Guide to a sustainable lockdown
How to be sustainable in lockdown?
With much of the world in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic this means many of us are spending more time spent at home, less time driving and close to zero time taking flights. This silver lining has meant a drastic drop in air pollution in the world round and subsequently heart warming pictures of goats and monkeys roaming empty cities have emerged.
But, more time spent at home can also mean more waste generated from excessive energy consumption, wasteful online shopping and food wastage as a result of hoarding. That’s why we’ve written this quick and simple guide so you can ensure you keep your electricity, water usage and waste down to a minimum during lockdown.
Covid-19 lockdown has resulted in crazy food hoarding throughout much of the world with inevitable increase in food waste and lack of access to those who really need food. Here’s a few ways you can reduce your food waste and be a more ethical consumer during lockdown:
Don’t hoard! This is our first and top point and with good reason. It is estimated that 30% of food is wasted globally and with 1/10 people living in a state of malnutrition it is an ethical obligation for all of us to reduce our food waste and help others in need where we can!
One quick and easy way to help with both is to donate excess food to food banks or pick up a few extra items with your weekly shop to donate. 1.6 million people used food banks in the UK last year and this number is set to go up with the economic fall out of Covid-19, if you can afford it or have excess items stored in your cupboard donate them to a local food bank where they can be distributed to people in need.
Buy what you need! Food waste is easy to avoid when you go out shopping prepared and with many of us reducing the number of food shops we undertake in a week it pays to be prepared:
- Write your shopping list with your number of meals and days in mind, if you know you’ll be eating a takeaway at the weekend factor this into your shopping list.
- Check your fridge, cupboards and pantry before writing your list to make sure you avoid doubling up on items unnecessarily.
- Make a meal plan for the week so you can buy the exact ingredients you need and avoid buying in excess.
Turn food scraps into compost or regrow fruits and vegetables at home. There’s never been a better time to sink your teeth into a new project like building your own homemade composter or regrowing fruits and vegetables from seeds and scraps.
Food that’s nearing its expiration date can be cooked into meals and frozen then reheated at a later date to reduce your waste even further.
More time at home means more showers, kettles being boiled and hours with the TV and lights on and therefore increased energy consumption. But don’t despair there are plenty of ways you can reduce your energy consumption without rewinding to the stone age lighting candles and throwing away all your electronics.
Saving water at home can be easy, changing your behaviour in a few simple ways can be the difference between sending hundreds of litres of water to waste unnecessarily and being a water conserving warrior, let's check out some of our favourites.
- A running tap can waste up 9 litres a minute so don’t keep the tap running whilst you’re brushing your teeth or rinsing dishes.
- Take a shower instead of running a bath when you can, a five minute shower uses about 40 litres of water which is half the volume of water used in a typical bath. Save even more water whilst showering by trying to shower in the time taken for play your favourite song!
- Use a bowl in the sink whilst washing fruits and vegetables or leave a bucket in the shower whilst you’re waiting for it to warm up and use this to water your garden.
Electricity is another resource that is seeing an increase in usage with lockdown underway. Much like saving water there are a few easy tips you can implement to decrease your electricity usage.
Turn off electronics at the plug socket, even with appliances on standby or just being left plugged in they can still be drawing on power so have a quick nip round last thing at night and turn off any plugs you can.
Keep your thermostat set a little lower and wash your clothes at a lower temperature. The lower temperature means less energy required in heating your house and washing your clothes!
Reducing waste & plastic consumption
If you’re stuck indoors with an idle mind you may be tempted to turning to a spot of online shopping, with online shopping comes the inevitable mounds of plastic packaging and waste when you realise these are items that you maybe could have lived without.
If you’re spending money online try the 1 week test. If you still think you need the item in a week go ahead and purchase it, the 1 week gives you a chance to weigh up whether it is an impulse purchase or not.
If you want to treat yourself to something spend your money with ethical and sustainable companies that are deserving of your hard earned cash! There are a lot of companies out there lacking ethics that you probably wouldn’t want to support so do a bit of research before spending.
Many items come swaddled in excessive plastic packaging which in many cases is unrecyclable and can end up in landfill, if you get such items make sure you send an email to the company letting them know of their excessive plastic packaging.
Any company worth their salt will take on your feedback.
Make sure you recycle the plastic packaging where you can. However, remember recycling is a tool and not the solution to the plastic problem.
Putting your spare time to use on a worthy activity such as pursuing a hobby has been demonstrated to improve mental wellbeing and with much of us having spare time to hand there’s never been a better time to pick up a new hobby! Here are some of our eco-friendly hobbies you can pick up to give yourself something to focus on in these uncertain times.
Gardening has been demonstrated to have a whole host of health benefits, add to that the fact that it can promote healthy and sustainable eating and provide a safe haven for nature if done right gardening is a top hobby to get stuck into in lockdown.
You don’t need much space or even time to begin gardening, start small with a few house plants or herbs on your windowsill and take it from there!
Crafting and upcycling
“One man's trash is another man's treasure” definitely rings true when it comes to crafting and upcycling. A bit of creativity and elbow grease can be the difference between rubbish and a wonderful new creation.
Preparation is key when it comes to upcycling, make sure you have the right tools to hand and a vision of what you are planning on creating. Next is a bit of digging, have a hunt around on sites such as gumtree and ebay or around your garage and loft for something to work on!
Then get to it, upcycle away and you’ll have your own creation made in no time.
That’s our guide to staying sustainable during lockdown, another important aspect to staying sane during these strange times is talking with like minded people! That’s why we’d love to have you in our plastic-free support group so you can talk all things sustainability with other budding zero-wasters!
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