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Staying Green Under Quarantine

How to Keep Staying Green Under Quarantine

Going green in the regular everyday routine takes hard work, dedication and will power. It’s definitely not an easy lifestyle change to take on, especially when our world is built for convenience. But how do we keep staying green during quarantine?

Our options have become limited such as bringing our own containers to the bulk food stores and not being able to use reusable shopping bags.  To eliminate any kind of cross-contamination, our reusable items need to be washed after every use. Even if you’ve mastered the trick of using your reusable shopping bag while collecting groceries, you still need to clean that bag after every use.

So…how do we stay environmentally conscious during a time of worldwide crisis? Well, we did some research and pulled this list together. We also asked the professional sustainability bloggers ‘The Ethical Nomad’ and ‘Sustainably Savvy’ what their top tips are.

Reusable
  1. Reusable is still best. It may seem like a good idea to switch to disposable cups, plates and cutlery to prevent the spread, but that’s just a bad idea all around. You’re creating more waste, and waste collection staff can be exposed to what you’re putting on the curb for collection. Plus, soap and hot water are known to cut through the coronavirus, which is why proper hand washing is crucial right now.
  2. Use a refill service. Rose Refillery in Quinte West, for example, will come to your door and fill up your CLEAN and EMPTY containers with the supplies that you need. You name it; they got it — everything from hand soap to laundry soap to shampoo.
  3. Use reusable materials for paper towels, facial tissues and napkins. Simply cut up old cotton towels or t-shirts and hem them if you desire! And if you don’t like the idea of reusable toilet paper (who even does???), then now is the time to purchase a bidet. You would be surprised how inexpensive this really is! There are also more environmentally friendly places that make toilet paper such as Hello Tushy and Who Gives a Crap.
Food & Kitchen
  1. Wash Your Food. Now more than ever, it’s essential to make sure your produce is clean. All you need is a small amount of warm water and some dish soap and let them soak. There’s no need to run them under the water. When they’re done, add some more HOT water and use this water to wash your reusable straws and cutlery.
  2. Experiment with making foods you would typically buy processed and packaged like bread and cookies. Maybe you’ll develop a new skill, and it’ll save you extra trips to the grocery store.
  3. Use Your Dishwasher. Yes – a dishwasher uses much less water than handwashing. Surprisingly, we know. This is really good if you’re on a septic tank. It’s less stress on your system, especially now that everyone is at home using the bathrooms and kitchen 24/7.
Shopping
  1. Home Deliveries. Many local businesses are optimizing this situation and offering home deliveries. Produce, for example, when purchased in the store, they want you to use the plastic produce bags to prevent contamination. Leave a cooler on your front step, and farmers will leave your order loose in the cooler. Make sure you sanitize everything before and after a delivery person has touched your purchases and your cooler.
  2. Buy in Bulk. When you purchase 24 hamburgers from the butcher, for example, they’ll most likely be wrapped together instead of individually. Separate when you get home and utilize that freezer.
  3. Need to order something online? Look to your small businesses first before jumping onto Amazon. You’ll help a small business do a happy dance while reducing your carbon footprint! This is also a great way to source local sustainably farmed food such as Jubilee Forest Farm in Prince Edward County.
Activities
  1. Declutter. Get rid of all those unwanted items in your house is important. But it’s what you do with the unwanted items that count! Batteries, for example, should be disposed of properly. They are hazardous waste and should be taken to your local hazardous waste depot.
  2. If you’re feeling crafty, use this time to experiment with making your own products. Start small and easy, like making your own all-purpose cleaner with citrus peels and vinegar.
  3. Are you doing more Netflix & chill than usual? Increase your environmental awareness and add some documentaries to your queues like The True Cost, Planet Earth, Minimalism, and A Plastic Ocean.
  4. Use this time to start a garden! Growing our own food is more than just a hobby! We can reduce our carbon footprint, and in uncertain circumstances, it ensures that we will not run out of food supply. Along with the obvious benefit of reducing the risk for starvation, spending time outdoors can help boost your mood! If you’re feeling like succumbing to the quarantine blues-step outside and play in the dirt! Not sure where to start? You can use seeds from everyday foods that you’ve already purchased! Think of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes and even garlic! The list is truly endless. Save your used toilet paper rolls and make them into seedling starting pots. Slit the bottom ends vertically and push them into the tube to create the bottom. You can plant these right into the ground, and they will biodegrade (though it does take a couple of years.) Make sure to grab some seed starting soil from your local hardware store (online or curbside pickup!) And you’re good to go! As a bonus…not only will you avoid many trips to the grocery store and prevent so many germs from coming back into your home, but you will also increase your family and your community’s food security.

Hopefully, these tips will help you stay green. Or, if you’re thinking now is the time to be more environmentally conscious, follow these tips. And be sure to follow @quinterecycling, @sustainablysavvy.ca and @theethicalnomad on social media more green tips!

Stay home, stay safe and stay healthy!