How to live zero waste during the COVID-19 pandemic

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By Kate Hoffman

There is so much change during the COVID-19 pandemic that it’s not necessary to prioritize sustainability, right? Wrong! While adjusting to the “new normal” of social distancing, it is important now more than ever to be mindful of the waste we are producing.

Why now more than ever?

Because this is an especially difficult time for recycling factories. Many recyclers are halting their services, and recycling is becoming less profitable than sending items to the landfill. How can we help reverse this? By putting less pressure on recycling and landfill companies by following some of these tips listed below.

Cooking During COVID

EAT IN – I have found the stay at home order to be very helpful with my cooking skills. It has been fun to use all that I have in the house to make delicious meals. Since going out to eat isn’t much of an option currently, many people choose to order takeout for their meals. While this may be tasty (& extremely helpful to small businesses!) it also produces a lot of waste.

My tip? If you feel you need your fix of takeout, try supporting small local businesses that serve their food in compostable materials. Don’t know how to tell if your restaurant serves in compostable material? Or you know they don’t but you want to support anyways while reducing waste? Check out this guide our Founder, Marina McCoy made here.

COMPOST – As we are all spending most of our days in our home now, there is a lot less eating out and a lot more eating in. When eating at home, unlike at restaurants or dining halls, you need to handle your own food waste. Did you know that in the US, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted? Composting food scraps

GROCERY SHOPPING – When you are out grocery shopping, make sure to bring your reusable bag and be mindful of the packaging your food comes in. Will it end up in a landfill or could it be recycled or composted? Or even better, reused? Staying in the produce section is key, as produce has natural wrappers and can be transported in reusable bags (once you get outside of the store.) In the US, food and packaging containers account for almost 45% of the materials found in landfills. And fresh food is always a healthier option!

HOMEMADE OR DIY – Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, oh my! 

  • Make your own mask or purchase a reusable one. I have found making my own mask can be fun and creative. 
  • You can use old fabrics or t-shirts to sew together a mask.
  • If you are using gloves, make sure you use reusable ones if you can. 
  • Instead of using single-use Wet Wipes, use a cleaning rag and homemade cleaner
  • Some common ingredients found in homemade cleaners are: 
  • Baking Soda
  • Borax
  • Essential Oil
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Lemon juice
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar 

I hope you enjoyed some of these simple tips to reduce your waste during COVID.

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