Seven ways to save the planet while social distancing

It’s Earth Month, which means Earth Day (22 April) is just around the corner. And while the skies might be seeing a much-needed drop in air pollution right now, thanks to a serious abatement in the world’s traffic, our planet definitely still needs us to keep its health and future at the forefront of our minds during isolation.

So along with the general reduction of our footprint that comes with staying at home, what else can we do to stay green and celebrate Earth Month while social distancing? Here are seven of our fave ideas.

Make your own eco-friendly cleaning products

Now is the perfect time to get into all those little nooks and crannies you’ve been neglecting around the house in your regular weekly cleans. And instead of doing it with a bunch of harsh, water and earth-polluting chemicals in plastic containers, why not google how to make your own cleaning products (it’s surprisingly easy) and keep the rest in your own glass jars for later? Winning!

Get gardening

Whether you’ve got a glorious jungle of a backyard or a planter box in a unit, make the most of this time to bust out the gardening tools and get an explosion of green happening in your space, and if you can grow your own food and herbs in the process, then that’s obviously the ideal scenario. Don’t even know where to start? Burleigh company Composta makes it easy with their all-in-one worm farm and composting towers – you just drop your kitchen waste in the top. Either way, your home will be a happier and more breathable place for having more greenery around.

Supercharge your recycling

Everyone can do more with their home recycling. The most hardcore recyclers among us would still be finding great new ideas all the time. For instance, did you know that old plastic roll on bottles can be used as paint rollers for kids? That old print editions of Blank make great wrapping paper for Christmas presents for your music loving buddies? That you can get yourself a new couch cushion by folding over an old flat pillow and popping it in a cushion cover instead of throwing it out? There are thousands of little ways you can recharge your home recycling while you’ve got the time to research and get creative.

Do a storage audit

Ahh the dreaded storage unit / cupboard / shed. If there was ever a time for a clean out of all your stuff, this is it. Who knows what you have lurking in the depths. Old plastics and cardboard? Off to recycling. Tools that you barely use? Donate to the Gold Coast Tool Library, and borrow them back when you need them. Kid’s toys, clothes, those aspirational three-sizes-too-small-outfits you’ve been hanging onto “just in case”? Right now is the perfect time to be thinking of people who are struggling to afford life’s necessities, so if you’ve got extra, good quality stuff just sitting around, save the landfill and pass it on.

Get creative with your upcycling

Home DIY crafts are the new Netflix. With endless ideas on Pinterest on how to creatively upcycle everything from clothes, crockery and kitchenware to tyres and flooring, you won’t find yourself short of projects, and you’ll be saving a bunch of household items from ending up in landfill while you’re at it. Just don’t come out of iso with your place looking like some kind of crazy craft asylum. Unless that’s what you’re into, of course.

Reduce food wastage

That third of a tomato you’d normally throw out would be perfect diced up for a fresh salsa later, or even frozen for use in a passata when you’ve got a few more at hand. If you take just one positive out of this whole scenario, let it be an increase in your mindfulness around food wastage. Food is a precious commodity that we all too often take for granted in our society of over-abundance. Meal plan, shop sensibly (and yes you can still use your resuable bags, but give them a good wash please!), store food properly and actually eat those boring leftovers instead of making new stuff. It all makes a difference.

Get educated

Knowledge is power, and in the fight for our planet, you can never be too informed, or too involved. Local environmental initiatives are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that education around sustainability and the local environment remains available online during this period. The Sustainable Schools Network is delivering its epic 2020 Sustainability Symposium online from 26 to 28 April. Watergum (ex-Gold Coast Catchment Association) has a range of interesting citizen science projects that folks can do in their own backyards, and will definitely be worth keeping an eye on Gecko Environmental Council, NaturallyGC and Botanical Bazaar over the coming weeks to see which of their educational programs start popping up online.


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