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There’s no denying it. Life looks different. Like many of you, Team Ethique are hibernating at home. We hope you and your loved ones are safe, well and taking care of yourselves. We’re sending virtual elbow bumps to you all, too.
It’s safe to say that routines we took for granted are now taking centre stage (hello hand washing) while others take a back-seat. If the swift arrival of challenges and changes brought by Covid-19 has meant that eco-friendly actions haven’t been top priority, we’re here to tell you that it’s okay. We’ve compiled a list of six ways to stay green during lockdown because we believe we can all make a difference. Start with one small change and do your best. Everything you do helps.
Shop your pantry before heading to the supermarket
We might not be venturing too far outdoors right now, but the good news is that we can always take to the kitchen. The great news? Home cooking has a whole host of benefits. It’s a chance to get creative, nourish yourself, your loved ones and fill your iso-bubble with scents of something delicious. Plus, the environment will thank you for it. In Australia, 35% of the average household bin is food waste*.
So, before you shop new, use up anything old. Rediscover herbs and spices from the deep dark depths of your pantry and try new dishes with what you have on hand. Our favourite helper? https://www.supercook.com/#/recipes This website suggests recipes based on ingredients that you already have… you might just find a new favourite.
We’re all spending more time at home and you may have noticed that you’re using more energy. However! There are simple changes we can make to reduce our consumption (and keep the power bill in check while we’re at it). Remembering to turn off appliances and lights when they aren’t being used not only saves energy but saves on money as well. We can wash clothes with cold water and follow this up with a good air dry. Also, by reusing plates and cups we can cut down on the total number of items we wash. It means less hot water is required and less physical energy too. Bonus.
Old packaging can be given new life by repurposing it for some arts and crafts projects. It’s easy, inexpensive and a whole heap of fun! Trust us, there have been a few DIY masterpieces shared (virtually) in our daily morning meetings. Grab that bag of chips and turn it into a dress for Barbie and use cardboard boxes to make toys. If you have any bigger boxes – like a fridge box, for example - then think robots or a spaceship. Your Flora & Fauna boxes can be used for many things and make very good cat beds.
Make natural dyes with leftover fruits and vegetables
While we’re thinking about artistic endeavours, let’s talk turmeric, beets and cabbage. Not where you thought we were going? Bear with us! Fruits, veges and plants have long been used to colour clothes and fabric. If your fruit bowl or vegetable bin isn’t looking quite so fresh, use those odds and ends to make homemade dye. It costs next-to-nothing, is super eco-friendly and simple.
Just gather and chop the fruit and vegetables destined for the compost, then add them to a small pot. Cover them with double the amount of water and simmer for an hour at a moderate heat, then leave to cool until the water reaches room temperature. Strain into glass jars and voila! Homemade dyes.
Reusing food scraps
Do you know what’s delicious? Crispy roasted cauliflower leaves. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Once you’ve steamed, pureed and riced your white cauliflower florets keep the outer greenery and stems. Cut them into pieces, toss with a little oil – olive or coconut are both tasty choices – salt and pepper, then roast until a little golden. Delish! Grate your broccoli stalks into coleslaw and gather your vegetable scraps for stock. Winter’s on its way and we’ve got big plans for using these as a speedy base for noodle soups.
Another idea? This one we haven’t tried but we’re curious. If you test it, let us know! Apparently, banana skin can be used in baking… banana skin cake anyone?
Greening your wardrobe and repurposing
This one’s all about decluttering sustainably – not just throwing things out where they’re destined for a life at landfill. Step one. Go through your wardrobe with a focus on post-lockdown outfit planning. Can’t think of where or when you’ll wear something? Then maybe it doesn’t need to stay. Pop the pieces aside for donation or spread some joy to friends and family who’d love them for a little while longer. If you’re handy with a sewing machine (or friendly with someone who is), you could transform old clothes into new creations. A dress can be given new life as a top or turn old items into reusable bags. If you’re not so handy, no worries! Turn t-shirts into cloths for cleaning or think big…curtains could become kids playhouses.
Start today and make a difference
With all that’s been going on, we understand if your eco-efforts haven’t been the priority they once were. We’ve shared this list with the hope that one or two ideas brings some feel-good, sustainable joy to you and your iso-bubble. Things might be a little different, a bit strange and difficult at times but if we all made small adjustments, little by little, the effect would be huge. We’re strong believers that we can all make a difference if we start.
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