The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in its scale of impact on people and the restrictions it has put on everyday life. The way we used to think, perceive and deal with things is not the same anymore. Governments and healthcare systems around the world are doing everything possible to curtail the pandemic, while we gradually try to acclimatise to the situation.
Not surprising then, that consumer behaviour across the country has seen a shift towards greater awareness about minimalism, hygiene, choosing natural (or nature-based) products, preferring packaged foods untouched by human hands (that are safe and have long shelf-life), following adequate health measures and practicing social distancing.
The restrictions over the past weeks have one silver lining – cleaner air, cleaner roads and an overall positive impact on the environment. The circumstances beg the question – Is there an opportunity to make a shift in our environmental habits for good?
Here are a few planet-positive good habits to adopt during the lock-down that you can carry well into the post-lock-down life:
1. Growing your own herbs
If you have unused kitchen items or old utensils, for example: old mugs, take-away food boxes etc. do not throw them away. You can spruce up your space by planting herbs like mint, coriander, parsley, even chilies right on your windowsill.
2. Home composting of kitchen waste
In an ideal world, all kitchens would opt for zero waste cooking. But for now, you can use all the organic kitchen waste to create manure at home. Vegetable and fruit peelings, eggshells and non-greasy waste can be used to make manure by adding some wood ash, sawdust and some garden waste, after mixing them place them into your compost bin. Homemade manure ready to nourish your plants!
3. Choosing recyclable packaging
Food safety and good nutrition is everyone’s primary concern. Packaged foods like milk, juices, purees etc. offer preservative free shelf-stable food, with the promise of safety & hygiene, but it is up to us to choose packaging that has the minimum environmental impact. For example, milk in Tetra Pak cartons – recyclable packaging, and no preservatives; chips and snacks that come in paper-packaging that are biodegradable; home delivered food that comes with compostable cutlery, or no cutlery at all. Choose smart.
4. Waste segregation
If you still don’t segregate your waste, today is the day to start. Segregate into as many different bins as you can. Organic wet waste for composting, dry recyclable waste like milk and juice cartons, paper waste etc. for recycling, and hazardous waste like e-waste, batteries, syringes, personal hygiene products for safe disposal. The more that gets recycled, the less is left for landfills.
5. Making your own shopping bags
Try to avoid using plastic bags. Use planet-positive alternatives. Create your own stylish shopping bag using waste cloth, old T-shirts and even jeans for a quick DIY project.
6. Minimise trips to the market
Even if we weren’t stocking up because of a pandemic, it makes immense sense to stock essentials like milk, pulses, flour, spices, rice, cooking oil, juices, purees etc. to last you at least two months. You won’t be making multiple trips to the market and exposing yourself to possible infections. You’ll also avoid hassle, find great deals and save fuel.