5 Ways to Stay Environmentally Conscious During a Pandemic

The 2020 Earth Day celebrations may feel different, but you can still keep the goals of environmental protection alive in your home.

This year, Earth Day won’t be celebrated with festivals or public gatherings. But the spirit of the holiday lives on, observed at home by individuals and families. Here are five ways you can maintain an environmentally friendly attitude even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reduce Food Waste

Many of us have run into issues getting all the food we’d like from the grocery store. And that highlights the problem of food waste. According to the USDA, even in a normal year about 30 to 40 percent of all food in the United States goes to waste.

Help cut back on food waste by using the resources in your freezer or pantry to prepare your meal planning. You’d be surprised to find how often you can find a perfect recipe with the materials on hand. And after you’ve enjoyed that meal, don’t toss the leftovers! Using them for a snack or a future meal will cut down on trips to the store and help out with your budget.

Keep Trash in Trash Bins

With so many of us self-isolating, the amount of waste and recycling produced at home is increasing. Be sure that you’re not allowing trash to overflow into your recycling bins. When items like disinfectant wipes or rubber gloves end up in the recycling, it causes a significant ripple effect. Most recycling centers sort by hand, and dealing with contaminated materials makes their already thin profit margin hard to sustain.

Repurpose

Medical professionals often need to dispose of personal protective equipment (PPE) after a single use, but that doesn’t mean disposable products are always the best choice for home use. A hand towel and soap can get the job done for basic surface cleaning, and household disinfectant is just as effective as a disposable wipe. For more details on best practices see the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for household cleaning and disinfection.

In fact, the DIY approach is perfect for repurposing all kinds of material. There are countless ways to turn potential trash into something useful, from crafting spare cloth into face masks to building projects using scrap wood.

Garden

For many people, home gardening has long been an interest that they’ve never found time to pursue. Now that so many of us are staying at home, it’s an excellent time to develop your garden, whether you want to grow food to supplement your groceries, cultivate herbs to spice up your meals or simply enjoy the pleasures and stress relief that comes from gardening. Recent years have seen increasing interest in the psychological benefits gained by working with soil and tending to plants and flowers.

Cultivating a connection with your surroundings is psychologically rewarding in today’s current climate, and an excellent way to celebrate Earth Day.

Embrace Lasting Change

The pandemic brought massive change to our lives. As society returns to normal we’ll have to decide which, if any, of those changes will become permanent. If you’ve found some practices to be helpful during self-isolation, consider incorporating them into your daily routine.

Lifestyle habits such as reduced travel in favor of virtual meetings, reusing material and dining in are ways to help the spirit of Earth Day last all year long.