Pandemic and Zero Waste Life

When you Google “Zero Waste,” up come clusters of products, that yes, will lower your ecological impact, but are also pretty expensive.  The other side of the Zero Waste advice coin is to repurpose—make bags for bulk food supplies out of old shirts, crochet your used plastic bags into bowls, or perhaps concoct your own solution of dishwasher detergent.  This takes time.

For detailed information on how to recycle in Media Borough, click here.

For many of us time and money have been the tight, hard boundaries of much of our lives.  Where does the balance lie?

In the last 4 months, some of us have lost jobs, and money is tighter than ever.  Some of us have been able to spend much more time with our families than we ever thought we would.  Time seems different.  We have more time on our hands because we cannot go out and do the things we used to.  We are creating new routines and doing new projects with our children. We are distance-walking with friends.  We are visiting our parks more.  We are appreciating the gorgeousness of our environment as we pass through a spectacular spring into a hot, lush summer.  We are connecting with nature.  We are, even at a distance, connecting with each other.

Many of us are coming through this pandemic with a greater sense of the preciousness of human life.  At home, we silently grieve for the families that have lost loved ones.  Some of us can no longer tolerate the mistreatment of people based on race and are speaking out loudly.  When I walk down the street, it seems like so many more random people kindly catch my eye and say hello.  

Zero Waste is a commitment to each other and to our planet.  

And there is a balance.  If we look, we can find a really nice “shampoo bar” that comes in a cardboard box, at the same price as a shampoo in a plastic bottle.  We can find biodegradable cornstarch dental floss picks instead of the plastic ones that will still be around in a thousand years.  

For our grandparents, what we now call “repurposing” was then called “frugality.”  As a little girl, I giggled when my grandmother washed and hung paper towels up on the line.  Now I smile thinking of her when I wash out my plastic bread bags and hang them up to dry (no single-use plastics in my house if they all get reused!).  We can challenge ourselves to figure out workarounds for SUPs.  A little time; a lot of satisfaction.

Small steps, big progress, for ourselves, our people, and the beauty and health of the world.