Today, we will share 13 sustainable living tips so you can protect the environment and save money during this pandemic.
As you may already know, the ongoing COVID-19 had devastating effects on people’s health, the planet, and the economy.
For starters, there’s a massive increase in plastic waste from PPEs, bottles from disinfectants, and takeout food packages in our efforts to avoid contracting the virus.
Disposable face masks are also the cause of a variety of horrifying environmental issues.
Meanwhile, millions of people lost their jobs and source of income as businesses were forced to shut down.
But with the sustainable living tips below, we’re confident that you’ll be able to:
- continue protecting yourself and your loved ones from the ongoing pandemic;
- help minimize both plastic and nonplastic waste; and,
- save your hard-earned money.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Switch to Reusable Face Masks
Tons and tons of disposable face masks are discarded worldwide every single day.
Unfortunately, single-use face masks are becoming a new source of marine litter and waste in landfills.
So to avoid killing the planet while protecting yourself from the COVID-19 virus, make the switch to reusable face masks.
Reusable face masks are made with cloth and other sustainable materials like bamboo, organic cotton, and hemp.
As the name suggests, reusable face masks can be washed and re-washed, reducing your daily trash contribution this time of the pandemic.
Reusable face masks can also save you some money.
2. Cook your Meals
Most people who love eating fast food have been at the mercy of DoorDash, GrubHub, and other food delivery services during this time of the pandemic.
While we understand that you want to keep eating the specials from your favorite fast-food chain…
The increase in the use of plastic and disposable food containers is terrible for the planet.
For a more sustainable lifestyle this time of the pandemic, minimize eating takeout food and cook your own meals.
We know we are in no place to tell you what and how you should eat.
However, cooking your meals will minimize trash from food containers and help you save money.
Cooking your own meals is also a good way to stay healthy and watch your diet this time of pandemic.
How cool is that?
3. Don’t Waste Food
Did you know that according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), about ⅓ of the total food produced worldwide goes to waste?
And whether food is wasted intentionally or not, it still translates to wasted money, energy, and other resources used to produce, transport, prepare, and cook the food.
Worse, rotting food in landfills produces methane, one of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.
So here are some smart things to do to avoid wasting food:
- Don’t cook too much food more than you can consume.
- If there are food leftovers after your meal, store them properly so they won’t spoil.
- Before heading out to the grocery, make a shopping list of what you need to avoid buying too much food supply.
And while this tip may come as pretty obvious to you, it is one of our favorite eco-friendly kitchen tips during the pandemic.
4. Switch to Zero Waste Personal Care Products
What are zero waste personal care products, you ask?
They are eco-friendly products that are plastic free, don’t contain toxic chemicals, and have a far less negative impact on the planet.
For example, zero waste shampoo and conditioners have plastic free containers.
Zero waste dental care products feature toothbrushes and dental floss made with biodegradable materials.
Even perfumes, makeups, and body washes come in eco-friendly options as well!
(Check out our comprehensive guide to 150+ zero waste bathroom products)
Having a zero waste personal care routine will allow you to reduce plastic waste and pollution this time of the pandemic.
5. Shop Supplies In Bulk
Whether you’re restocking on food, personal care products, meds, and other supplies, its more sustainable to buy in bulk.
If you live with a family or housemates, ask them if they need anything to add in your shopping list.
This particular sustainable living tip during this pandemic will minimize your trips to grocery stores, reducing the risk of you contracting the virus.
More importantly, shopping in bulk will reduce your carbon emissions, product packaging usage and saves gas (or battery for electric cars).
Don’t forget: Bring and use a reusable shopping bag when picking supplies.
6. Start A Home Garden
Growing your own veggies, spices, crops, and herbs can help minimize your trips to the grocery store for food ingredients and save you some money.
Having a home garden also increases your food security this time of the pandemic.
We don’t know about you, but that’s a massive win-win-win in our book!
And don’t worry if you don’t have a lawn or a backyard.
Like most of us city folks living in crowded apartments, you can still start a home garden using cans, old jars, and plastic bottles.
For example, find plastic soda bottles or empty cans of paint, fill them with soil, and plant seeds in them.
A home garden is an excellent way to produce your own food, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint this time of the pandemic.
So consider starting one.
7. Start Composting (It’s easy)
Having a home compost is an excellent way to minimize the waste you send to landfills during (and even after) the pandemic.
A compost also makes perfect sense if you have a home garden. (see sustainable living tip #6)
Compost can provide you with organic fertilizer from food scraps, fruits, vegetable peels, leaves, wood, paper, eggshells, and other organic wastes.
You can start compost in your backyard.
If you don’t have space in your backyard for a compost pit, you can take your food scraps and compostable waste to a community compost pit. (if you have one)
You can also get a deep container with a lid (or a secure cover) to store your compost waste.
Another alternative will be to ask establishments, grocery stores, restaurants, and your local government if they have programs to take food scraps and waste for composting.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself:
What about non-compostable trash?
8. Reuse, Repair, and Recycle
Before you toss non-compostable home trash in the bin, see if they can be reused, repaired, or recycled.
It’s as simple as that.
The more things you reuse, repair, and recycle, the fewer trash you send to landfills and incinerators.
Also, some of your trash might fetch a few bucks when you bring them to your local junk shop.
Hence, you’re not only helping reduce waste but also making money from trash – literally.
And if you must throw away any trash, make sure to segregate them properly to make it easier for the garbage collectors and recycling facilities.
9. Practice Efficient Electric Usage
This is another sustainability tip that you already know, obviously.
But as a reminder:
- Turn off and unplug any appliances you’re not using (e.g., battery chargers, computer, coffee maker, etc.)
- Clean your fridge and avoid opening it longer than necessary.
- There is no need to use the AC during hot mornings; open your windows to let the cold air in.
- On cold nights, leave your oven open after cooking to warm the air.
- Switch to using LED lights.
- Consider installing solar panels for a renewable energy source.
10. Green your Dishwashing Routine
You’re probably washing dishes more ever since the community lockdown and home quarantine period.
But did you know that you can make your dishwashing routine more eco-friendly and less wasteful?
Here are some of the best dishwashing hacks that protect the planet, conserve water, save electricity, and minimize your expenses.
- Soak the dirty dishes before washing them.
- Switch to eco-friendly dish sponges.
- Use plastic free and eco-friendly dish soaps.
- When washing dishes with hands, use a dishpan.
- Use your dishwasher with a full load.
For more eco-friendly dishwashing tips and hacks, click here.
11. Ever Heard of Eco-Friendly Laundry Routine?
Having an eco-friendly laundry routine can help you save water, electricity, and money every time you do the laundry.
Try these ideas on your next laundry session:
- Wash with cold water when you can.
- Use eco-friendly and plastic free detergents.
- Run your washing machine on full loads.
- Make your laundry detergents (free DIY laundry detergent recipes).
- Air dry your clothes using a clothesline and hangers.
12. Consider Investing in Energy Efficient Appliances
Since you’ll be mainly staying at home during this pandemic, you’ll likely be using electric home appliances more.
More electric appliance usage translates to higher electric bills.
So it only makes sense to invest in energy-efficient home appliances.
For example, it’s good to consider getting an air fryer as it can cook food much faster than convection ovens and does not require gallons of cooking oil.
Another option would be to replace your old appliances like your TV, AC, electric fans, and lights with newer and more energy-efficient models.
Energy-efficient appliances will help you save electricity and money in the long run.
When shopping for a new appliance, the thing to look out for is the product’s ENERGY STAR rating.
ENERGY STAR is a trusted authority in energy-efficient products and practices.
13. Buy High-Quality Sustainable Clothing Brands
The fashion industry is one of the top contributors to global carbon emissions and the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.
And according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 85% of clothing garments thrown away are either dumped in landfills or burned.
So the more clothes you buy and throw away, the more you contribute to the consumption of Earth’s natural resources and pollution.
More expenses as well.
Buy high-quality clothing made with sustainable materials like bamboo, hemp, or organic cotton.
Clothes made using sustainable materials have a far less damaging impact on the environment.
Moreover, high-quality clothing will also last longer, so you’ll buy clothes less often minimizing trash, pollution, and expenses.
Final Thoughts on Living Sustainably During the Pandemic
Protecting yourself and your loved ones from the ongoing pandemic is a must.
And after reading this article, we’re confident that you can beat the COVID-19 virus while protecting mother Earth as well.
You can save lots of money too!
So, how do you plan to start your sustainable living routine this time of the pandemic?
Which of the 13 sustainable living tips above resonates with you the most?