How to be environmentally friendly while in quarantine


Hannah Nguyen

With Earth Day around the corner, try out these green tips to ensure that you’re doing your part in saving the environment.

Achieving sustainability can be difficult especially in a time like this. However, it can still be done. If we put less pressure on trying to be perfect and put our best effort in doing what we can accomplish, we can still do our part in helping the environment. Here are 10 simple ways to be sustainable while self-isolating:

1. Buy only the essentials 

Buying the essentials not only ensures that other people can also supply for their families, but it also prevents you from creating unnecessary waste. If you’re stuck in the mindset of buying everything you see because it’s there now and probably won’t be later, it will only have you end up wasting food that could’ve helped someone else’s family who needed it more.

2. Use reusable bags when grocery shopping

You can still be safe using a reusable because you can wash it after. Since you’re already shopping less often, you wouldn’t have to worry about constantly cleaning the bags because it would just be done every time you go shopping.

3. Pick up animal droppings

In general, you should always pick up your dog’s poop. It’s safer for other dogs and it pollutes local waterways. It’s also extremely rude to leave your dog’s poop on someone’s front lawn. While you’re at it, use compostable bags or make your own with newspaper. They break down much faster than plastic.

4. Recycle plastics, metals, glass, and cardboard

Unfortunately, many people are choosing to buy more than they need because of COVID-19. If that’s the case for you, be sure that you are still recycling all that you can and making sure that the items are clean with no food residue beforehand. Recycling facilities do not take contaminated items because it prevents the items from efficiently breaking down and turning it into something else. If you can’t seem to figure out if something is recyclable, check the label and your recycling program’s website to make sure they will take it. If you’re still unsure, toss it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Glass or even plastic jars can also be reused into something useful like holding pencils or pens. Consider reusing items before deciding to recycle them.

5. Compost or regrow your veggies

Any food scraps can be put into a compost bin. You don’t have to purchase a special bin to store your indoor compost because you can use old Tupperware. You can also consider regrowing leftover veggies which can save money or be a fun experiment to see if you can successfully do it.

6. Pick up trash when you can

It might be hard to find the heart to pick up someone else’s trash on the streets because you’re scared of getting infected, but there are ways where you can safely do it just by wearing gloves or using old plastic or paper bags. Also, try to fight the urge to toss your used gloves or any trash outside in parking lots. Putting them in a bag to be thrown in a trash bin can still be safe. There are no excuses when it comes to picking up trash off the ground.

7. Reduce your water usage

You can reduce your water usage just by spending less time in the shower, not leaving the water running while washing your hands or brushing your teeth, and washing your clothes less often and only when you need to.

8. Turn off the lights when you’re not using them

We’ve been told to do this all our lives, but some people need a reminder. If you can leave the lights off more often and take in some natural sunlight, you can save more energy. It’s an easy tip that doesn’t require any effort.

9. Try Meatless Mondays

If you’re struggling to fully commit to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can still lower your meat consumption by not eating meat once a week. It doesn’t have to be on a Monday, but as long as you are trying to reduce it, you’re still doing your part.

10. If you’re purchasing things off of Amazon, adjust your packaging preferences

Contact Amazon Customer Service ([email protected]) and ask them to make a note in your account to avoid plastic packaging or extra packaging if possible.

Whether we’re in quarantine or not, trying out these simple tips can make your life more sustainable than it used to be. While it may seem difficult to focus on being environmentally conscious, my best tip is to lower your expectations and work towards dealing with what’s easiest for you.