COVID-19 and the Environment

COVID-19 and the Environment

COVID-19 has given us all time to explore our neighbourhoods, reconnect with nature and enjoy local travel to places on our “must visit” list. Walks along the river or on the beach, more time with our pets, the fun of discovering new bush tracks and mountain bike trails, the joy of spotting native animals and watching how the plants change through the seasons all nourish the soul and bring a sense of calm during these uncertain times. 

Many of us have had the time to declutter our homes and embrace some DIY. This has seen increases in donations to op shops, activity on community marketplaces and Freecycle. When this system of transferring useful goods to new owners operates well, it is an excellent way to help reduce our personal impact on environment. However, we all find stuff that is not suitable for reuse in its current condition and it is irresponsible to donate to op shops, who have to pay huge tipping costs to dispose of them. Manrags will collect your unwanted textiles and shoes (fees apply) and scrap metal may be willingly accepted by your local scrap metal merchant. If you are planning a kerbside clean-up, you are encouraged to research your council website for their waste and recycling advice and links to organisations and facilities that can use or recycle what you no longer want, rather than it going to landfill. 

Of course, COVID-19 has brought with it challenges across the board. Although there have been short-term reductions in emissions due to lockdowns and restricted travel, the increase in packaging associated with online shopping, the increase in demand for broadband and streaming services and, of course,  the need for more disposable medical equipment and PPE to curb transmission has offset some of the benefits. The energy and resource requirements for production and transport aside, the end-of-life destiny for too many masks and gloves is our global waterways and oceans because some people choose to discard them inappropriately. In assembly this week, the representatives from the Green Team urged the community to do what they can to live more sustainably amidst the pandemic and help in the fight against some of the inevitable waste that we generate.

Invest in mesh produce bags and buy loose fruit and vegetables, use containers or silicone covers to store leftovers rather than using foodwraps. Collecting your soft plastic packaging and put it in the Redcycle bins at your local Coles and Woolworths stores, take old batteries to Aldi, and check out what Officeworks and Ikea will accept for recycling. Additionally, Loreto Normanhurst continues to collect mobile phones and accessories, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, bread clips and batteries for recycling. 

 

Mrs Elizabeth Cranfield

Ecology Coordinator