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We‘ve been trained to consume and to waste, but when supplies are limited and we’re all being asked to sacrifice and make do with less, it’s time to learn how to live a little differently.

Adopting these key eco-friendly measures will minimize your stress and give you greater peace of mind about protecting your family, your home, and your planet.

1. Use Rags Instead of Paper Towels

Paper towels are a must-have for many people, and they’re in short supply in the COVID-19 climate. But most of the jobs you do with a paper towel – from drying produce to cleaning countertops – you can do with a washable, reusable rag.

2. Eliminate Food Waste

Maybe the toilet paper supply chain hasn’t fully recovered quite yet, but the U.S. food supply chain is strong. Many grocery stores are almost back to normal stock levels, so you don’t have to panic shop to get your bread and produce – or buy food that you would never normally eat just to feel better about having something in the house (we’ve all done it).

Try to buy only the perishable items that your household can eat between this shopping trip and the next. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to create needless food waste. This is an easy habit to adopt, and one that requires you to be more thoughtful about your meal planning and snacks. And it’s still OK to take your reusable shopping bag with you to the store — just wash them in between each visit to prevent the spread of germs.

3. Organize the Mess

When you and your family are home 24/7, seven days a week, the mess grows quickly if you don’t stay on top of it. If you are looking for ways to reduce the amount of trash your household produces, even starting small can make a big impact.

Instead of wrapping leftovers in a disposable plastic storage bag, put them in glass jars. Instead of buying single-use plastic straws, invest in reusable straws. If you shop online, aim for the minimum number of orders per month to avoid an overload of packaging materials to recycle and discard. Take the time to plan ahead and you’ll also be more thoughtful about the items you’re purchasing and whether you really need them.

Simply spend a few minutes considering your usual habits as you go throughout your day.

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