So unfortunately for us, what we thought would be a couple weeks of quarantine has turned into months of dealing with the Covid-19 global pandemic. We've had to do a lot of adapting during this time in all aspects of our daily lives. And in our efforts to stay sanitary, sometimes we tend to disregard our sustainability goals. So today, I want to talk about a few ways I've managed to integrate my eco-friendliness into our new current way of life.
This first one is pretty obvious. I'm sure by now, a lot of us are aware of the environmental issues surrounding single use masks. I understand that they are necessary for many essential workers, especially medical professionals. However, using a single use mask each time you go to the grocery store is wasteful, and re-using the same mask without washing it is gross. There are so many options for cute and comfortable masks these days. You can either try making your own or support an artist on Etsy. A lot of masks I've found on Etsy even have adjustable straps and come with filters, which may be disposable, but will still create less waste than a full disposable mask.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
When hand sanitizer became extremely difficult to find, my sister and I started making our own at home. We used a mix of aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol. Make sure your rubbing alcohol is 70% or a higher concentration. We found the best combination to be about 2 parts aloe vera gel to 1 part rubbing alcohol. Try refilling your old hand sanitizer bottle with your homemade solution in order to cut back on waste.
Homemade Disinfectant Spray
After running out of disinfectant spray and wipes, I started making my own at home. The recipe is simple, just rubbing alcohol and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Just like with the hand sanitizer, make sure to use 70% alcohol or higher. This solution can also be sprayed onto a towel or rag and used to wipe objects down in place of a wet wipe. I mixed my homemade disinfectant spray inside of an old perfume bottle that I was already planning to recycle.
Reusable Shopping and Produce Bags
A lot of stores that had planned to get rid of plastic bags in 2020 seemed to throw this idea out the window once the pandemic hit. Instead of using plastic bags, try to go for cloth or canvas bags that can easily be washed after your shopping trip. Not only is this better for the planet than bringing home unnecessary plastic, but it is also cleaner because you know that only you or those who you live with have touched the bags. I also like to clean my produce when I get home with a warm water and vinegar solution.
Buying more Mindfully
I know I'm not alone here when I say that the boredom surrounding quarantine has caused me to do a bit more online shopping than usual. And while I totally support buying from small businesses during this difficult time or supporting your favorite local restaurant, it's important for us to be mindful of what we are consuming. Ordering excessive items online creates more waste and uses up more resources. So if you are in a position to do so at this time, try to take a step back before making that third Amazon purchase in the past week and consider if you really need those items. Is there a smaller and more eco-friendly shop you can get them from? Could you maybe put that money into your savings or an emergency fund instead? Treating yourself once in a while is totally fine, it's when we spend mindlessly, hoping that it will somehow make us feel better, that the issue lies.
Thank you for reading my blog post and I hope the information in it was useful to you. This is a scary and uncertain time for all of us, however I feel it is still important to remember our values and goals. Always remember to do your best with what is available to you and stay safe!
Disclaimer: This blog post was not written by a medical professional. It contains my personal suggestions and I assume no responsibility for the results of actions taken using the information in this post. For questions about safety practices regarding Covid-19, please refer to the CDC website or speak with your doctor.