Sustainable Living

How to Live a Zero-Waste Lifestyle During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Luckily, with a few tweaks and a bit of creativity, it’s possible to continue living a reduced-waste lifestyle.

3 min read

Striving to live a reduced-waste, or zero-waste, lifestyle can be challenging at the best of times. But with COVID-19 restrictions being enforced at grocery stores, cafes and restaurants, consumers are no longer allowed to practice many of their planet-friendly habits.

Luckily, with a few tweaks and a bit of creativity, it’s possible to continue living a reduced-waste lifestyle, even during the pandemic. Here’s how:

1) Make Your Coffee at Home

Some coffee shops, including Starbucks, used to provide discounts and other incentives to customers to bring their own refillable mugs to the café each day. But COVID-19 has brought these bring-your-own vessel programs to an abrupt halt. Instead of caving and resorting to using paper cups again, buy a bag of coffee from your favourite cafe and make your java at home. You’ll save money and forgo single-use cups.

2) Minimize Takeout

Phase 1 of the pandemic took dining in restaurants, cafes and pubs off the table, and take-out orders skyrocketed. But the downside to all of those Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats meals mean landfills are now overflowing with take-out packaging.

If you’re striving to reduce your waste, the next time you pick up your phone to place a take-out order, consider the packaging that will come with it. Choose, instead, to make a meal at home, or at the very least use your own reusable napkins and cutlery as opposed to accepting the plastic options.

3) Nix COVID-19 Waste

The French environmental group Operation Mer Propre has reported a large amount of ‘Covid 19 waste’—surgical gloves, face masks and sanitizer bottles—turning up in the Mediterranean Sea. Though governments have spent millions promoting the use of these items to prevent the spread of COVID-19, little has been said about how to dispose of them.

If you’re on the zero-waste train, instead of using disposable face masks, opt for a reusable one, and head to your local refill shop the next time you need to stock up on hand sanitizer. If you need to purchase gloves, go for the biodegradable nitrile variety.

Do you have more tips for living a reduced-waste life during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share them in the comments below.