Zero Waste Habit Changes Because Of The Pandemic

Zero Waste Habit Changes Because Of The Pandemic

How much have your habits changed in lockdown? Mine have changed quite a bit, from where I shop for food to how I spend my time when I'm at home. Everything from my daily routine to my (what I thought were) permanent habits; many areas of my life have changed in both positive and negative ways.

At the start of lockdown, everywhere I usually shopped for food - the market, bulk store, bakery, and Chinese supermarket - all closed making it tough to find affordable fresh produce and packaging-free products. There were fewer options leading to more plastic being purchased and more money being spent. Thankfully a few of those places have reopened, albeit with restricted hours and services.

It's not all bad though. Being forced to change weekly habits and daily routines has given me the time and space to reconsider how I do things. While some of these habits shifts I'm not so happy about, others have been a welcome revelation. I've been using up what I already have at home, from food to skincare, so nothing goes to waste. I've returned to baking my own sourdough bread, and started growing a few veggies on my windowsills. I've also made space in my life to be creative with no purpose; to simply enjoy time spent making something for the fun of it.

If you're struggling to stick to your low waste habits, you shouldn't feel guilty for it. Staying low waste in a lockdown isn't always easy and we're all just doing the best we can do get through each day. These are the habit changes I've noticed during the lockdown, what I've learned from them and how it's going to change in the future.

Negative Habit Shifts

Fewer Options = More Plastic

When my local bulk store and market closed, my options for buying packaging-free pantry staples and fresh produce completely disappeared. The city centre effectively shut down and without a car, options for where to shop were limited. Figuring things out took a couple of weeks and I've just had to accept that I'll be buying more things in plastic packaging. One way I've been mitigating the impact of this is by buying larger quantities whenever possible and practical. Thankfully my local bulk store has reopened and a local grocer is providing deliveries of fresh fruit and veggies, which means buying packaging-free pantry staples is possible again.

Buying New More Often

The option to borrow or buy second-hand has been severely restricted due to the lockdown. Charity shops are closed and dropping into a friend's house to borrow something is against the rules so when you discover there's something you need, buying new is often the only option. Thankfully I haven't encountered too many occasions where I've had to purchase an item new, and I'm still checking online marketplaces for second-hand options, however, I've noticed a severe drop in listings and available second-hand goods.

Creating More Trash

Charity shops are closed, recycling bins aren't being collected, and the tip isn't open. The ability to donate or recycle items has become very difficult where I am. Even if you haven't taken to decluttering your space while in lockdown, things break, unwanted stuff appears, and recycling accumulates. Without sufficient recycling or donation points, I've found it difficult to deal with trash. There's only so much space in an apartment to store cardboard boxes and a limit to how long you can store unwanted stuff before it gets in the way. I've tried to store as much as I can for when the charity shops open and our recycling bins finally get emptied, until then I just have to accept that some things might end up in landfill when they shouldn't.

Positive Habit Shifts

Making Use Of What's At Hand

From kitchen ingredients to bathroom toiletries, I've been making use of what I already have instead of going out to buy more. It's helped avoid food waste and put to good use the items I've been overlooking. Using things up is so important to avoid unnecessary waste but I think we're all guilty of purposefully ignoring the things we already own because they're not quite right or we don't like them as much as our favourite choice. Instead, I've been pulling these ingredients or products out and making sure I use them up before replacing them. I even been putting to good use the craft supplies and excess cardboard boxes in my apartment!

Supporting Local Businesses

Even though I might not be able to avoid plastic packaging, what I have been able to do is support independent businesses. Instead of food shopping at large chains, I've been shopping and ordering from small, local ones. It really does make a big difference. As a self-employed jeweller, I've always been a huge advocate of supporting other independent businesses. With local coffee shops, pubs, bars, and restaurants forced to close their doors, I've been making even more of an effort to support them whenever and whenever I can. I've been ordering take out from my favourite independently-owned restaurant, ordering wine from a local wine merchant, and getting my fruit and veg delivered by a small grocer.

Making Time For Creativity

One of the biggest ways my routine has changed is that I now leave room to be creative for the sake of it. I've been paying closer attention to my mental state and investing more in self-soothing self-care habits. As a result, I've spent more time creating things for fun from making cardboard vehicles for my companion animal to growing vegetables and making sourdough bread. Creativity is an important part of life that can help us unwind and relax as well as test ourselves with new skills.

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Zero Waste Habit Changes Because Of The Pandemic Zero Waste Habit Changes Because Of The Pandemic