Dear Recycling Bins: Our Recycling Advice Column
Dear Recycling Bins,
I am now working from home due to the coronavirus and I’ve read a lot recently about how the lockdown is benefitting the environment. There’s less pollution and animals are flourishing, which is great, but I’m wondering, how great is most of us being at home for the environment really?
I know I’m definitely buying more food and buying more things online, and because my husband and I are at home all day working, we are definitely using more energy.
I suppose what I really want to know is how we can be more eco-friendly while staying at home?
Millions of us are now spending a lot more time at home apart from going out to exercise or pick up our essentials, and of course, that’s going to have implications on things like food waste, energy use, and water use, even if we aren’t commuting or driving as much.
Here are our tips for being more eco-friendly while staying at home.
- Curb your online spending. Okay, so you might have invested in some indoor exercise equipment or something to entertain you while you’re at home, but the chances are, you’ve got more than enough stuff at home to help you pass the time when you’re not working. Remember those books you said you were going to read as soon as you had the time? Remember those family games you used to love that are in the attic collecting dust? Dig them out rather than hitting Amazon and creating more waste packaging.
- If you have a garden, why not make the most of some extra time at home and grow some veg? You’ll save money and you’ll have some delicious healthy produce to add to your meals. The less trips you make to the supermarket the better right now too. You don’t even need a garden though, really. Even if you have a window box, you can still grow herbs like basil.
- When you do go to the supermarket, opt for products with recyclable packaging, or if you live near a store like Waitrose, try the packaging-free aisles where you can fill your own containers with produce safe in the knowledge that you aren’t creating any extra waste.
- If you always wish you had more time to cook from scratch, now might be the perfect time to dig out your Delia cookbook or go online and find some healthy recipes. If you use fresh ingredients, there’ll usually be less packaging than you’ll find on a ready meal or anything processed, and if you want to experiment with eating less meat and having more plant-based meals, this is a good time to try it out. Eating less meat is kinder to the planet and easier on your pocket!
- If you find that being at home means you’re using more energy, take control and make sure that you aren’t leaving things like laptops, PCs, and phone chargers on standby when you finish working. When you’re tackling chores, do your laundry on a shorter and colder cycle, and remember, when it comes to saving energy, a tumble-dryer might be convenient, but it’s not your friend. If you have a garden, hang your clothes out to dry. It will give you a chance to get a breath of fresh air too.
- Now that you’re not rushing out of the house in the morning to start your commute, you might be tempted to take a longer shower, but don’t so this too often as you’ll waste a lot of water. The same goes for washing dishes; when you can, do them by hand-we promise it can be quite therapeutic!
- And finally, don’t be tempted to drive more. If you only need to pop out for some essentials, walk to the shops. Because we are all at home at lot more, many of us aren’t getting the chance to be as active, and a brisk walk to the shops and carrying the shopping back will give you the chance to add a bit of physical activity to your day.
We hope this helps!