Sustainability’s Part in Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 13, 2020
MA Design

You know the pandemic that is Coronavirus (COVID-19). What you might not know is the ways it can help bring positive change in our way of thinking about the environment.

Some who are conscious of the fragile nature of humankind and the planet have suggested that rather than running out to stockpile home supplies or buy up every bottle of hand sanitizer you come across in a store, you can actually change your lifestyle for the better in order to get through the pandemic, while acting more sustainably.

Mitch Ratcliffe, writing for the web site “Earth911”, recently shared thoughts on this. They range from rethinking how much product you buy to eliminating your commute to the office.

Permanently Ration Your Paper Towel and Toilet Paper Use

Americans use a lot of toilet paper — 55 percent say they use more than 10 rolls a month and 84 percent use more than five rolls, according to the U.S. Census and Simmons National Consumer Survey. Americans use an average of 141 rolls per person a year. Can we use less each time we “go”? Maybe. Think about how much is wasted and how you can save money by cutting back.

Eliminate Your Drive to Work.

Obviously, a lot of us cannot work from home all of the time. But, major companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have all requested those employees who are able should work from home during the coronavirus outbreak. Ratcliffe suggests that those who can practice telecommuting should because it is simple and affordable for almost any business. There are inexpensive web tools that collaborators can use to conduct meetings, and a lot of work is done on computers or online anyway. Fewer cars on the road is always a good thing.

Plan To Shop Sustainably

If you have anxiety over visiting your favorite grocery store and being amongst others at this time, or worse yet, going there and finding very little on the shelves, you can rethink your general shopping practices. If you do make that trip out of the house, you can think about “precycling”, or the practice of avoiding waste before it is created. It requires thinking through the waste created by products you buy — before you make a purchase. Is a product made from recycled materials? Is the product recyclable? How much packaging is there? Is the packaging recyclable? And do you really need this product at all? You can plan trips to the store for once a week, and be sure to pick up everything you might need all in one trip. Or, you can embrace at-home shopping. While home deliveries do create packaging waste and have other non-sustainable issues connected to it, having someone deliver your order makes it possible to eliminate trips to the store (and maybe to rid yourself of a car) that contribute as many CO2 emissions as the deliveries.

Create A Network of Food, and Potential Friends

Buy from the local grocer or farmer who might be falling prey to the big box stores. Their methods often contribute less CO2 to the atmosphere, and they have families who are dependent upon them for their livelihood. You might find like-minded people shopping in this manner as well, and making connections with them can be beneficial personally and professionally.

Let’s use this disruption as an opportunity to change the way we do things and explore ways to live better. Our health is our greatest fortune, and there are actionable ways we can support ourselves individually and the world collectively. MA is truly leading the way in the communities we serve, demonstrating our action-oriented approach to sustainable solutions today for a healthier future. Looking beyond the scope of the building and thinking more about the life that will inhabit the space, we’re redefining what human-centric design means, pushing boundaries as we find new limits to what sustainable design looks like.

While we have been told that there is an end in sight to this crisis (China has already appeared to have gotten over the worst of it), we can consider using the COVID-19 disruption to our lives to help improve the environment.