is evil. Medically necessary single-use items simply have to be used. We just have to dispose of them properly afterward.
Your efforts to be more sustainable don’t have to come to a halt now that the world is fighting off this pandemic, here’s how you can be green in quarantine.
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How to be eco-friendly at home: being green in quarantine
Get into gardening
A lot of people have been using the downtime to find a new hobby, and gardening can be a wonderful way to be green! Getting into gardening is a great way to be eco-friendly from home. Many people have been taking this as a time to get around to cleaning out their shed, repairing bits & bobs, and for home improvement. I’ve planted some wild-flower seeds I’ve been calling my isolation flowers. As it’s spring, now is the perfect time to start growing many species of flowers. The bees & pollinators will appreciate it!
A lot of people have been joking that this has been a lesson in why we might want to consider being self-sufficient, so many plant some tomatoes while you’re at it!
Use up what you have
Something a lot of people took for granted before the pandemic was going to the shop to buy food whenever, even when the food at home was perfectly good. Now that the long socially distant queues outside shops feel apocalyptic, there’s no popping into Tesco for a nacho kit just because you’re craving Mexican for dinner; we’re only going when we need to go. Now’s a good-time to experiment with cooking and use up what’s the cans and freezer-food that have been sitting in the kitchen forever.
Being more minimalist isn’t just another way to be green in quarantine, it’s a way to be more eco-friendly all the time. We rely way to much on consumerism, and it’s destroying the planet, take a look at fast-fashion for example. I’m not saying you can’t buy yourself nice things every now and then, it’s more of a case of buying green or secondhand where possible, and buying things you truly love rather than impulse shopping.
Take activism online
Just because we can’t physically go out and protest, doesn’t mean that activism has come to a halt in the midst of all this. You can still promote an eco-friendly lifestyle without needing to physically go out and protest. Greta Thunberg has Taken Friday’s For Future online, and Fashion Revolution Week is in full swing on Twitter. You can @ politicians and company’s on Twitter if you think they’re promoting unsustainable practices, or set up an online petition. Social media activism has a massive reach, and is just as important – if not more important – than face to face activism.
Use less electricity
Watching Netflix all day is understandable; this is a rough time for everyone and we’re all coping as best we can. However, you might notice your electricity bill is higher than usual as we’re spending more time at home. Be mindful of your electricity usage; take some time away from electronic devices and read a book. If you’re working from home, work from a naturally bright room that’s getting sunlight if you can. Thankfully with spring in the air, we can get through this without needing to rely on heating and lighting as much as before.
If you don’t already have energy efficient light bulbs, it might be worth switching over!
Have a clear out & upcycle
If you’re not a student or still working, then you might have more free time than normal. Now is a good time to rummage through your wardrobe and find some things to donate, sell or upcycle. You might also rediscover some gems you forgot about which you can start wearing again whenever we can finally start socializing again. There’s no shame in having an indoor fashion show and figuring out how to style old clothes in new ways. If you are donating to a charity shop, donate seasonally appropriate wear – they won’t hold onto old winter clothes if you donate them in spring!
If you find things you don’t want anymore; throwing them in the bin is the last resort. See if anyone you know would be interested in taking old clothes off your hand, donate them or sell them on Depop. If you find things that aren’t suitable to be passed on, see if you can upcycle them into something else like wax paper.
This is the last point because almost everyone has been financially impacted by Covid-19, whether by losing their job or making less money than normal. There’s no pressure to donate, you can still be green in quarantine without giving money. If you have a few pennies to spare, these are the eco-friendly organizations I believe in;
- 911 Ice: this is a company that wants to coat the arctic in clear beads to deflect the sunlight and slow down melting. While at first, this sounds like it’s going to produce even more waste and potentially harm wildlife, 911 Ice says that the material is a lot like snow and is safe for animals and the eco-system.
- Earth Day: Earth Day is one of the original environmental organizations, having started up in 1970! They aim to raise awareness and advocate for change for a sustainable future.
- The Marine Conservation Insitute has a goal to protect the world’s oceans and allow them to recover from illegal fishing and acidification. You can donate directly to them, or if you’re already getting zero-waste products, WakeCup already donate 10% of their purchases to them.
- The Rainforest trust: have protected 23 million acres of rain forest around the world and hope to secure 50 million acres to protect.
Have you been finding ways to be green in quarantine?