Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Today, the U.K. are entering our second National Lockdown. The impacts of COVID-19 have been devastating to people, society, business and public health; but challenging times like these, only highlight the need for us to care for each other and our world more than ever.
Here are our 5 tips for lowering your impact on the environment during Lockdown and beyond...
1. Shop Sustainably: At the start of the pandemic we had people panic-buying loo roll, queues for supermarkets were a mile long and flour, pasta and rice were like gold dust.
Do your part with shorter, less frequent trips for groceries or move towards doing a big-shop once a week instead; this should help you to plan ahead and potentially cut down on your household waste by ensuring you are only buying what you need and not letting anything spoil. Don't forget many perishable goods like fruits and veggies can be frozen.
Try making a list and preparing recipes before heading out. Focus on healthier products that are locally sourced or why not try your nearest zero-waste/refillable stores. Finally don't forget to pack everything into plastic-free reusable bags. By shopping sustainably, you can help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. Check out the Forever and Green store for some simple sustainable swaps.
2. Opt for reusable masks; or make your own: As the pandemic progressed, PPE became scarce and with stocks low, some took advantage by hiking up their prices. Over time, masks have become more of a fashion statement.
For these reasons, many are now opting for reusable, washable masks in a variety of colours and designs rather than the throw-away plastic ones. As protective face coverings are a must this time around, why not try a three-ply cloth mask.
Feel free to support your local seamstress or why not try making your own mask at home with some recycled fabric and these easy-to-follow steps from the Government.
3. Reusable containers are officially safe; take them with you: Prior to the first lockdown, many stores immediately enforced a ban on reusable cups and containers. With little known at the time on how the virus was spread or the safety of reusable cups; containing the virus was seen as a "greater priority" than environmental issues. However, in late June, more than 100 scientists published a signed statement¹ to reassure the public that reusable containers were perfectly safe to use during the pandemic and have since been accepted again by participating shops and cafés
“As our old lives resume we must make time and space to protect and nurture healthier environments to ensure a healthier future for all,”
~ Dr Jennifer Cole, of Royal Holloway University,
4. Give reusable hygiene products a go: Social distancing/self-isolating could be the perfect time to try out those more intimidating zero-waste swaps. Use the comfort of your own home to familiarise with those reusable panty liners, nappies or menstrual products that might take some getting used to.
If you're nervous about cutting yourself with a safety razor or wanting to trial a new deodorant, being confined to the house is an ideal time to give it a go and see what works for you. Apart from having many environmental benefits, reusable hygiene products can lend to huge cost savings in the long run.
5. Support your local community, by taking care of yourself and others.
Local businesses are essential to our communities; most are based on short supply chains with reduced carbon footprints making them far more sustainable. With businesses forced to close, they are bound to suffer financially and generally will not have access to the sums needed to sustain themselves over lengthier periods. If you need to buy something, try to think local first.
As well as supporting your wider community, we must remember to take care of ourselves. Social distance might mean physical restrictions from loved ones but that doesn't mean you need to disconnect entirely. Check-in with neighbours, friends and family; especially those that are living alone. Try to stay positive and be kind.
If you're struggling with your mental health, we've included links to a number of resources from mental health charities that might help. The Pandemic and a Lockdown can be particularly wearing on our mental health. Don't be afraid to seek help.
Finally, stay safe and take care all
Forever and Green