It has been a turbulent three months in which we have all seen our lives turned upside down. Whilst we have been affected physically, emotionally and financially, the natural world has flourished with the human race locked behind their front doors.

With the world emerging from lockdown, what environmental lessons can we hope to take from Covid-19?

Shop your wardrobe

With nowhere to go and no holidays to plan for, clothes shopping has not been a high priority for many these last few months and as fast fashion is a major contributor to microplastics in the ocean, this may be a blessing in disguise. It is estimated that we actually only wear 20% of the clothes we own most of the time, so lockdown has enabled us to rediscover some old favourites lurking at the back of the wardrobe.

Switch to soap bars

Antibacterial sprays, gels and handwashes have understandably featured heavily on many shopping lists and sales increased by  255% in the month before lockdown. However plain old soap and water is proven to be just as effective at removing viruses from your skin and is a lot less environmentally damaging. Switching to bars of soap in the home is a great long lasting, effective and plastic free alternative to bottled handwash.

Make your own beauty products

It is a cruel irony that our access to beauty treatments was stopped precisely at the same time as we were expected to stare at our own face endlessly on Zoom meetings. Luckily we have some great sustainable skincare hacks for you to experiment with at home which we will be sharing throughout Plastic Free July.

Need vs want

Almost three quarters of us faced shortages of retail items during March which drew into sharp focus what we actually needed. Many of us realised that when we no longer had instant retail satisfaction our need list was fairly small and we grew accustomed to living with less. Whilst a sustainable life does not need to be joyless and spartan, some of those previous ‘essential’ luxuries might not be so essential after all.

Value more, Spend less

With takeaway coffee shops closed, we brought our own on our daily walks. As we relied on weekly shopping deliveries rather than daily top ups, we took reducing food waste more seriously. Make do and mend became more than a hobby as we sought to extend the life of that favourite pair of jeans. Lockdown naturally lent itself to a more sustainable way of life and as the world opens itself up again, hopefully we can keep some of these habits for the long term.