This school year can be the most sustainable yet! With school back in session but some of us still stuck at home, we need all the tips we can get and can do to help reduce our impact! Quarantine and COVID-19 has led to a rise in household waste, but with these simple tips we can help lower our household waste and help the environment! Even if you can do just one or two of them, you are still helping to make an impact!
|Wash fruits and vegetables by soaking in vinegar and water (3 parts water, 1 part vinegar). No need to let the water run and waste it! Plus – vinegar helps get rid of bacteria!||Image source|
|Make your own food staples! Making your own bread, crackers, and other foods helps cut down on trips to the store! You can start by making a sourdough starter! We like the quarantiny starter idea.|
|Use reusable cloths instead of napkins, but if you do need to use paper towels or paper napkins, you can always compost them!|
|Make your own cleaning supplies! Vinegar and scrap citrus peels make a great multi-purpose cleaner! With stores still low on cleaning supplies, this is a great way to use all natural products and use food scraps!|
|Grow some plants in pots! Some people are still stuck at home, and it’s the perfect time to grab some seeds or food scraps to regrow (such as carrot and radish tops, pineapple tops, and romaine lettuce bottoms, or even seeds from produce at home) and grow some of your own food! Herbs on window sills is a very popular and fun idea!|
|Turn on only lights that are necessary while at home! Open the curtains and use natural light, or only have the lights on in the room you are in!|
|Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher or the washing machine! This helps save water and energy!||
|Reuse styrofoam from takeout! A lot of us are turning towards fast food nowadays, and this site has some creative ways to reuse the waste from it!|
|If you have one, use a pressure cooker! They can take up to 70% less time and less energy to cook a meal! They can cook a variety of things, including chili, soups, deserts, and cornbread.|
|Eat less meat and/or animal products! Transporting the feed needed for livestock burns fossil fuels, and expanding pastures leads to deforestation! This site is helpful for learning more about the effects of animal agriculture.|
|Use reusable water bottles! At IUSB, our water fountains have water bottle refill stations, and it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19!|
|Start composting! Composting saves waste from going to the landfill, and you can use it as soil for pots or as fertilizer for lawns and gardens! You can compost produce scraps, bread products, paper products, and more! This how-to is very helpful for getting started.|
|Air dry your clothes! This will help your clothes last longer as well as save energy (and money).|
|Reuse items! A great example is using a carton to make a bird feeder, and besides birdseed, you can also fill it with food scraps that you may have, such as cooked pasta or rice, apples, pears, suitable seeds or grains, and boiled potatoes, though be careful of raccoons and other wildlife you may not want around!|
|Pour used bacon grease into a tuna or cat food can, chill until firm, and wire the can to a tree! What a great way to reuse items and to help feed the birds! Birds that like bacon grease include bluebirds, jays, and starlings!||
See this site for more tips on how to reuse items and be more environmentally friendly!
From something big like composting to something as small as reusing one carton, there are a wide variety of things you can do to help reduce your environmental impact.
We hope that this list has given you some good jumping off points. If you have any questions or creative ideas that you do to reduce your impact, email Holly at the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.