How to stay Zero Waste During a Pandemic

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Those of us who were watching, noticed.

When the Coronavirus made its move around the world in 2020, businesses were ordered to close their doors. Essential businesses like bars, restaurants, or grocery stores, started doing things differently.

Of course, things like masks and six feet or one meter of distance were required.

But what else?

🚮Packaging has made a big comeback. Companies have made a complete ↩️180 from what their zero waste policy used to be. 

Restaurants opened back up, but only with to-go packaging, maybe the same for bars too. Grocery stores began packaging foods instead of the deli section where you could bring your own container. In some areas, reusable containers aren’t allowed for bulk items either.

So what do we do? How do we stay zero waste amongst a pandemic where businesses are trying to simply keep everyone safe? Here are some ideas to consider.

Understand that many businesses’ hands are tied


Much like everyone else in the world, this is the first time that businesses have had to deal with anything like this. This makes for a lot of chaos, a lot of last minute adapting, and constantly changing policies based on the most recent regulations.

It’s important to understand that most companies aren’t just waiting to upend their 📦zero waste goals at the first sign of an excuse, which in this case is a pandemic.

We shouldn’t get angry at companies making these changes, we should instead strive for a balance between protecting people’s health, and also the planet’s. Because as we’ve learned, they kinda go hand in hand.

Ask if it’s possible to bring your own container still


Many places aren’t prevented from allowing bring-your-own containers, but are mostly just implementing more to-go options.🍔

It’s always worth asking whether or not you can bring your own grocery and produce bag, cup, mug, bowl, cutlery, or bulk food containers. People are just people, and we can usually work with them to strike some sort of balance.

A balance that allows for us to keep everyone safe without sacrificing our values.🙏🏼

Much like before, search out businesses that are making the effort to maintain sustainability efforts


As always, there will be places to grocery shop, eat out, and buy certain things that make it easy, or simply not a pain in the butt, to shop with the planet in mind.🌎

And it’s completely okay to prioritize those places or others, if it means sticking to your values. 

Make meals and drinks at home and buy less stuff...for now


What a better time to buy less things, purchase more local and unprocessed produce, make our own meals, drinks, etc?!

Not only do we save 💵money by making our own meals and drinks, but we are also spending less money by not going out shopping for things we probably don’t need.

A huge plus: our LastTissue and LastSwab offer a hygienic and zero waste option that you can purchase without having to go to any store. You also save money in the long run!

No better time to put a little extra money in our pockets than during a pandemic.

It’s actually a great time to test out a lot of the eco friendly ways of living in regards to minimalism and diet especially. And if we aren’t driving from place to place as often, that’s also reducing our transportation footprint!🚙


😰It can be overwhelming to maintain our healthy and sustainable habits with so much going on. And with many places getting rid of their zero waste initiatives, this of course doesn't help either. 

With a virus that has been arguably exacerbated if only partially by unsustainable and unhealthy standards, it’s more important now than ever to maintain our environmental and health minded values.🌱💚

Written by Aaron Burr 

A writer dedicated to working solely with companies on a mission to help the earth and people on it.