10 Tips to Be Green in Quarantine
Things are pretty bleak right now. We’re trapped at home, unable to see our friends and family for everyone‘s safety, and worried about the future. One things giving me a little ray of hope is seeing photos of skies cleared of smog, wildlife returning to places once ruled by people, and social media posts asking if we can change “normal” to be more environmentally friendly.
While were asking these questions, it might be a good time to re-evaluate our own version of normal to see how we can be a bit greener as well.
#1 Repurpose Your Junk
With all this extra time indoors, decluttering is inevitable! Rather than short things into keep or trash, try to find a new way to use the things that no longer bring you joy.
Turn clothes you won’t wear again into face masks, dog toys, or yarn since most donation bins are full at the moment. Use your chipped mugs and old tupperware as pots for new plants and boxes into a new organization system for your closet. If you have a lot of old papers, see if you can get creative and make a collage or some paper mâché.
Here's a video on how to make your own yarn out of jeans for inspiration: https://www.woolandthegang.com/how-to/crochet/how-to-make-yarn-from-your-old-jeans
#2 Rehome Your Old Things
If you have clothes too nice to turn to scraps or items you can’t imagine repurposing, try to give them a new life just the way they are.
Try having a virtual clothes swap with your friends and leaving their favorites in their mailboxes. It refreshes your wardrobe without spending a dime!
For non-clothing items, try using an app like offer up or a website like EBay to sell your things or give them away for free to whoever is willing to pick them up. You can mail things or leave them on your doorstep for a contactless pick-up.
#3 Eat Less Meat
This one might be decided for you as meat runs out of stores or the prices go way up, but cutting down on your meat consumption has a huge impact on the planet. Agriculture is one of the top polluting industries, from nitrogen-based fertilizer washing into the waterways and creating dead zones in places like the Gulf of Mexico to methane emissions from livestock like cows contributing to climate change to farming practices that keep animals unnaturally close together, causing them to become sick, and leading to the over prescription of antibiotics that cause anti-biotic resistance that put our health in danger, there are a lot of reasons to stop eating meat all together. But being a vegetarian is hard! There are health concerns about missing nutrients in your diet and it can be hard to to turn down you old favorites for a meatless alternative. So take a baby step and just cut meat out of your diet one more day a week to save the planet and your wallet!
#4 Buy Less
Being trapped in your house might be dramatically changing your bank account. No more lunches or coffees siphoning funds away from your savings, no more window shopping that turns into impulse buying, and if you're working from home, you're saving money by not having to commute. On the other hand, if you lost your job due to the outbreak, that savings won't make up for your lost income.
Take this time away from temptation or out of necessity to re-evaluate your spending habits. If you find you buy new clothes every month or a trendy new gadget whenever they come out, this could be a good time to see how you do without those. Figure out what drives you to buy these products, maybe it is a deep desire to stay current or weekly ads in your inbox promising to save you money, and find away to stop falling for the same routine. You might need to unsubscribe from some stores or take some time to journal about your feelings, but developing a "waste not, want not" mentality will help you and your finances, while also stopping our unsustainable consumerism.
#5 Regrow Your Veggies
I recently learned you can take a head of lettuce, cut of everything your want for your salad, then put the bottom in water for a few days, and voila, more lettuce! This works for chives, scallions, and celery too. All you need is a sunny window and a container for your little vegetable farm.
#6 Start A True Garden
If you have the space, consider growing more plants you can eat! If you have an apartment balcony, you can grow your own tomatoes, little citrus trees, or fresh herbs. If you have more space, you can grow peas, carrots, and cucumbers. The possibilities are endless for planting your favorite veggies and they will taste better coming from your garden than anywhere else.
#7 Rethink Your Cleaning Products
While you're in the middle of your spring cleaning spree, you might be wishing you had another pack of Clorox wipes or Lysol sprays. Not only are these items hard to find, they're also not great for the environment. While killing 99.9% of germs is essential to keep us safe and virus-free, you may not need to use such harsh products all the time. When dusting or cleaning surfaces that shouldn't have corona on them, consider using a DYI cleaning product.
Here are a few links to help you get started:
#8 Try A Natural Beauty Product
Take advantage of all this time indoors by trying a new natural deodorant or shampoo bar. If it doesn't work out and you hate how your hair looks or you find you're really smelly by the end of the day, no one will notice but you. It's very low risk and high reward. If you find a plastic- or paraben-free option you like, you can keep using it after quarantine to continue to improve your health and the planet's.
#9 Try an Energy-Free Activity
Netflix and browsing the web can only entertain you for so long. Eventually, you're going to get bored and need something new to do. Why not make that a non-electronic activity like a puzzle, reading, or starting a new hobby? This could be the perfect time to teach yourself how to sew, to learn to cook, or to finally touch your toes. A break from screens will save some energy and your eyes!
#10 Ditch Fossil-Fuel Powered Transportation
With everything grinding to a halt around us, there seems to be an endless amount of time in the day and every day seems like a tedious continuation of the day before. Before you might have asked what day is it, but now, we're asking what month? Take advantage of this extra time by walking or biking instead of driving, if possible. Sure it will take a lot more time to get places, but what else do you have to do?
Hopefully these tips give you something to do in quarantine. I hope you stay safe and healthy!