The circumstances of our summer are certainly unprecedented. It may feel like an odd time to consider your waste, but we disagree. We’ve been given an opportunity to see what we can do without many luxuries we take for granted. Now is the perfect time to prioritize, think local, and shop smart.
Prioritize: Above all, no one person is going to be able to commit toeverysustainable ideal. It’s about picking one or a few things you can do that are—you guessed it—sustainable for you and you only. Don’t have time to cook for yourself and have to use take out containers? Don’t take out from restaurants that use styrofoam. Reuse takeout containers for leftovers, as planters, and to help organize small items around the house. Have to drive to work no matter what? Try to only walk or bike on your days off, if your location allows.
Other ideas: start a small garden to avoid buying herbs in plastic containers. Store food correctly to keep it fresher to eliminate food waste. Start composting. Host a socially distant clothing swap with friends to freshen up your wardrobe, or sell old clothes on Poshmark or Facebook Marketplace.
Think Local: There’s never been a better time to explore and get to know your home base and its surrounding areas. Undoubtedly, your footprint will look much smaller given the current recommendations for less travel and social distancing, if your lifestyle allows. Make a checklist of places you want to explore. If you can walk or bike, even better. If you do travel, shoot for road trips, not flights.
Think about the footprint of whatever you purchase, not just your own. Aim to support local businesses, like picking up produce at a nearby farm if your income allows. You may need to do a bit of research to find out if something is actually produced wholly near you.
Shop Smart: We know that you can’t purchase everything locally, and that’s where shopping smart comes in. Don’t feel overcome with guilt if you “mess up” or find yourself shopping for “unnecessary” items. It has been a difficult few months, after all. Just remember to shop smart. Support businesses that have transparent and ethical business practices, pay fair wages, and believe that Black Lives Matter. You vote with your dollar every time you make a purchase, so spend wisely.
Reduce Waste: When you make a trip to the market, do you consider packaging along with price and nutrition? Think about purchasing items that are not in single-use plastic. Bring bags or containers and shop the bulk bins. Compost your food scraps rather than pitching them in the bin. You can even reduce waste the way that you wash. You can read more about how toreduce waste in washing once you buy a Karukinka garment.