Trying to remain Eco-friendly has always proved difficult for many people, even before a global pandemic brought a halt to our daily routines.
Life under lock-down has proven to come with a multitude of new obstacles and challenges to our everyday lives. Even harder still is finding some sense of normality whilst trapped within the same four walls. For some, they might try to recreate their favourite dish from a restaurant, or make their very own home cinema in the comfort of their bed, but for others finding new alternatives and methods of being Eco-friendly is a far more pressing desire.
If you have recently done an online shop, you may have found yourself buried within a plastic sea of branded shopping bags and unwanted packaging. Even for those who aren’t as environmentally conscious, it is difficult to ignore the daily build up of waste when it is around you 24 hours a day, every day.
Plastic Free Lincoln is a Facebook group that boasts over 2100 members, their goal is remove single-use plastic from homes, businesses and public areas. We asked members of the group to tell us how the quarantine has affected their ability to remain Eco-friendly, whether it had made things easier or worse.
For some, like Helen Davies, buying Eco-friendly produce has been made particularly difficult by current circumstances, “Being of a certain age I’m depending on others and I have had to accept more packaging. I cannot expect anyone else to go to more than one shop.”
Helen Exton expanded upon this saying, “I cannot ask other people who out of kindness are shopping for me to spend their time going between shops sourcing Fairtrade, ethical, environmentally friendly and plastic free products.”
Some people have found that the lock-down has provided more time and opportunity to ‘green-up’ and adapt their daily routines.
Chloe Rose Doona explained some of the quarantine’s more useful side effects. “Not using the car, more time for growing, being more selective about food so less wastage, time to bulk cook (especially for the baby who sometimes had pre-packaged meals on busy days. However we now get Tesco deliveries which have to come in plastic bags and most things are plastic wrapped.”
Shopping has proven to be one of the most challenging hurdles to conquer. This is simply due to the fact that most leading supermarket chains cannot cater towards demands for more sustainable and recyclable packaging at this current time.
However, some members were quick to point out the importance of independent and local businesses. Tom Skipworth advised, “Use your local green grocer for fruit and veg (ours delivers and has a website now to cope). Try buying more base ingredients instead of package meals, if you know how to cook then great! Use your time and if you don’t it could be an opportunity to learn.”
Veg-Out Lincoln is a local family-run business that delivers vegan food and ‘plant powered’ baked goods. They explained how they have adapted their delivery service over the last few weeks. “We have introduced a new recipe box service. This was something that we were planning for the summer but have brought it forward as the time seemed right. We are doing a ‘set menu’ version of a gusto type box. All ingredients are vegan and packaged fully plastic free. We are using locally sourced veggies and adapting the recipes each week based on what is available.”
“To stay plastic free it has cost more. It’s something that’s important though and something that we know our customers value too. We currently use paper based packaging or glass jars/bottles for the liquid based ingredients. We are going to start adopting a returns system for the glassware so that we can wash/sterilise and then reuse the jars etc. This will then allow customers to have a discount off their next VEG OUT Recipe box but also help us to not be wasteful too”
Green’s Health Food Shop, another business local to central Lincoln, has remained open and continues to provide refills on products like shampoo, conditioner, and hand-soap. They praised the ways in which people have adapted to recent changes, “…a lot of my customers are coming to me as their exercise, so walking or biking. People are making do, swapping, mending, making. It’s great, it’s probably easier to be Eco-friendly now than before.”
It seems that while routines have been drastically altered and grounded to a halt, the push for a more Eco-friendly and sustainable future is still very much a priority. It is a lifestyle that is also made much easier thanks to the work of local businesses and the surrounding community in Lincoln.