Easy Eco-Friendly Changes To Start During Stay-at-Home Orders
By Elizabeth Weiss
We are conditioned to consume and to waste, but when supplies are limited and we’re all being asked to sacrifice and make do with less, it’s time to learn how to live a little differently.
Adopting even the smallest eco-friendly measures can minimize your stress and give you greater peace of mind about protecting your family, your home, and your planet. And what better time than now, when many people have some extra time on their hands, thanks to stay-at-home orders.
1. Use Rags Instead of Paper Towels
Paper towels are a must-have for many people, and they’re in short supply in the COVID-19 climate. But most of the jobs you do with a paper towel – from drying produce to cleaning countertops – you can do with a washable, reusable rag.
Short on rags? By now you probably have a few rag-worthy items in your closet thanks to the same leggings or tees you’ve been wearing repeatedly for weeks while sequestering at home. Or, invest in a set of paperless paper towels or bamboo dishcloths to get the job done.
When it’s time to disinfect, grab your rag and a spray bottle of your favorite surface cleaner, like CleanWell’s botanical disinfecting spray, recently added to the EPA’s List N of disinfectants for use against COVID-19 (so it might be out of stock at many retailers), or VEO’s active-probiotics apple and jasmine surface cleaner.
AN OLD T-SHIRT YOU NO LONGER WEAR MAKES A GREAT CLEANING RAG. PHOTO BY GANTAS VAIČIULĖNAS FROM PEXELS
Using rags regularly means your laundry efforts will need to ramp up.
Consider a nontoxic laundry detergent like Defunkify. Accompany the load in the dryer with environmentally friendly, reusable wool dryer balls like those from Jack & Mary Designs instead of dryer sheets. The goal is always to eliminate disposable paper products where an eco-friendly alternative would work just as well or better.
2. Eliminate Food Waste
Maybe the toilet paper supply chain hasn’t fully recovered quite yet, but the U.S. food supply chain is strong. Many grocery stores are almost back to normal stock levels, so you don’t have to panic shop to get your bread and produce – or buy food that you would never normally eat just to feel better about having something in the house (we’ve all done it).
Try to buy only the perishable items that your household can eat between this shopping trip and the next. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to create needless food waste. This is an easy habit to adopt, and one that requires you to be more thoughtful about your meal planning and snacks. And it’s still OK to take your reusable shopping bags with you to the store — just wash them in between each visit to prevent the spread of germs.