It’s sad to see zero waste habits take a backseat while America waits and sees just how bad things are going to get in the next few weeks. But I get it. Anytime we are faced with such an uncertainty, stockpiling household supplies gives us a level of comfort. It makes us feel like we have some control over the situation. But we can still be prepared while doing our best to minimize waste in the process.
The most important point to emphasize is not to panic. We don’t need to get into physical altercations in supermarkets over toilet paper. We don’t need to hoard face masks.
But there are still small things we can do as consumers to try to reduce waste, even now.
Firstly, we can try to eat healthy and relax in order to strengthen our immune systems. Buying a small surplus of fruits and vegetables is not a terrible idea, so long as you store them properly and they don’t go to waste.
Solution? Freeze what you won’t eat right away.
Most vegetables freeze well and are perfect to use in soup and stirfry recipes. Frozen fruit makes the best smoothies. I will even freeze kale and spinach and use that in smoothies.
Currently, one of the biggest zero waste struggles is that stores and cafes that were previously okay with customers using their own containers, have placed a moratorium on the practice. Ordering groceries and supplies online has drastically increased over the last few weeks as people are hesitant to go into stores, and that inevitably comes with a lot of bags and packaging.
Packaged Food: We can opt for glass instead of plastic packaging, when possible. Instead of buying foods packaged in tetrapaks – which are impossible for most districts to recycle, try to find BPA-free canned goods which will last a while and are easier to recycle.
Bulk Food/Dried Goods: If you can’t buy bulk dry ingredients in sustainable packaging, try to find them packaged in paper (like flour) or cardboard (sugar, baking soda, salt, etc.) You can stock up on produce and freeze what you don’t think you can use right away which will help prevent food waste.
Water: If you have access to clean tap water, fill up your clean, reusable containers to avoid panic-buying cases of bottled water. But realistically, there should not be any concern over water shortages if you are in a region that has safe tap water.
The uncertainty of our current situation might feel scary, but we are all in this together. There are plenty of ways to be prepared without creating a surplus of waste. Let’s do our best to:
and Stay Safe