Shelter-In-Place (Sustainably)

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I hope that you are all staying healthy and safe during this time of social distancing. The spread of infectious diseases is expected to increase while climate change impacts continue to intensify and habitation destruction continues to grow. This being so, we must continue promote sustainability even during this time of shelter-in-place. I was happy to discover that some of my sustainable household items are actually very beneficial to have during this shelter-in-place. The great thing about having so many reusable items is that you can reuse them! This helps to eliminate trips to the stores, reducing your chance of exposure.
I hope that you find these sustainability suggestions helpful and don’t forget to reach out if you have any sustainability questions. In the mean time, be well and happy Earth Month!

Cleaning

When you’re shopping for cleaning products, remember that they don’t need harsh chemicals in order to be effective. We are all cleaning our homes a little more than normal and it’s important to not expose ourselves to potentially harmful chemicals.

  • This year I began using reusable paper towels and I love them. They look and feel like regular paper towels, except they are so much more durable. Storing one roll of reusable paper towels is so much easier than storing an entire box full! I pair my reusable paper towels with Method antibacterial all-purpose cleaner instead of using disposable disinfectant wipes. Method is my go-to company for cleaning supplies.
  • I also use reusable cleaning cloths from Three Bluebirds and Thieves Household Cleaner when cleaning my bathroom and kitchen. These cleaning clothes are biodegradable and can replace up to 17 rolls of paper towels. While the bottle of Thieves can appear to be expensive, it lasts a long time since each batch of solution only requires a cap full of Thieves and a few cups of water.
  • Package Free Shop also has a DIY Reusable Clean Wipes recipe. I haven’t tried them out yet, but if you do, let me know how you like them please!

Take-Out

It’s important for us to continue to support our local businesses, such as restaurants. One of the downsides about ordering take-out is single-use plastics. If you do decide to order take-out and want to reduce your waste generation, consider ordering from a restaurant that uses compostable paper take-out containers. Don’t forget that pizza boxes are compostable!

In addition, to reduce your exposure to germs, I recommend transferring the food onto a plate and heating up your food to help rid of any germs. If you chose to microwave your food, be sure to use a glass or ceramic dish. Microwaving plastic can cause chemicals to leach into your food.

Face Mask

To help reduce the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends that we wear cloth face coverings when going out. Masks are scarce and we need to make sure that medical facilities have the personal protective equipment to ensure that they stay healthy while taking care of ill patients. Check out these reusable DIY cloth face masks that you can make at home. Be sure to wash the mask between uses!


Energy

Since we’re spending more time at home than usual, you will likely see an increase in your energy bill. Here are a few ways that you can help reduce your energy usage:
  • Take advantage of natural light during the day. Create a workspace that has good natural lighting so that you don’t have to rely on artificial light while you work. The sunshine will help to boost your mood and studies show that natural light increases productivity.
  • Don’t over-charge your electronics. Only charge your laptop and phone when you need to. Charging your laptop all day uses excess energy, decreases your overall battery capacity overtime and may lead to overheating.
  • Unplug at night. Energy rates change throughout the day and rates are usually most expensive during evening hours since the demand for energy is high. Rather than spending your evenings watching tv, try to take a break from electronics and spend some time relaxing to recharge for the next day. Take some time for yourself by reading a book or spend quality time with whoever else you live with by playing card/board games. When it’s time for bed, make sure to unplug your laptop and phone!
  • Use smart power strips. Even when electronics are off, such as television, they still use energy. Smart power strips are able to detect when a device is in standby mode and cut power to avoid unnecessary energy use.

Personal Care Products

  • Reusable cotton rounds and make-up removing cloths, such as The MakeUp Eraser are a must!
  • Bar products are a lot easier to store than bottles since they take up less space. They have everything from shampoos to moisturizers in bar form. They also help to eliminate plastic waste!
  • Did you know that there are even reusable Q-tips? I have one from Package Free Shop that I use to apply calcium paste for my teeth every day! Package Free Shop has two different types: a soft beauty swab that you can use to get make-up off or a reusable ear swab.
  • Diva cups, period panties and reusable pads are always great to have on hand in case of an emergency.

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