By Wendy Davila
This pandemic has been around for almost a year now and we have had to adapt in more ways than one. Some of us couldn’t go out to get our essentials or go to our favorite restaurants anymore. But, thankfully, apps like Postmates and Uber Eats exist so we can indulge from time to time. The downside to delivery is that we have been using so much plastic utensils and disposable packaging, yet our recycling ways have been thrown out the window. I mean, not only are we overly using plastic in our day-to-day lives, but even our disposable masks pose a threat to our environment. It is time we keep both our environment and ourselves safe. Here are five ways to be more sustainable during COVID.
1. Ditch the Disposable
It’s time to get away from our disposable masks and find your way to a store that has reusable masks. I get it, disposable masks make you feel safe, but our streets are tired of being littered with masks. Masks have become the new plastic grocery bags, always being thrown out thinking there are no repercussions. There are many masks that have a place to fit in filters so you can ensure your protection. When you’ve used it all day just throw it in the wash, and you are good to go.
2. Reusable Bags Are Still In
Reusable bags have somehow been a controversy since 2016; either you hate them or you love them. At the start of the pandemic many stores did not allow reusable bags to be used and introduced plastic bags back into their systems. Now, as COVID cases decline, stores are becoming more lenient about allowing reusable bags again. But, if the grocery store still isn’t accepting reusable bags, go for the paper bag instead of plastic. Paper bags can later be used as gift wrapping paper, a grocery bag, a book cover or even compost. We really do not need more plastic bags in our streets and oceans, especially with masks making their grand introduction to ocean pollution in 2020.
3. Spend Time in Your Kitchen
Trust me, I am no stranger to ordering takeout. But the amount of plastic that is used makes my heart cringe a little. Ordering food is more accessible than ever, but during these times it is best to audit ourselves and limit our consumption. If you are like me and have a Pinterest board dedicated to cooking, take this as a sign to try those recipes out. They may not be perfect, but it can be an activity that your whole family can enjoy. And you can relax at night knowing that you did not add to that day’s pollution.
4. Bulk is Best
Most of us have our essentials that we grab every grocery trip such as rice, beans, granola and even peanut butter. We accumulate so much waste during these trips just to gather our essential needs. Instead, gather your favorite mason jars and head over to your local grocery store with a bulk section. By doing so you eliminate all plastic and extend your time from having to go once again. If you ask me, that is a win.
5. Composting is For Everyone
You may be sitting in your apartment wondering how it could be possible, but it is. Composting can be done by everyone and anyone, whether you have a garden or a one-bedroom apartment. Some have a designated trash can in their yard in which they throw all their waste like fruits and veggies and later transfer it to their garden and grass. If you have a small space, you can find a small composting bin that you can throw into any corner. Waste like orange and banana peels, coffee grounds, tea leaves and any fruits and veggies will be broken down and all the nutrients will go back into the soil. There are many great resources you can find on TikTok that not only show you how to compost but teach you about the differences. Look up eco-friendly content creators like @Lydiakia, @Lottiedalziel and @goingzerowaste.
You really cannot become sustainable overnight. It takes a lot of research and the desire to change your habits and products. Every day we fall into the trap of ordering out coffee from our local Starbucks that does not offer biodegradable cups and later throw our masks into our garbage where they end up in either the ocean or a random street miles away from you. Patience is key when trying to become more sustainable; but remember that every step you take is one towards positive change.
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