Sustainability during a pandemic

Thanks to our friends at Costa Mesa Sanitary District for sharing these great tips. This is adapted from an article which appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Living Green, a publication produced by Eco Partners, Inc. for Costa Mesa Sanitary District.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted many of our everyday lives, but it doesn’t have to impact our commitment to sustainability. This is the perfect time to continue practicing good recycling habits and pledge to protect the environment. It’s true that COVID-19 has made some common activities difficult, such as taking your reusable shopping bags into stores, but there are plenty of other ways to exercise sustainability!

Here are some tips for keeping your sustainability momentum going. We hope these tips inspire you to continue the journey toward sustainable living, even during these unprecedented times.

Wear a mask
It’s important to wear a mask when in public spaces. This simple act protects not only your health, but that of your neighbors. Instead of using disposable masks, wear a reusable cloth mask to reduce waste. Just be sure to wash between wearings!

Bag your own groceries
Are you tired of plastic bags accumulating at home? Ask for your groceries to remain unbagged at checkout and placed back into your shopping cart. Then bag them yourself once you get to the car with your reusable bags.

Reusable water bottles
Keep saying “NO” to single-use plastics. There are many brands that sell reusable water bottles and drink containers with unique designs and colors to fit any style.

Reusable rags and towels
Replace your paper towel habit with a more sustainable alternative for cleanups and spills. Washing and reusing rags and towels can also help cut costs and trips to the store.

Combine errands
Whether you want to save gas or limit nonessential activities, reducing car travel is an excellent way to protect the environment. Consider walking or biking to stores that are close by. Use “trip chaining” as a fun way of challenging yourself to plan your errands using the most efficient route.

Recycle food scraps
Since many of us are cooking and eating at home more often, we can collect and store food scraps for recycling. Whether you use a countertop kitchen pail, a compost bin, or a plain plastic container with a lid, find a system that makes sense for you. While cooking, separate food scraps (like vegetable peels and eggshells) into your chosen container. Then, simply empty the contents of your container into your organics bin if your community has a program for organics, or compost them at home.

Energy efficiency
Now that you’re spending more time at home, consider making some energy-efficient changes around your house. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs where possible and install a programmable thermostat. When doing laundry, let your clothes hang-dry instead of using the dryer.

Online ordering
With many people switching to online purchasing, the growing demand has limited the capacity of warehouse workers and their ability to pack and ship items. Consider only ordering essential items online and be sure to select ground shipping when possible.

Photo credit: sdominick| iStock | Getty Images Plus

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