The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread across the world, affecting millions and halting the global economy.
Although these effects of COVID-19 have been devastating, there are some positive lessons to be learnt from it too. Since the almost worldwide lockdown, there have been various environmental improvements, such as reductions in air pollution and the liberation of wildlife.
Even the largest Artic ozone hole to ever open up has now closed. The relationship between people, the environment and COVID-19 has revealed a lot about humanity and how we all live and interact with each other and our world. It has become clear
that changing some of the ways we live our lives can begin to make the world a better place, both for us now and for future generations.
Since the start of the pandemic, many of us have been spending more time in our homes than ever. For many, our homes have become our new workplaces, schools, gyms and pubs. This makes them the perfect place to start to implement eco-friendly choices and changes.
Let's look at 3 important ways that homeowners can prolong the positive eco-effects that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Insulate Your Home
Due to ongoing social-distancing practises, it is likely that the increased number of people working from home will continue. By spending more time in your home, you will inevitably be using your heating and energy an above-average amount.
So, for the sake of the environment and your energy bills, it is important to ensure that your home is as well insulated as possible. Insulating your home in various ways will help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
You can consider insulating your loft, walls and floors. Double or triple glazing your windows is another great way to increase your home’s insulation. You could also consider planting some trees and large shrubs to block out the sun and wind, which will keep your home better protected.
Another great way to decrease your home’s energy requirements and increase its safety is by investing in a fuel storage system. You can then store oil for your central heating system and the production of hot water safely and more effectively.
2. Create Better Habits At Home
There are many small habits that can easily form in our homes that are unhelpful to the
planet. It is easy to develop these habits, but with some extra consciousness, they can easily be altered.
Some simple changes include not allowing the tap water to run whilst brushing your teeth, having showers instead of baths, not leaving lights on in a room once you have
left it, and not leaving appliances on standby mode.
Changing these seemingly small habits can actually have a significant impact on both the environment and on your energy and water bills.
3. Reduce Your Household Waste
It is easy to create a lot of rubbish when you’re at home all day, every day. From packaging to food waste to junk mail, it can all start to add up quickly. And although recycling is already commonplace across the country, it would be more ideal to create as little waste as possible in the first place.
This isn’t always an option though, so here are some solutions that can help reduce the amount of recyclable and non-recyclable household waste that you make:
Accurately plan your household menu and only buy as much food as required.
Use reusable packaging for food wherever possible – an increasing number of
supermarkets offer refill services for a variety of their products.
Ask companies who send junk mail to remove you from their mailing list.
Convert to electronic versions of bills, bank statements and newsletters wherever
Avoid as many disposable products as possible, such as plates, face wipes, nappies
or baby wipes.
If you have a garden, use as much of your food waste as possible to create compost
to feed your plants.
Aim to re-use, repair and recycle as much as possible - try to change any throwaway
mindset you may have.
The global COVID-19 pandemic clearly illuminated that the everyday behaviour of the public has a significant impact on the environment. We all play a part and we should all be doing as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus, and also to prolong the positive eco-effects that it has caused.
- Imogen Clarke
Imogen is a freelance writer who specialises in sustainability and green living. She can usually be found with her head in a book or out with her dog, Charlie.
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