In these times, the most important thing is staying safe and staying home. But on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day and as a proud certified B Corp, we also wanted to stop and think about our larger home—our planet. As we all develop new habits based on our new normal, why not pick up a few sustainable habits that will help keep you healthy while keeping the Earth healthy, too?
Plastic Makes Perfect
As fresh items are a bit harder to come by right now, we’re all accumulating a lot of plastic containers. But guess what? Not all plastics are created equal, let alone recyclable. There are actually seven different types of plastic and, chances are, your local town only recycles certain numbers.
- Step 1: Learn what makes these seven types of plastics different. Just because an item has the three chasing arrows on it doesn’t mean it’s actually recyclable. The number designates the type of plastic and often clues you into whether your town will recycle it or not. We created some handy flashcards for you because this stuff is tricky.
- Step 2: Go to your local town’s recycling/waste management website and find out which plastics can be recycled. If the page seems out of date, email your town to make sure the information is current.
- Step 3: Next time you’re Instacart-ing or venturing safely to a grocery store, try only buying plastic items you know your town recycles, and you’ll be well on your way to zero waste.
Who Wants to Be a Scallionaire
Frequent return trips to the grocery store are not advisable right now. If only there was a way to buy veggies once and have them magically continue to regrow ad infinitum. But wait, there is! Lots of veggies and herbs can be regrown simply by sticking them in water and giving them a little sunlight. Here are just a few:
- Green onions: Just save the white part of the onion with any roots still present and stick it in a skinny container with some water. You’ll have new growth in just about a day and you’ll feel like a wizard.
- Lettuce: Cut off the bottom of a head of lettuce and stick it in some water. In under two weeks, you’ll have an entirely new half-head of lettuce. Now that’s reusing your head.
- Basil: All it takes is a basil leaf and stem to regrow an entire plant. Change the water every 2-3 days until a good number of roots develop, then you can plant in some soil, clip off a new stem, rinse, and repeat.
- Carrot greens: Sadly, carrots themselves don’t regrow in water, but the tops of them do. Simply cut off the top of the carrot, place it in a shallow bowl of water, and you’ll have never-ending greens for salads and pesto.
Time to Get Seasoned
With dining out less of an option these days, it’s the perfect time to hone your cooking skills so that when this is all over, you’re not reliant on often less-healthy and carbon-unfriendly delivery options. Cooking is a skill and it just takes practice until you start to feel confident.
- Gamify: Love a particular ingredient? Challenge yourself to make it in as many ways as possible with increasing difficulty. For example, scrambled eggs are 1 point, poached eggs are 5 points, and a frittata is 1000 points or 1000 likes when you inevitably post it in on Instagram #foodporn.
- Experiment: With supply chains still catching up, we all may not have the exact ingredient combinations we’re used to. Don’t be afraid to improvise. You might just discover your new favorite dish or at least have a fun cooking disaster story to tell on your next Zoom call.
- Plant B: Try using only plant-based ingredients, even if it’s only for one meal a week. There are tons of quarantine-specific cooking articles and Instagram shows out there that will help get you started.
A Vote of Confidence
Lastly, one of the most powerful ways to effect environmental change is voting for leaders who understand the urgency of the moment. If you’re not currently registered to vote in your hometown, you can register online in 39 of the 50 states.
Also, now is the perfect time to learn more about your state’s policies toward mail-in and absentee voting. With the viability of in-person voting still an open question, doing the research now will ensure you’re fully able to have your voice heard in November.