Staying Eco-conscious during the Lockdown

The pandemic is the Worst, we all know that. Afraid of going to the shops more than absolutely necessary and trying to minimise all contact with the outside world, my family have been getting grocery deliveries and click and collect from SuperValu over the last few months. A great service by all means except that each order comes with a side-serving of blue plastic carrier bags that are mounting up in piles in the shed. Reticent to throw anything out, I kept them thinking at least I’d be sorted in bin-bags for the next year; but as the pandemic has carried on it’s looking more like I’ll be in bin bags for the next ten.

Earlier on, during the first lockdown when everything seemed new and confusing, I was remarkably organised getting zero-waste bulk orders from the Good Neighbour in Dundrum. Weighing jars and labelling attractively with the Tare Weights and what should go in them, and then dropping them down in the morning to be filled and collecting in the afternoon. Three lockdowns in and two thirds of the way through my postgrad course, my efforts have gone somewhat out the window as the lockdown novelty and expanse of free time has dissipated. While I have been shopping there as much as I can, it’s not half as much as I ought to be and I’ve noticed the amount of plastic packaging that “I could have avoided if I’d been more organised!”

Everything is more difficult at the moment. The Covid lockdowns and Brexit have made it much harder to source zero- or low-waste items. Lots of things are impossible at the moment and the things that aren’t take ten times as long to achieve. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for my difficulties considering all of the extenuating circumstances.

Tips for Staying Eco-Conscious during Lockdown:

  1. Resist any urge to buy anything from Amazon.
    Amazon’s profits have shot up as all the small and medium businesses are suffering hugely – try to support the businesses that you want to still be around when the pandemic ends.
  2. Freecycle pages and groups are an amazing resource.
    I see people request the most specific items and within an hour there are three offers from other people dying to get rid of the exact same thing. I’ve gotten some really nice stuff on freecycle pages and gotten rid of loads of stuff – stuff I didn’t want and I know that it’ll get used by somebody else. I mainly use facebook freecycle groups for my area, but here are some other sites to look into:
    freecycle.org – the main freecycle forum
    trashnothing.com – freecycle page with groups across Ireland
    Nuw – clothes swap app to fight fast fashion
    Olio – food sharing app to reduce food waste
  3. Buy Second-hand.
    If you are going to buy something with all the money you’re saving on takeaway coffee, have a look on Facebook Marketplace, Depop, Thriftify or the like to see if it’s available second-hand. If you can find one being sold, it’ll be cheaper and you won’t have to worry about the carbon footprint or production of something new.
  4. Bar Soap!
    Bar Soap is just as hygenic as liquid stuff or “foaming handwash”, and it’s just as effective at protecting against covid, but it doesn’t come ensconced in plastic tubes! Buy a nice bar of moisturising soap from one of the many Irish artisan soap makers (or even from Tesco) and your hands won’t end up cracking and bleeding after the tenth time washing them with harsh antibacterial handwash. Try and get a soap that’s palm-oil free or sustainably sourced palm oil, and one without any plastic packaging. Some nice soaps I’ve used before: Three Hills Soap, Palm Free Irish Soap, Lush (Honey I Washed the Kids is particularly nice), Dalkey Handmade Soaps, Janni Bars

I’m fairly busy between my sustainability project, my climate ambassador training and my new PS5 (!) and my energy for taking on additional projects is flagging, so I haven’t been posting much lately, but to get myself back on track here are some plans of things for me to work on in the next week or so:

  1. DIY Flaxseed Gel: I bought flaxseeds (linseeds) packaging free and milled them up in my Nutribullet, to replace the two packets of desperately-out-of-date milled linseed in the pantry. The next step is to try making flaxseed hair gel, which would be incredible if I got it to work. I’ve been following the Curly Girl Method for my hair for almost two years now, and the amount of products one gets through is no joke. Any way to make the process more zero waste would be a real win!
  2. Zero-Waste Eye-cream: I’ve just reached the end of the remains of my last thing of eye-cream; the Moogoo stuff that I decanted into a smaller tub long ago and can no longer find the specific name of. It’s a really nice formula, it doesn’t irritate my skin at all, but I’ve been waiting until I used it up to try out a zero-waste option. I’ve been looking at Lush and at Upcircle, but shipping is an obstacle so I haven’t actually bought any yet.
  3. Foxford Fabric: I acquired a pile of vintage fabric from a freecycle page, the remains of a gorgeous Foxford mills dressing gown which had already been cut up slightly in a previous life. I’ll have to give it a good examine and think up what I can make it into.
  4. Write an update on my plants: My plants are starting to wake up again after the winter so I’ll have to take some photos of the new leaves and shoots that are coming up!

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