Stay sustainable during the coronavirus pandemic
17 April 2020
At LGS, we believe in sustainability. That’s why environmental responsibility is at the forefront of our decision-making.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has upended our normal habits in just a matter of weeks, can leave individuals feeling lost as they try to establish new daily routines during an uncertain time. While most of us are staying at home, there are still many things we can do to make sure we prioritise sustainability alongside fighting the virus.
We’re no strangers to limiting consumption, especially when it comes to plastic. The coronavirus presents new conservation challenges, however, even as we may be cutting down on single-use plastics by not eating at restaurants. Here are the conservation issues to watch out for now.
You know that one of the most important things you can do to help prevent the spread of this virus is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep it up! Wash often and be thorough. But you can save a lot of water by turning off the tap while you scrub your hands.
In addition, with no commute in the morning, you might be tempted to take a luxuriously long hot shower each day. Treat yourself if you must, but try to keep it short most of the time.
Take just enough toilet paper
You’ve likely noticed that the toilet paper section of your local shop has been a bit sparse lately. Remember to buy only what you need and resist the urge to hoard supplies.
Instead, focus on making your current stash last longer. In particular, if you have children at home, you might want to have a frank conversation about proper toilet paper usage. Tell your kids to grab only what they need and to not wad it up.
Limit other paper products
Paper products in general have been in short supply lately. Revisit some of your daily habits. With all this additional handwashing, you probably don’t need to keep disposable serviettes handy for dinner every night. Cloth napkins can catch the crumbs just as effectively. Most instances where you would have reached for a paper kitchen towel can probably be handled with a soft cotton hand towel or dish rag.
Switch your nappies
If you care for an infant, you know just how many nappies get tossed away every day. It might be a big change to make, but one of the ways you can conserve more is by switching to washable cloth nappies. You’ll be amazed by what a difference it makes!
Conserving paper products is a great way to practise sustainability during the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t forget to recycle the cardboard, too!
Advice for cooking and shopping
Changing your eating habits and preparing food in a mindful manner is one of the best ways to be more sustainable in your everyday life. Given the current conditions, there’s an additional incentive to focus on eco-friendly eating.
Stick to plant-based foods
With social distancing guidelines and restaurant closures in place, you’re probably spending more time in the kitchen than dining out. When you opt for plant-based foods instead of animal products, your dinner generally has a lower environmental impact. In addition to the methane gas produced by livestock, animal agriculture is likely to be more resource intensive per kilo of food consumed than fresh fruits or vegetables.
Go to the garden for fresh produce
You’ve heard of local food, and what’s more local than your own backyard or allotment? Planting your own produce eliminates the extra packaging and fuel used to grow, process and distribute commercially grown food. It also gives you a venue for composting leftover table scraps instead of tossing them in the bin.
As an added bonus, starting a garden can be a great new hobby to immerse yourself in while you practise social distancing.
Plan your meals in advance
What’s a good way to be a thoughtful neighbour during the pandemic while saving the planet? Carefully plan your shopping trips. By thinking through your grocery list, you’ll:
- Reduce the number of trips you take to the shop, which helps fight the spread of coronavirus while limiting fuel consumption.
- Lower the amount of excess food you buy, leaving it on the shelf for other people in your community while ensuring you won’t wind up wasting it.
It’s easy to fall victim to a scarcity mindset if you don’t know how much food you actually need. Plan out your meals before your next shopping trip so you don’t impulsively buy too many perishable goods.
Focus on frozen or canned vegetables if you’re looking to stock up a little bit, since these won’t spoil. If you do have leftovers, make sure to freeze them before they go bad.
Sustainable home care
In addition to undergoing an eco-conscious upgrade in the kitchen, there are several other ways to make your home more environmentally friendly. You may already be familiar with some of these tips, but keep in mind how lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic may make you want to break your sustainable habits.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
An important component of sustainable living is to reduce the amount of waste you generate. We’ve covered paper products, and we’ve taken a look at how to limit the amount of packaging you use by growing your own vegetables. Make sure to stick with your recycling routine.
Spending extra time at home might drive you to look for new indoor hobbies. Use some of that extra mental energy to dream up creative uses for would-be waste.
Compost what you can
You may not need your own garden to start composting. Find out if there’s a curbside pickup service in your area, or freeze your leftover food scraps and bring them to the compost bin at a community garden the next time you’re out for some exercise.
Reduce your electrical usage
Unless you’re 100% powered by renewables, spending too much time streaming and binge-watching TV is a definite way to burn through some extra fuel resources, increasing your carbon footprint. Make sure to take some time relaxing with electricity-free entertainment, like tabletop games or a good book.
Lower the thermostat
With winter around the corner and all this additional time indoors at home, you’ll feel tempted to slowly turn up the dial on your thermostat. Every time you get the urge, think about whether you can find a cosy blanket and a hot cup of tea instead.
With winter approaching, you’ll be tempted to turn up the thermostat. Keep it down as much as you can.
The current circumstances can make us feel powerless, but we’ll meet the days ahead with strength and compassion. With a little bit of ingenuity and some resourcefulness, we can practise sustainable habits while fighting this virus as a community.
If you do feel sick, be sure to have your symptoms checked. Help the government track the virus by sharing whether you’ve contracted it or been in close contact with someone who has. Make sure to keep checking the federal government website for additional information, too.
If you’re an LGS member, read our COVID-19 pandemic updates to be kept informed on market updates and how LGS is supporting members through this time.
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