10 Eco-Friendly Things to Try in Isolation
Personally my waste game has hit a bit of a snag in the last couple of weeks, with the unavailability of some items in the supermarkets and being told to have 2 weeks of food on hand, I’ve reached for items I wouldn’t usually reach for. Small businesses that I would usually shop at have closed and keep cups and bread bags are not being accepted anymore. I haven’t been hard on myself for these kinds of things, as I know it’s just for a short period of time and I know that with everyone going into lock down, the environment is able to take a breath from the human interference it usually cops.
However with the extra time I’ve got at home I’m finding I’m able to get back into good habits; using up all the foods I’ve frozen in a past life and baking when I’m feeling snacky. I realised that this may be the perfect time for others to try out new things and make some new habits. I’ve put together a list of 10 things you may want to try while in isolation, if you’ve got what you need on hand.
I’ll try to keep it brief and let you do your own research for recipes and instructions but definitely get in touch if you have any questions.
- Make your own plant milk
If you’ve got the ingredients on hand this may save you a trip to the shops in a time when we need to stay home as much as possible. Whether you already drink plant-based milk or you’re a regular cows milk drinker, this is a great time to try out a few recipes. Oats make for the cheapest plant-based milk but my favourite is cashew milk as I find it the easiest to make. Almonds and soybeans will also hook you up with the goods. No mesh bag for straining? Use a tea towel.
- Try an alternative deodorant
I know many people are concerned about switching to a natural deodorant because of the risk it “won’t work”. I feel so passionately about using a natural deodorant instead of a toxic antiperspirant that doesn’t allow you to sweat and rid yourself of that which does not serve you. I find that natural deodorants can be hit and miss and I confess to going back and forth between natural and antiperspirant years ago before I found ones that worked for me.
What could be a better time to try out a natural deodorant than when you’re working from home?
- Learn to make bread
Another idea that will save a trip to the shops, save money and save on the packaging as many places won’t use your reusable bread bags at the moment. This is certainly on my list of things to try but I’m also feeling like this might be a handball to the hubby as he is much better at baking than I!
- Plant things
Depending on what you have available to you, this is the perfect time to get your winter crop in the ground. There were no seedlings at my local nursery a couple of weeks ago so I will be planting from seeds for the first time. If you don’t have access to seedlings/seeds, do a quick search on what food scraps you can plant to regrow; think onions, lettuce, celery, spring onion, leek, rosemary, mint and basil.
- Cook in bulk
If you’re anything like me, it’s so tempting to reach for a takeaway menu, a microwave meal or an easy-over-packaged-10min-meal after a long day at work followed by afternoon errands and sport/training. Having meals on hand is my perfect solution to this. I’m thinking nourishing soups and stews to get stuck into my grains and lentil supplies from the bulk food store and I’ll freeze them in single serve size jars for those busier times to come. Cooking like this not only takes away the temptation to buy rubbish food but it also uses less energy cooking 8 meals in one go rather than cooking just 2 meals.
- Overhaul your toxin cupboard (cleaning products)
Of course, lots of people are using this time to deep clean and spring clean all areas of their houses. There are so many horrific chemicals in commercial cleaning products when you probably have safe and eco alternatives in your pantry already. Think citrus fruits, bi carb soda, vinegar and salt. These items are my basic cleaning supplies and using these significantly reduces the amount of toxic chemicals I come into contact with in my own home. Why not use self-isolation to try out a few DIY cleaning recipes?
- Repair clothes (and things) that may get a second life
This could possibly be just me but there’s a small pile of clothes in my wardrobe that I love too much to throw away but are no good for charity shops. I'm talking torn jeans, worn socks and minor stains. I’ve kept them with the intention of repairing them and I’m going to use self-isolation time to give them a new life and keep them away from landfill (or my compost bin) for a little longer.
- Open your windows
It is so important to let the fresh air in every day and stale air out of the home, especially in a time when we are spending much longer inside our homes than we usually would. The first thing we do when we get up is open all the windows, no matter what the outside weather is.
It’s also worth considering the products in your home that may be off-gassing, from furniture, to carpet, clothes, air fresheners and household goods (another great reason to buy second hand products). Airing out your home allows these gasses to escape and not linger within your home, potentially causing health problems.
- Try reusable sanitary items
I can’t tell the future but if you’re a menstruating human my best guess says you’ll likely have at least one period in isolation. In the safety of your own home, is there a better time to trial some new reusable menstrual products?
- Start composting
You don’t necessarily have to leave the house to make this one happen. My sister started composting in her new home by making an old fashion compost pile in the backyard until she had the time to set up her worm farm properly. Do a bit of research into the various composting options available and your short term solution might be as simple as digging a hole in the backyard until you can second hand search for an alternative.
What other ideas have you got to be eco-friendly during isolation?