Shopping Safe and Low Waste During Covid-19

June 18, 2020

Safer Shopping During Covid-19

Whether lockdown in the UK is ending soon or not, we'll still need to head outside to shop for essentials. As stores start opening up again and we're able to access more than just food and other essential supplies, continuing our efforts to stay safe is important with social distancing and personal hygiene being of utmost importance.

I'm continuing to avoid public transport and limit my time spent in confined spaces to reduce risk as much as I can; shopping at independent supermarkets and local bulk stores to uphold as many low waste habits as I can without risk. From planning trips to using contactless payment, there are steps we can take to ensure our safety as well as those around us. These are some of the ways to ensure you're shopping safe and low waste during Covid-19.



Shop Online

It's hotly debated whether shopping online or in person is safer for you, other shoppers, and essential workers. Personally, I believe it's better to order as much as you can online, preferably from small businesses, to help reduce footfall at local supermarkets and stores, and physical contact with other people. If you're able to (and not a vulnerable person), avoid taking up a delivery slot with a big name supermarket and place your order with an independent supermarket or store. Look for local services that might work for you and your budget, such as fresh fruit/veg boxes delivered by the Pedalling Pantry, that will save you a trip to the supermarket.



Plan Trips

If you choose to visit a store in person to shop, write a list before you go, and pick where and when you shop wisely so you can avoid busy times when traffic is high. If you can, shop at smaller independently-owned supermarkets and shops instead of big chains. Small businesses need your money more than the chain supermarkets, and they're likely to be a little quieter with fewer shoppers.



Take A Hand Sanitiser

Most stores are sanitising carts and baskets between customers or providing you with the means to wipe them down yourself. But having a hand sanitiser on you, in a bag or pocket, means you can apply it before and after shopping as an extra safety precaution. It's not a replacement for hand washing before and after your shopping trips but having a sanitiser handy means you're giving yourself a little extra protection when you're not able to wash your hands.



Wear A Mask

In the UK, masks are not mandatory although we have been advised to cover our face in enclosed spaces such as public transport, shops, and supermarkets where contact with strangers is unavoidable. Face coverings and masks are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing, which remain the most important precautions we can take. If you choose to wear a mask or cover your face, it's very important to do so correctly. The mask must fit properly with no gaps and fully cover both your mouth and nose. You must not touch the front of the mask after you've put it on, and it must be replaced as soon as it becomes damp (such as from humidity) and it must not be reused until it's replaced or washed if it's reusable. This guide by the WHO explains when to wear a mask and how to wear one correctly.



Bulk Buy Staples and Non-Perishables

What we saw at the beginning of the pandemic was panic buying, where people were buying an obscene amount of toilet paper, pasta, and flour. That is not the type of bulk buying I'm talking about here! Bulk buying staple ingredients and household essentials helps save money, reduce waste, and avoid you having to shop more often. It can also help you to maintain low waste habits despite the current situation. Non-perishables like toilet rolls, cleaning products, and hair care as well as dried pantry staples like pasta, flour, and beans are good choices for stocking up on.



Use Contactless Payment

Many public surfaces are touched frequently and cleaned rarely. It's time to switch from cash to card, if you haven't already. Use a contactless debit or credit card or set up a payment method via your phone such as Apple or Google Pay. It'll help to decrease your contact with surfaces and other people with the added bonus of being a faster way to checkout.




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