How to stay single-use sane in a COVID world

If you are dedicated to sustainability or if you are simply a responsible citizen, you have most likely felt some sadness at the regression in the movement to eliminate single-use plastic from restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops.

It is harder now to eliminate single-use waste, but it’s still not impossible to reduce your carbon footprint and do what’s right. California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) alumni Carolyn Hinman created an animoto video which provides some good ideas as to how you can take action to reduce waste during the pandemic. Leaving behind plastic cutlery from your favorite takeout spot, bringing a reusable straw when ordering coffee or starting a backyard compost are all small ways you can reduce waste to make a big environmental difference.

Earlier this summer a cohort of medical and public health officials provided a joint statement addressing the safety of reusables during COVID-19. If cleaned properly, some reusable products may be safe to use amidst the pandemic. 

Our shared history offers an opportunity for shared action. We all live on Earth and can do our best to treat our home with respect. We can choose to continue to make progress and do what is right or we can regress and watch our planet continue to choke on and drown in the amount of waste we generate.

It is our civic duty as individuals to educate ourselves and reflect upon our environment. We can all be pretty confident that COVID-19 will go away, a vaccine will be developed and in a year from now our lives may start to return to normal. Until then, remember a single-use mask will remain with us for approximately 450 years. Perhaps remembering your reusable mask today, will help you remember your reusable coffee cup in the future.

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