Kicking Quarantine Blues by Saving the Planet
After months of sheltering in place, I, like many others, have been feeling the quarantine blues. As of July 2020, in California we have been on a mandated shelter in place order since March of this year-- and we will most likely not come out of it until 2021.
Like most others, my life routine has done a 180. I began working from home early March. I have been in and out of my office since, but mainly I've been at my - very crowded - home. I want to throw in that I'm very, very grateful that this has been only one of my few worries. Being home with a handful of other adults has opened my eyes to how much trash and waste we produce on a daily basis. Not to mention, I've thought a lot about how much waste humans are producing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I see so many one-use masks, gloves, cleaning wipes, paper towels, etc. piled in garbage cans all around the city.
In a way to keep myself busy and give myself a purpose while feeling like I'm doing a small part of helping the problem. These are some great ways to get out of the quarantine funk and get you back into a rhythm that you may have lost. Here are a few tips I've adopted / some that I strive to adopt:
1) Ditch the paper towels and one-use cleaning wipes if possible!
Sorry Brawny, but you take up a lot of garbage space. I was using paper towels more than ever because of the need to frequently disinfect surfaces. I alarmed myself at how quick I could fill up a garbage can with papertowels I used once to wipe off a table. Instead of paper towels, use rags! If you have tattered clothes you don't wear anymore, you can cut those up into washable and reusable rags. Plus, you'll save money not buying rolls of paper towels.
*Tip - Keep a "dirty" rag bin in your kitchen or wherever you use papertowels the most and throw the rags in with your laundry for the week.
2) Ditch plastic water bottles
This is a no-brainer, but to be honest, I was a water bottle fiend at home. I drink a ton of water a day and while I'm physically at work, I bring in my HydroFlask and use the water filter in the office all day so I wasn't going through a ton of water bottles at home. As I've been quarantined at home with 3 other adults who also relied on their work's water filter, it was astonishing at how fast we could go through a pack of waters. I've since bought a Brita filter and have challenged myself to only use my HydroFlask - so far so good! It was pure laziness on my part to not bite the bullet and make an investment in a Brita filter, but in the long run, it will also save you money on buying plastic water bottles frequently.
3) Ditch the plastic wrap
Okay I've never been a fan of this, but my family goes a little too crazy with the saran-wrap to store food and I admittedly never did anything to stop it. On my journey to become less wasteful, I purchased these reusable silicone food covers from Amazon. They're only $9.95 and can be easily washed! They're super stretchy and I love them. Once again, you'll also save money in the long run from buying plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
I challenged myself to learn how to compost because of all the reasons I listed above and because I felt like I needed to be doing something else to give me a purpose while being a lump at home. I watched a ton of Youtube videos and learned how to compost with worms. Not only does it help eliminate food waste, but it also gives me fertilizer to use on plants! Bonus, the compost bin requires frequently added shredded paper which has been a great way to get rid of the giant stack of paper that has been existing for years waiting to be shredded.
Composting definitely gives you a purpose and makes you responsible of being in charge of a tiny ecosystem if your life routine has been thrown off by quarantine. Building the compost bins are also a fun project to keep you occupied. I won't go into to much detail, I can create a separate blog on composting if requested, but once again, this was fairly inexpensive. I used an old storage container I already had, drilled holes in it, purchased some soil, and purchased some special worms from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm and we were good to go.
5) Spend a day outdoors cleaning up
In my area, we are still on pretty heavy quarantine and there aren't many places to go. Actually... there's really no where to go. Being cooped up inside is probably the worst thing you can do for your mental health. If you live within driving distance to a beach, lake, river, forest, etc. make a day trip out of spending some time outdoors while picking up litter!
6) Save your plastic & build Ecobricks
I just found out about this via another account on Instagram today and I'm so excited to try it! Essentially, an Ecobrick is a PET bottle packed with clean used plastic. "Ecobricks are made to a set density to create reusable building blocks." I obviously haven't tried it yet, but this looks like a great thing to do and a great way to get involved with your community as well. By scrolling through the website, it looks like there are plenty of locations around the globe that allow you to drop off your eco-bricks. For example, I've found a drop off site about an hour from where I live. Check out their website that has an abundant amount of informattion: ecobricks.org/
7) Make cloth masks for your friends and family
I most certainly do not have a set of sewing skills, but if you do -- whip out your supplies and make some home-made masks! At the beginning of quarantine, I was using a lot of one-use masks due to not being able to make my own and there wasn't really a market of people selling home-made cloth masks yet. Making home made masks to either sell or give away immensely help people like me who suck at sewing! Seriously, if people weren't making them, I would be tying a dish towel around my face.
I bought a pack of mystery Disney masks from a seller on Etsy!
(I've actually never watched Cars lol)
Whatever you may choose to do, it is important to keep your mind and body moving while we continue to shelter in place. Get outdoors, take more walks, learn a new skill, etc. I hope one of these resonated with you, and as a very amateur planet-saver, please let me know if you have any tips!