The Zero Waste Living Journey
All around the world, the COVID-19 health crisis has caused a huge shift in people’s lives. The fear of dying, unemployment and home isolation have been difficult to cope with and emotionally challenging for all of us.
Together with the loss of our routines, time structures and basically the loss of everyday life as we know it, came a lot of anxiety, uncertainty and confusion. But the loss of a well known way of living shouldn’t bring the loss of our environmental values, too. A zero waste living commitment is a journey not a destination, and the ways through which we can show our love and care for the planet are many and diverse.
Being confined at home shouldn’t change our preoccupation with environmental safety, and excessive worrying for our health cannot be an excuse to avoid our individual obligation we all have for our collective home.
Zero Waste Living Tips to Embrace
The negative consequences of COVID-19 are numerous and are impacting all areas of our lives. But deep below the apparent crisis there are also some valuable lessons we should be mindful about.
It took just a few weeks of standstill to see how, when given a pause to breath, nature quickly starts to regenerate. It also took just a short period of time for this calamity to put on a new light on our society’s excessive consumerism. As many of you have already noticed by now from staying home and buying just the essentials, there are so little things we actually need to live.
The zero waste living tips I am planning to share with you in this post are not only about a cleaner way of living but a cleaner way of thinking too. Although scary and unknown, why not use this time to clean our thoughts, become more mindful and learn to live more authentic and more in the present.
We’ve been given a much needed break to clean not only our homes but also our bodies and minds. We’ve also been offered the gift of understanding better the weight of humanity, the implication our actions have on the world and how we are all connected and responsible for everything that happens with our planet and ourselves.
Food Shopping During Quarantine
Although staying inside is a must these days, the majority of us can still go out to buy food. Use this opportunity wisely and choose to shop at the farmer’s market whenever possible. It’s a hard time for everyone, and if you have the chance, try and offer your support to local producers. Raising immunity and protecting our health is essential so it’s the best time now to start eating more fruits and vegetables. Aim to buy mostly fresh foods and do your best to avoid plastic packaging.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen a massive increase in the consumption of single use plastics during the last few weeks due to people buying huge quantities of gloves, masks, toilet paper and sanitizers. So now, more than ever, you should remember to grab your organic cotton tote as you head out to the market to avoid contributing to plastic pollution. Each small action we take has an enormous impact on the world.
The past few weeks have been a perfect testament to this… you are isolating and staying home. It might not seem like much, but what happens when everyone in the world stays inside? The earth begins to recover. Individually, as a collective force, we can change what happens to the world.
Zero-Waste Living Tips For The Tea Drinker
With so much free time on our hands lately, there is nothing more pleasant than drinking a warming cup of tea while browsing through our favorite books or listening to our favorite podcast.
Quarantine should not derail us from our zero waste living path when choosing the right type of tea though. Stay away from traditional plastic tea-bags and try to always buy tea in bulk or choose brands that offer sustainable packaging. Although the current situation limits our tea buying choices, you will always find a good selection of bulk tea in most of the grocery stores. You can always do some research and buy from small businesses online – they need us more than ever.
In the bulk aisle, don’t forget reusable bulk food bags to solve not only the packaging problem, but also the storage. These perfectly sized bags are great for buying, transporting and storing your favorite bulk tea (among many other goodies). Easy to use, easy to clean, and made to last!
The Right Way to Store Your Ingredients
How many of you have been cleaning and reorganizing your homes like crazy during the last few weeks? I sure have! I’ve been planning for a long time now to properly organize my storage room and recheck that all my ingredients are stored in my reusable bags or glass jars.
Resorting to natural materials when storing food is not only healthier for the planet, but also safer for us. Materials like glass, silicone, and organic cotton are the preferred choice over plastic. These materials can be recycled, are resistant to being washed at high temperatures and are free from any nasty chemicals that could leak into food and intoxicate our bodies.
How To Reinvent Leftovers
There’s a lot of cooking going on in most homes these days, and even those of us that were rarely stepping in the kitchen before have now discovered some long forgotten cooking skills. But with so much meal prepping comes a lot of food wasting too. A zero waste living decision involves a deeper understanding of the importance of preserving all our resources, including the food we consume.
That’s why this zero waste living tip refers to saving food whenever possible by finding new uses for your leftovers. As a bit of inspiration, small meat pieces and bones are great to make a soothing bone broth that your gut will thank you for, while stale fruits and vegetables can easily turn to tasty soups and vegetable broths. And because most of us throw bananas away as soon as they become too ripe, why not make a yummy banana bread out of them instead. Just throw them in the freezer until you are ready to bake up a storm!
Reducing Cosmetic Use
Since the majority of us girls are not going out so much these days, we should try and give both our skin and the planet some time to breath. Using less make-up and cosmetics doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t still pamper ourselves though. Home natural recipes are affordable, safe and many times more efficient than the products that we buy in the shops.
If you haven’t tried them so far, these two are my favorites: coconut butter for bringing back moisture to hair, and fresh fruits with honey for making juicy, hydrating face masks that are a great antioxidant for the skin. Just try not to eat them all in the DIY process!
Giving Natural Home Cleaners a Chance
As most of you know by now, many of our regular home cleaning products are not in line with our zero-waste living standards. These substances are harming us and the planet not only because of their plastic packaging, but also through their health-harming, undisclosed ingredients.
If using natural cleaning solutions hasn’t been your thing yet, you can now give this eco-friendly alternative a try. All you need is some vinegar, baking soda, water and lemon to make your home sparkling clean and safe to live in.
Pro tip: add in some essential oils for a variety of natural scents!
Sort, Pack and Donate Your Clothes
Together with organizing our storage room we should think about organizing our wardrobes too. The clothing industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and compulsive shopping can be a big barrier to our zero-waste living plan. If you have too many garment items that you no longer wear and are just taking up space in your closet, why not donate them to someone who would be happy to wear them?
Donating clothes is not only great for cleaning your home space and saving the environment, but also a thoughtful way to support the people in need. This global crisis has already brought a lot of financial burden and unemployment to many of us, so helping each other is the right thing to do!
Remember though, try to donate clothing that is still in good shape. If it isn’t, consider repurposing and upcycling your clothing into something new.
Water Is Precious. Let’s Save It!
Water is an incredibly precious resource which is unfortunately taken for granted by many of us. Saving water is easy and everyone should do it. All we need to do is be mindful of how and when we use water.
Don’t forget to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and try to cut down on your shower time by a few minutes.
Whenever you are doing the laundry or dishes, just make sure to load the machine to its maximum capacity. Seems like little things, I know, but they do make a difference! You might notice that difference on your next utility bill, too.
Don’t Forget To Unplug
The constant stream of technology we consume daily causes a huge burden on the environment.
Some of the few measures we can all take in our homes is to try and always turn off the light when not in the room, unplug all appliances which are not in use and try to replace old ones with more energy efficient alternatives.
Why We Love Plants
If you’re wondering what plants have to do with my zero-waste living tips, let me explain.
Plants are beautiful, relaxing and most importantly, they act like natural air purifiers for your homes. More than that, studies have proven that house plants reduce stress levels and boost your mood. Watering and taking care of plants can be an extremely relaxing activity which will take your mind from all the surrounding negativity. Not only that, but plants can actually improve your sleep, and we all know that getting good sleep is essential for long-term health. Check out the 7 plants you can keep in your room to benefit your sleep.
One thing you should remember though is to remove the plastic containers most plants are sold in. Plants hate plastic as much as we do and placing them in an eco-friendly recipient, like ceramic or terracotta, will help them grow faster and more beautifully.
What are your zero waste living tips while being under quarantine? Share them in the comments below!