5 eco-friendly things to do during the pandemic for a zero-waste lifestyle
The past two months of lockdown lifestyle has been an eye-opening experience for most of us, allowing us to explore different ways to survive. We’ve picked up on many new habits and, if you look closely, some of your habits hint towards an eco-minded lifestyle. If that prospect excites you, I hope you’ll stay with me till the end of this article.
Eco-minded lifestyle doesn’t mean that you’ll have to change everything in your household. You don’t have to buy a ton of products to maintain that lifestyle; in fact, it’s discouraged to buy a ton of products. You can start by addressing some low hanging fruits to investing some resources for the long-term gains.
These are some ways you can address a zero-waste lifestyle in our ‘new normal’ life.
● Support your community
If you need to buy something, try to do it locally first! This lockdown has had a lot of food go to waste, as supply chains have disrupted. If you can procure food from your local markets, instead of the exported produce, and from ventures that deliver these produce from the struggling farmers to you on your doorstep -- you will not only help these businesses, but contribute to a shorter supply chain with reduced carbon footprints!
Additional tip: Make sure you ask for a no plastic option if you’re buying produce online.
● Declutter your house
Being locked down at home seems like the perfect opportunity to organize the space you live (and currently may also work) in, doesn’t it? This exercise can help you improve your home (and work) environment and well-being. While you review your things at home, also rethink what could have another role or be reused instead of being given away. You may be surprised at how you can save money, time and space by just shifting things around! When you finish your decluttering process, make sure you don’t throw anything away. Store them in an allocated space and reuse or recycle when convenient.
● DIY: Do it yourself
This is something most of us, in some way or the other, have already done or are in the process of doing. An excellent example is the usage of makeup -- there are so many DIY options out there for us that we never previously considered. This also applies to household products, such as vinegar, which has many cleaning uses. This applies to cooking and food waste; did you know you can sprout spring onions by just placing the discarded root in water? Interestingly, my friend went up a notch and hatched baby chicks from chicken eggs!
The easiest way to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle is to check what you have and make new things by avoiding waste and boosting your health and creativity.
One of the easiest ways to implement a zero-waste lifestyle is by reusing things that you already have. If you have any leftover bottles or tubs, use them for storing your home-made toiletries, fragrances or bits and bobs to avoid throwing them out. Buying reusables such as bamboo toothbrushes or reusable cotton pads might seem like a chore, but they pay off in the long run. You don’t even have to buy some things -- ladies, you can use breast pads from old bras as makeup removers!
● Learn and inspire
The only way we can understand more about following a zero-waste lifestyle is by learning new behaviours and unlearning bad habits. The good news is that lockdown is the perfect time to enroll in a course, spend some time researching on this topic, watching a documentary, reading books/magazines on this topic, and finally discussing this with people who might be interested -- maybe even with people who are uncomfortable with change.
“Individual action matters for a number of reasons: It stimulates and supports social action. It is central to honouring our moral duties to respect life. And it can be a force for social change in subtle or unexpectedly powerful ways.
Our individual choices join with others’ choices to disrupt the flow of destructive ways of living. Small acts are a witness, inspiring others and contributing to a momentum of change that can trigger a social change faster than we anticipate. That’s what we need. Soon.” - Mark Hanson, University of Montana
Culturally, Bangladeshis are not wired to make a lot of waste. If you can closely monitor the way your grandparents or parents did things, you can pick up a lot of easy zero waste tactics! Now is the time to double down on doing things that are good for our health, our planet, and our future. You don’t necessarily have to follow the guidelines in this article -- but I do hope they inspire you! Make your very own zero-waste target, and if you’d like to share your zero-waste journey, join the Zero Waste Bangladesh (ZWBD) Facebook group.