The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 changed the world in many ways. It has impacted the way we work, socialize, make a living and treat the natural environment around us. After months during which many of us got accustomed to using single-use items and packaging for the sake of safety and put sustainability on hold, how do we walk out of the Covid-19 pandemic and start working on making the world a greener place again?
The impact of Covid on the planet
While you may have been seeing photos of cities without smog clouds online, or hoaxes about dolphins returning to Venice, the reality of the pandemic’s impact on the environment is quite different and not so positive. While it is true that global emissions have fallen, leading to cleaner air in cities, we need to be careful about this going forward as restrictions are loosened. Looking back into our history at cases which caused people to limit their travel and emissions, we can generally see that after the world came back to a more normal state, emissions skyrocketed and erased any previous positive changes.
In a world that was on a journey towards eliminating single-use plastics, the coronavirus pandemic caused many to go back to buying packaged food and protect themselves with plastic gloves or other single-use items. This has led to more plastic ending up in the ocean or landfills and flooding our planet with toxins and microscopic particles of plastic.
As the coronavirus pandemic began, many restaurants and other establishments were left with tons of food that they now couldn’t use. This has led many to throw away the food, rather than give it to those in need since that was the more ‘profitable’ way to dispose of it. Food waste left in landfills like this is a substantial contributor to climate change and (since it does not have the oxygen it needs to decompose properly) releases methane: a greenhouse gas almost 30 times more dangerous than CO2.
How to live sustainably after the pandemic?
Now that we have talked about the impact of Covid on the environment, what do we do next? How can we make sure to take care of the environment while preventing the resurgence of the virus and a second wave?
Don’t rush out of lockdown
After months in isolation when you didn’t get to see your friends and family, it is tempting to assume life has gone completely back to normal. However, if we rush out of lockdown, drive around to visit friends from far away, we may risk not only a resurgence of the pandemic but also widespread damage to the planet as our carbon emissions skyrocket. Instead, take things slow.
Reusable face masks: staying safe AND green
As we previously mentioned on our website, one of the best ways to prevent the resurgence of Covid-19 and another epidemic is wearing face masks. By wearing a mask, you are protecting not only yourself but also others in your proximity. Wearing a mask has become a sign of caring for your community and wanting to keep it safe.
However, single-use face masks can not only become very expensive, but they are also extremely environmentally damaging. First, we’ve got the energy, labour and resources needed to create the masks. At millions of masks being produced, the amount of resources goes up very fast. However, these masks also create large amounts of contaminated waste which needs to be disposed of in a safe way.
Reusable face masks, instead of single-use ones, can have a fraction of the impact. While the manufacturing of reusable face masks is slightly more resource-intensive than the fabrication of a single-use one, you will keep reusing your cloth face mask, making these resources go a long way.
As part of our project focused on making the world a greener place, we offer a range of reusable face masks which will protect both you and the planet. Our range includes masks for children of different ages and adults alike so that your whole family can stay protected.
Proper care for your reusables
Reusables are the best way to limit your use of single-use plastics, which have a devastating effect on the environment. These include not only the reusable face masks we already mentioned but also reusable bags or other items. The use of these is completely safe as we are coming out of the pandemic, but make sure that you are taking proper care of these and wash them after use. This is possible entirely without environmentally damaging chemicals and harsh cleaners which negatively impact the environment and your health – washing at 60 degrees with natural soap is the best way to go about it.
Reusables are one of the main tips for how to live sustainably and there is no need to reject them because of our recent experience during the pandemic. On the contrary – if we keep using tons of single-use plastic items, we only have another, this time environmental, crisis coming our way.
Due to the restrictions in place to limit the toll of the pandemic, more people started choosing to buy locally, either because of availability or to support small businesses. This is another way how to live sustainably and it would be great to carry on those local shopping habits into the future, even when big supermarket brands are widely available again. This shift is not only making the world a cleaner place but also positively impacts the local economy, killing two metaphorical birds with one stone.