How to be eco-friendly during a pandemic

How to be eco-friendly during a pandemic

Find out how to lessen your impact on the environment during a pandemic. 

Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, you may have put current environmental issues to the back of your mind.

This is understandable given the circumstances, although there are ways you can keep yourself and others safe, while also helping to protect the planet.

Here are six ways you can be eco-friendly during a pandemic without compromising on safety:

1. Use reusable face coverings

Used personal protective equipment (PPE), such as disposable masks, are increasingly washing up on shorelines and causing harm to wildlife.

To reduce waste, use a reusable face covering instead of single-use versions. You can buy them online or you can even try making your own.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends using a mask that has at least two layers of fabric, or three depending on the fabric used – bear this in mind when buying or making your mask!

More information about how to wear and maintain face coverings safely can be found on the government's website.

2. Think again when it comes to disposable gloves 

Disposable plastic gloves have also been contributing to the single-use PPE polluting our oceans.

For people in certain professions, disposable gloves are essential for safety purposes. However, for the general public, if used incorrectly, they can contribute to the spreading of the virus.

The WHO doesn’t recommend that members of the public wear rubber gloves, so you’re better off washing your hands on a regular basis instead.

This story by the Huffington Post explains in greater detail why wearing disposable gloves is unlikely to keep you anymore safe than practising good hygiene.

3. Reduce your energy usage

With lots of people still working from home and spending more time indoors in general, it’s important we all try to keep our energy usage down to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The following tips could help you to use less energy at home:

  • Turn your heating down by a couple of degrees
  • Make use of natural light during the day instead of having your lights on
  • Switch off your standby appliances at the plug
  • Upgrade to a smart thermostat so you can control your heating more efficiently
  • Draught proof your home to prevent cold air entering it

More information about saving energy in your home can be found on the Energy Saving Trust's website.

4. Save water

We should all be doing our bit to use less water to help protect the environment. If you’re on a meter, using less water can also save you money on your water bill!

Here are some tips that will help you to save water in your home and garden:

  • Install a water butt to collect rainwater which can be used elsewhere
  • Use a washing up bowl and then reuse your dishwater on your plants
  • When washing your clothes, make sure to always do full loads
  • Reduce your shower time by a couple of minutes or fill your bath with less water
  • Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe

We have a range of other helpful tips on our water saving page, and you can also order a free water saving pack if you’re a supply customer.

5. Upcycle household items and rubbish

It’s also important we don’t forget about the impact commonly discarded household items and single-use plastic products can have on the environment.

In fact, it’s estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic will be in our environment (both land and ocean) by 2040, unless we change our habits. Find out more here.

To help reduce the amount of waste you produce, try reusing some of the items you would usually throw away. You’d be surprised by how useful they can be!

Watch our tutorial video for a step-by-step guide on how to upcycle a number of household items.

6. Use a reusable bottle

According to The Guardian, the annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to reach half a trillion by 2021, so we should all be trying to use less of them.

Just because these bottles are recyclable, it doesn’t mean they will actually get recycled. A huge amount of them still end up in our oceans, making them one of the main contributors to marine pollution.

You can help to tackle this problem by using a refillable bottle instead of buying bottled water, or by reusing a single-use bottle multiple times before throwing it away.

Written by

Tom Thomson

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