There’s nothing more permanent than a temporary solution, the old Russian proverb says. While we were thinking of social distancing and self-isolation as something temporary, Corona is here to stay for much longer. And although it has severely affected the way we live and move in 2020, we can still take charge of how we adapt while staying true to our values.
After the initial setback for the zero waste movement – when coffee shops and restaurants only offered single-use cups and cutleries and beaches got filled up with facial masks – we have somewhat learned how to be low waste and cautious at the same time. From supporting local businesses and becoming DIY masters to spending more time in nature when possible, many of us have discovered new talents and passions. Now, with more severe restrictions that will likely last until the end of 2020, we are forced to go the extra mile in our daily choices.
Below, we share some ideas that you could implement today.
1. Plan ahead & Use What You Have
To avoid frequent shopping for food and household items, it’s better to plan in advance. Make a list of everything you need and check if you already have it. Sometimes you can even spend a week on your stashed supplies without buying anything. It could become a great new habit to develop your strategic planning skills and reduce excessive packaging while shopping compulsively. Shopping once or twice per week will also save your time and be more self-sufficient.
2. Unlock your inner Masterchef
With restaurants and cafes being closed, we have now an excellent opportunity to cook more at home. Start small or get a Zero Waste Vegan Meal Plan and eBook – it will save you time and help avoid more packaging & food waste from takeouts. Once you feel more confident you can upgrade to fermenting your food and baking bread! Extra tip: start composting if you haven’t yet and save another 40% of household waste from going to the landfills.
3. Get Reusable Mask and Gloves
Wearing a mask in public is not a question anymore. It’s a law, at least here in Hong Kong. It doesn’t have to be disposable at all – you can get a reusable cloth mask pretty much everywhere in the city or make your own. It certainly became a new fashion trend and even bigger brands jumped on it. While reusable mask is great for the environment make sure you also sanitize it properly every time you remove it.
For the gloves, the most zero waste option we found is biodegradable nitrile gloves. According to one of the leading suppliers, they biodegrade completely within 5 years (and 20% within the first 6 months). Hong Kong has only one supplier but currently doesn’t provide this product.
4. Make Your Own Wet Wipes
While DIY hand sanitizer could be a tricky task, making your own wet wipes is much easier – and can be also helpful with household chores. You only need 3 ingredients: vinegar, water, and a bit of essential oil of your choice. Mix them up in a jar, shake it and it’s ready to be used many times!
5. Switch to Reusable Alternatives
When we had the very first shortage of toilet paper in Hong Kong back in February, a very close friend of mine offered to send me female hygiene products as she anticipated a similar destiny for them. When I told her about the menstrual cups she was very surprised and gave them a try. Apart from the obvious health and environmental benefits for reusable hygiene products, now we have a Corona Special: you are exempt from any future shortages.
6. Bulk Shopping All The Way
Don’t forget that you can get most grocery products in bulk – shops like LiveZero, Edgar, and Slowood take extra safety measures inside their stores. Bulk shops are not only a great choice to buy non-perishable products in larger quantities but also to support local businesses that are struggling this year.
Lead image courtesy of Freepik.