The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the way people live and move. Priorities and activities have changed to fit the “new normal.” It may be hard to think about being eco-friendly while the world is struggling to overcome this global challenge. Yet, in these times, there are still simple ways to maintain a nature-friendly lifestyle. Read on for some tips on how to live an environmentally conscious life even during the pandemic.
Wear a Reusable Face Mask
Since COVID-19 is transmitted via the respiratory route, wearing a face mask is a must when going out. Recently, antimicrobial face masks have been gaining attention as a good alternative to disposable face masks that often end up in the trash after just one use. An antimicrobial mask is typically made of fabric that has been treated with special antimicrobial properties, thus preventing harmful microorganisms from thriving on it. Using reusable face masks that retain their antimicrobial properties even after repeated washes is also helpful in terms of preserving the supply of disposable masks for people who need them most. These include people like healthcare workers, who cannot wear reusable masks due to the nature of their jobs.
Use Transportation Options Wisely
If there is a need for you to go out, try to plan errands in such a way that destinations close to each other are grouped together. This way, your car usage will be more efficient, and less harmful emissions from the combustion of car fuel will be released into the air. If possible and if safe to do so, using public transportation such as trains and buses is an even better option since these vehicles move more people with less carbon footprint. If the destination is not too far from your house, doing a little walk or bike ride is the best way to go.
Be More Conscientious in Avoiding Single-Use Plastic Products
When buying groceries, bringing reusable shopping bags is a simple but effective way of reducing plastic use. Grocery stores also often accept reusable containers to hold items bought by weight, so that equates to less plastic used. When more people shop responsibly, the benefits tend to compound.
Additionally, because quarantine measures can come and go, a lot of people also depend on food delivery services for their meals at home. Simply requesting to remove plastic utensils and using your own at home helps in reducing trash. If you have access to delivery services that make use of reusable or sustainable packaging, then opting for such services is also a good way to reduce your consumption of plastic when in lockdown.
During the pandemic, everyone is also encouraged to sanitize hands frequently. Thus it is advisable to carry refillable pocket-sized alcohol spray bottles. Alcohol is sold in big and small plastic bottles, but buying only the larger ones then using the contents to refill the pocket-sized spray container is yet another simple way to reduce plastic usage. This tip is also applicable to bottles of bleach, which is mixed with water and used to clean and sanitize different surfaces.
Finally, recycling is also one way to reduce residual plastic pollution. Do some research to find recycling drop-off centers near your home and try to contact them in advance to ask about any specific requirements they may have as to the type of plastics they accept.
Use Less Energy at Home
In the US, as in many other countries, most of the supply of electricity comes from plants that burn fossil fuels, which greatly increase the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. Therefore, part of being eco-friendly is reducing unnecessary use of energy in the home, especially now when people are spending more time indoors. Unplug appliances such as the television and microwave oven when not in use. Raise your window blinds or pull curtains aside during the day to let natural light into your home. Opening windows in areas where air is considerably clean is good not only for enhancing ventilation but also for reducing the use of fans or air conditioners.
Dispose of Garbage Properly
Segregate trash into biodegradable and non-biodegradable items. Non-biodegradable items should be collected and disposed of properly, usually via a citywide or statewide garbage collection system. The biodegradable items can be added into a compost pile to serve as fertilizer for plants. Composting at home is also a great way to dispose of any tissue paper that you may have been using to cover coughs and sneezes as a way to protect other people from COVID-19..
Support Local Businesses
Support local brands and encourage them to use nature-friendly packaging. This is because buying imported products would require the use of long-distance land, sea, or air shipping for transporting goods. As a result, products that are imported from distant places typically have high carbon footprints. By supporting local brands, you get to help your local economy while also minimizing your own carbon footprint.
Spread the word! One person doing these things may not seem to make much of a difference, but when families, friends, and communities come together to practice eco-friendly living, even during the pandemic, the effects multiply and the benefits become more readily seen: cleaner, greener towns and cities coexisting with the natural environment.