Self-isolation is making it really difficult for us to be eco-friendly. Being at home all the time means we use a lot of electricity and we produce a lot more waste than usual. This might be really discouraging, but there are quite a few ways that we can be more eco-friendly while in self-isolation!
Keep reading to find out 5 easy ways to be sustainable at home!
1- Shop locally
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably started online shopping way more than usual. That’s to be expected when we can’t go out and see the world!
When I say ‘shop locally’, I definitely don’t mean go out the house and go to local shops; that might be too risky right now! What I mean is, when shopping online, try to order from local or national businesses. This is because when you order from local retailers, your packages do not have to travel as far. Less travel means less carbon emissions being released. This makes your online shopping much more eco-friendly!
Also, by doing it this way, you avoid supporting huge online retailers like Amazon which are known for countless actions that damage the environment.
Plus, shopping from retailers close to you means you’re funding your local economy, so it’s a win-win!
2- Grow your own herbs, fruits and veggies
I’m sure we’ve all experienced a few food shortage scares during this Coronavirus Pandemic! One way to be more sustainable is to grow your own herbs, fruits and vegetables at home.
From the supermarket, you can buy ready-grown herbs. When you bring these home, separate the individual plants that make up 1 pot, and plant with half regular soil and half compost. This way, they’ll last for months or even years with yearly repotting.
Mint and thyme are two herbs that are easy to grow at home. If you don’t have the garden space, you can transplant the supermarket herbs into your own pots by separating the bundle of plants and keeping them in a sunny place. You can also grow them from seeds!
You can easily grow your own berries at home! Raspberries and blackberries grow in bushes, so you can have your own home-grown berries quite quickly. Strawberries grow on the ground, and they’re very easy to grow and don’t require much space.
If you have some space in the garden where you could plant some vegetables, you could plant carrots, spinach, potatoes, radishes and garlic quite easily. Potatoes are a great place to start as they’re very hardy. This summer I grew my own tomatoes, potatoes, basil and thyme and they all worked out really well! I’ve now moved house so I’m starting from scratch. This time I’m trying to grow a chili pepper plant, salad leaves and basil indoors.
Growing your own produce is not only extremely fun, but it’s a great way to reduce your plastic waste and be more eco-friendly. In growing your own food, you save on the emissions produced when transporting food, and you cut down on non-recyclable plastic packaging.
3- Opt for glass, cardboard and tin
I’m sure we’ve all heard of the plastic straw ban currently in place in many areas of the world. Single-use plastics are quite wasteful as they take a lot of energy to be produced and they are rarely recycled by councils (even when they’re technically recyclable!).
During this period of self-isolation, many of us are doing are food shopping online. Through online grocery shopping, we can make quite a few eco-friendly choices!
To cut down on plastic waste and be more sustainable, opt for glass, cardboard and tin in place of plastic packaging. For example, instead of buying pasta sauce in plastic pockets, you could buy the sauce that comes in glass jars! Glass, tin and cardboard are all easily recycled, and they are actively being recycled by our councils (unlike most of our plastic). That’s why I look out for these materials, including when shopping for beauty products. For some great eco-friendly beauty recommendations, check out my previous blog post.
Recycling is an easy way to make big differences to the planet! As we’re all eating at home all-day every day, we’re probably producing more waste at home. Is anyone else eating double the normal amount right now?
Because of this, it’s more important than ever to correctly recycle to ensure that our rubbish isn’t going to landfill, where it will be buried or burnt. Both these options are polluting to the planet. The first just hides the rubbish and pollutes our planet, and the second releases harmful gasses into the environment. These gasses are damaging to the ozone layer, contributing to global warming. That’s why recycling is such a great way to be more eco-friendly!
5- Watch your electricity and water use
I don’t know about you, but since being at home I’ve definitely been using more electricity. This is quite hard to avoid seeing as I’m at home all day. A really important way to be more eco-friendly when in self-isolation is to watch the amount of electricity you use. Try to switch off lights when you leave the room, and open the curtains during the day, using natural light instead of turning on the lights.
Another way to reduce the amount of energy you consume is to wash your clothes less. We’re not going out anyway, so our clothes don’t have to be in tip-top shape! Who cares if you wore that t-shirt 3 days in a row? And when you wash your clothes, why not dry them outside instead of using the dryer? We have the time to hang them up and wait for them to dry now!
Why not try an Earth hour every day or a couple of times a week? During an Earth hour, you don’t use any electricity in the house (except for the essentials such as the fridge or freezer of course!). You could read, play a game with other people in your household, or simply have a nap!
We are all having to wash our hands many times a day to keep safe from the Coronavirus. It’s so important that we wash our hands well, but we can turn off the taps when soaping our hands to save 20-30 seconds’ worth of water each time.
And lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself! All we can do is make small changes to try and protect the planet, but these are unprecedented times. It’s only normal that most of our efforts are focused on keeping safe and healthy right now. I hope that this post does bring up some helpful ways to be more eco-friendly during this period of self-isolation.
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