In this current climate, it is hard to go 5 minutes without hearing about coronavirus, but where I am from, we are also headed right for flu season – fast. While I think that it is important that we take care of our medical needs, without too much concern for the waste, there are certainly some Zero Waste preventatives that I take with me on the go, to make sure I stay healthy. Here are 5 things I always have on hand.
- Cloth Napkins – These are for more than just wiping your face and hands after lunch, I always keep a few of my older napkins in my bag for wiping down surfaces that seem a little dirty. This will keep you healthy and will save on paper towel, or other wasteful cleaners that can do the same job. Just make sure that if you use them, you swap them out and wash them every day, to keep everything sanitary.
- Handkerchiefs – A wonderful alternative for blowing your nose, wiping your face or drying your hands, or even turning the taps on and off like a makeshift glove. With these, I only use them once before I put them in a bag until they get washed. The hidden benefit, beyond the waste, is that it prevents a lot of touching communal items that may contain germs.
- Soap – A bar of soap might seem a little farfetched, but the amount of places I have been lately where the soap has run out has been alarming. A bar of soap, wrapped in a napkin or in a container had been a big help. Not only does it prevent any residual germs from other people, but there is also always a way to wash your hands. While I do also carry hand sanitizer with me that I get at a bulk store, the reality is, it isn’t as effective as actually washing your hands regularly. I do however use the sanitizer on my phone screen, or other devices that I touch regularly.
- A water bottle, food container and cutlery – Again, this is simply to prevent having to use anything you are unsure about on the go. Many food and drink-related businesses have turned to disposables to prevent the spread of germs, which is completely understandable in the fearful climate we are living through – so rather than complaining or getting frustrated about the change, let’s be prepared ourselves and have the things we may need with us.
- A pen – Have you ever washed a pen? How many times have you coughed or sneezed and then picked up a pen a continued on with what you were doing? If you aren’t cleaning your pens, there is a good chance no one else is either. And how often do we use a pen that other people have used? At work, at the bank, at the post office, in some cases at the supermarket for places where you still have to sign for things? Having a pen with me has really come in handy and makes me feel that I am preventing the spread of germs.
Using reusables to stop the spread of germs will not erase the need for all medical waste, but hopefully, these preventative measures at least reduces the need for them in the long term. What Zero Waste hacks have helped you stop the spread of germs to keep you and your family safe? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.