5 tips to maintain zero-waste goals during the pandemic

January 28, 2021

    Over the past year, coronavirus has upended people’s lives and forced them to adjust to an unprecedented pandemic.

    While restructuring your life to COVID-19 can be stressful, that doesn’t mean that you should put important goals on the backburner — even environmental ones. After all, coronavirus and sustainability, though seemingly unrelated on the surface, do affect one another.

    There are plenty of ways you can still show your commitment to saving the planet even during the pandemic. Below find 5 tips to help you to reduce your carbon footprint and be zero-waste during the outbreak.

    Stay informed

    Asking the right questions to make sure you’re cutting down on unnecessary waste is crucial during the pandemic. Erin Simon, head of plastic waste and business at WWF, advises throwing a keen eye on the items that you are buying to avoid harmful environmental impact. Simon explains: “If I’m about to buy something, I consciously read the product’s label and ask myself a few questions. How much of recycled content was used for this item? Is it single use? Is this recyclable—not in general, but specifically in the place that I am?”

    Reuse, even during the pandemic

    While many people are concerned about reusing containers during the pandemic, Simon cited a letter signed by Greenpeace, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and over 100 other organizations in 2020 that endorses the use of reusable containers, saying they are safe when washed and reused properly, even in a post-COVID world. While it is best to err on the side of safety, reusing is an important step in a plan to achieving sustainability goals.

    Find sustainable alternatives

    Every small step you take to be sustainable can add up. Conduct an audit of your home and belongings and figure out where you produce the most waste over the course of the day, then figure out a sustainable alternative. Examples include replacing that plastic water bottle with a reusable one or bulk buying shelf-safe foods like nuts and dry goods and storing them yourself at home.

    Reduce food waste

    Research has shown that food waste is one of the most prominent types of waste in landfills. Make a conscious effort to reduce your food waste through actionable steps like eating what you have in the fridge before buying more, repurposing your leftovers to make new meals, and storing food safely according to FDA recommendations.

    Cut down on water waste

    We use water in so many ways, especially at home. Think about how you use water throughout the day and reduce it where you can by taking steps like installing low-flow showerheads or turning off the water when you’re lathering in the shower and brushing your teeth.

    For more ideas on how you can save the planet, visit 1Thing.

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