But spending more time at home gives us the opportunity to be more intentional with what we bring into our space and affords us the time to change some of our behaviours to become more green!
Why does this matter?Whether it’s electricity, food or products, we are almost always consuming something, and usually a lot of it.
Plus, the current larger focus on public health and safety has required some habit changes that don’t favour sustainability and have put us back to using disposable products.
Taking the time to recognize where in your life you can minimize these disposable products while still keeping yourself and your family safe is important!
If you’re ready to cut down your consumption, here are a few tips you can use at home and in your neighbourhood as our cities and countries start to slowly open back up.
At HomeWe’ve all spent way more time than normal at home throughout this pandemic and have likely been unaware of areas we could be more eco-conscious.
Turn off lights when not in use
Spending more time at home means a change in how we consume electricity. Surprisingly, electricity use across Canada and in some US and European cities has decreased during our time in quarantine.
This is largely due to businesses, schools, and large offices being closed, but also a result of people sleeping in later and taking advantage of the daylight in their homes.
Let’s continue this trend by opening up the blinds and letting that spring sunshine in! Or, when you need to use lights, turning them off as you move room to room.
Plant a vegetable garden
With summer nearly upon us in the northern hemisphere, now is the perfect time to prepare a garden on your deck, in your backyard or even a kitchen window!
Regardless of how much space you have, there are many low maintenance, small space plant options you can grow.
For those restricted to small growing areas, try herbs, lettuce or tomato plants. If you have a larger growing area, consider putting together a raised garden bed or setting up pots to grow carrots, peas, cucumbers, or squash!
Upcycle around your home
Now is the perfect time to start tackling some of those DIY projects you’ve had pinned for years!
If you’re looking for options, consider making dish towels or cleaning cloths from stained or ripped bed sheets, t-shirts, or towels.
Or, take the time to switch over to making your own laundry detergent or cleaning products.
Another great option is to pick up a needle and thread and mend or alter that pair of pants you’ve had hiding in the back of your closet that’s just waiting for a quick repair.
Meal prep weekly
On average every year, each Canadian household wastes approximately 140 kg of food.
In addition to clogging up our landfills, this waste also costs us financially, amounting to the equivalent of $1,100 per household.
Cooking in batches a couple times a week saves you time and can help you use up ingredients across multiple nights. Meal prepping not only prevents throwing out unused veggies that get stuck at the back of the fridge, but also save you money!
Go zero waste with your self-care
As you use up your shampoo, body wash, and other self-care products, start switching to eco-friendly alternatives such as shampoo bars, soap and bamboo toothbrushes.
Take a look inside your bathroom at how many plastic bottled products you own now, and how can you reduce this number as you finish up each bottle!
In Your NeighbourhoodJust because we're in quarantine doesn't mean we're not out and about in our neighbourhoods!
Opt for a reusable water bottle
Did you know that one million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute?
Whether you’re going for your daily walk or run, having a social distanced picnic in your local park, or heading to the grocery store, bring your reusable water bottle instead!
This is a super simple swap to make and in the long run will save you lots of money (not to mention the plastic from the landfill!).
As fitness studios slowly start opening back up be sure to BYO water bottle to these as well.
Bring reusable shopping bags (if your store allows it)
While health concerns during the pandemic have taken us back to using more disposables than we may be used to, there are many businesses trying to remain eco-friendly.
If your grocery store allows it, keep bringing your own shopping bags! As an alternative, ask if you can pack your own groceries from your shopping cart into your reusable bags outside the store or at your car.
Buy or make a reusable face mask
If you choose to wear a face mask when out and about in public, buy or make a reusable face mask.
Cloth masks do need to be washed after each use, so you may find it helpful to have two. While this may seem a bit inconvenient, it is still far more sustainable than throwing out a single-use mask after every outing.
Be sure to do your research on how to safely wear, remove, and wash your mask!
Do a neighbourhood cleanup
You’ve likely gotten much more familiar with your neighbourhood in the last few months!
Next time you’re out walking, bring a bag and clean up the streets around your house. When you get home you can recycle what you’ve found as needed.
Be sure to avoid touching your face, and always wash your hands when you get home!
Pack a picnic lunch
This summer is a great opportunity to explore your local neighbourhood parks, beaches, and natural spaces until it is safe to vacation further from home.
Pack yourself a low-waste picnic with reusable containers, refillable water bottles, reusable snack bags, and cloth napkins!
We hope this blog has inspired you to look at how you consume while spending time at home and become a bit more green in this pandemic.
We’d love to see and hear how you’ve been staying green during your quarantine! Share with us in the comments or tag us in your photos on social media @yourlifeunpacked.
Ready to go green with your quarantine?