When we’re sick, it can be hard to take care of ourselves, our families and the planet. Especially when trying to take extra care not to spread germs. With some extra preparation, you don’t have to make the trade off. Here are three things I do regularly to keep my home and family safe and still be mindful of the planet.
Wash Your Hands:
The number one thing we can do is wash our hands and wash our children’s hands. According to the FDA, plain soap and warm water is the best defense against germs. That means, you can use soap like Blueland’s that comes in a reusable, refillable glass bottle. Just make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or for the best practice, sing Happy Birthday twice. My son, Noah, loves to sing and we’ve found different songs that can fill up the time and keep our hands clean.
If you turn off the water while you scrub you can save water, which is important when we are washing our hands so many times everyday. Just make sure to do so with your arm instead of your hands!
While we usually dry with a reusable cloth, we try to minimize any inadvertent spread of additional germs by air drying instead. Air drying your hands is the best way to keep your hands clean, without having mountains of towels to throw in the wash. When I do need to dry my hands, I use unpaper towels, which are smaller than normal towels. This way, I don’t use all of my towels as quickly, and I can hold off on doing an extra load of laundry.
Hydration is super important, and luckily it doesn’t create any waste! Even at home, I carry my reusable water-bottle around the house because it helps me stay hydrated. I’ve been lucky enough to collect reusable water bottles from a variety of brands from byta, Corkcicle, to Swell. Yeti is my current favorite around the house since it won’t leak if Noah accidentally knocks it over in the midst of running around. I make sure to wash it every morning with soap and hot water, to wash away any germs and prevent any bacterial buildup.
If you need a little extra hydration, try making a DIY electrolyte solution that can replace sports drinks that come in plastic bottles. You probably have all of the ingredients in your cabinets, all you need is water, salt, fruit juice (for taste) and honey or another sweetener! You can stay hydrated without the single-use plastic.
Planet and Home Healthy Diet:
Avoiding the grocery store can make it challenging to have a healthy diet, while staying low-waste. But a healthy diet is important, especially when you need to support your immune system. I stocked up on bulk foods, like nuts and dried fruit that I keep in jars in my cabinets. I also try to choose foods that come packaged in recyclable packaging, like cardboard and paper, to limit any trash items. I also rely on subscription services like Misfits Markets, to help deliver produce with little waste. All of their packaging is recyclable or compostable.
I make sure to compost all of my food scraps regularly but given how much more we’re eating at home I make sure to keep them in a compost bin in my freezer. This way, I won’t create any food waste that will end up in a landfill and limit any extra critters or smells. While I usually drop off my compost at a local farmer’s market on the weekends, we’ve been working on building one for our home so we can stay at home.
There are countless other tips but if we start with these we can keep ourselves and our planet healthy!