Sustainable Practices for Quarantine
Hey Vegi Fam!
We’re passionate about our planet, and understand that sometimes it can feel daunting to attack climate change on your own. Especially in quarantine, when disposable masks and plastic gloves can actually keep you safer, there can be a lot of guilt around waste. We know you don’t necessarily have the time to make your own cosmetics (although if you do, kudos to you!). And, since we’re all still home, energy saving tips about lowering household energy when we’re not there doesn’t exactly apply. However, there are still TONS of ways you can do your part to help our planet in quarantine! Here are some practical ways you could be more sustainable everyday.
Eat less animal products (or none at all ;): The meat and dairy industry is linked to high carbon emissions and the high consumption of water and other natural resources. In fact, eating meat is so wasteful that many scientists believe the only way to feed the growing population is by significantly reducing the amount of meat consumed on an individual level (think-- cutting down your current consumption by half or more!). By cutting back on meat and dairy, you’re doing your part to cut back on these harmful environmental practices. If you’re not super convinced of this, watch Cowspiracy and you’ll see what we mean :)
Ditch single-use products: Whether it’s razors or plastic baggies, or even tampons/pads (if you’re a menstruating human too), there’s an abundance of disposable plastic products that get tossed after just one use. Switch to a long-term solution that probably isn’t any less convenient than what you’re currently buying. For menstrual products, check out THINX period panties (which you can get for $10 off when you enter your email with that link!). Instead of plastic bags for food storage, think about switching to reusable containers or reusable baggies. Reducing the amount we consume is the first “R” in “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” And with the products available today, you don’t have to sacrifice convenience for it!
Know where your food comes from: A great way to eat sustainably is by ensuring the food you consume is locally produced or fair trade. Local food will sometimes be marked at the store, but you also could go to your farmer’s market to get local produce. On other pantry staples like coffee, tea, and sugar, a fair-trade or food-alliance certification means that the product was produced sustainably. Simply being aware of where your food comes from is an easy way to incorporate more environmentalism into your life.
Don’t be fooled by fast fashion: The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world! When clothing is thrown away, it releases toxic pollutants into the air. Clothing fibers and dyes also pollute waterways, making it even more difficult to provide clean drinking water to underserved communities all over the world. To counter fast fashion, consider thrifting your next outfit! Even if you don’t feel comfortable going to a thrift store in the age of coronavirus, sites like Poshmark, Thredup, Vinted, and Etsy have tons of used clothes that are super cute and sustainable--just make sure you throw them in the wash before wearing them, especially now that covid is a thing. And, if you do decide it’s time to invest in something new, be sure to buy clothing that will last. It’s much better to pay a slightly higher price for a quality piece than to buy something cheap that will fall apart after one was (looking at you, Forever 21). We’re partnered with Vegetaryn, the perfect spot to get sustainable, ethically-made loungewear (because who doesn’t need a new comfy lounge outfit for quarantine, amirite?).
Start composting: If you're like us, you're eating at home more and producing more food scraps. Did you know those scraps can be composted and then reintegrated into you soil as fertilizer?! Composting is super easy, and you can find composting bins in all sizes and price ranges. More than 28% of our food waste ends up in landfills, and that releases harmful methane into the atmosphere. When you compost, you reduce the amount of waste and give the food waste a new life in your garden. The EPA has a helpful how-to guide on exactly what can be composted and how to get started here.
Try eating produce that is in-season: If you ditched animal products and want to level up your earth-saving street cred even MORE...eating in-season can also help cut down your carbon footprint. Not only will the food taste better, but it’s likely that it hasn’t traveled long distances AND it will probably be cheaper too! .
Utilize your library: Especially in quarantine, we’ve been craving books to read and movies to watch. And sometimes, even Netflix and Hulu don’t have that exact title we’re looking for. Instead of purchasing the movie or book, though, use your library! Not only are you supporting an essential service in your community, you’re reducing waste and saving money. Plus, many libraries offer services like audiobooks and ebooks, which give you different mediums for accessing the entertainment we all need right now. And, if you just HAVE to buy a certain book, try to purchase from a black-owned bookstore instead of automatically turning to Amazon.
Hold your brands accountable: We all have loyalty to certain brands, and in the age of social media, it’s easier than ever to create movements that hold brands accountable. Upon studies coming out showing that just 100 companies were responsible for 71% of global emissions, many brands, including Ikea and Google, committed to implementing sustainable energy practices. If you have a brand you’re loyal to, whether it’s a car, handbag, or even coffee, check on what their environmental policies are. If they’re silent or their response seems inauthentic to you, you might consider switching your loyalty to a competitor.
VOTE: The best way to see sustainability initiatives enacted is through policy, and it’s important to vote in ways that align with your beliefs. Before voting for a candidate, you should already be researching theirr stances on the issues, and that should include their views on climate change and what they’ll do to combat it. If you’re truly passionate about getting the good news out about climate change, consider donating to the Environmental Voter Project, a nonprofit that helps eligible voters that already care about the environment register to vote.
What sustainability practices do you incorporate into your daily life? Drop a comment below to let us know!