With companies no longer allowing us to bring our reusables, it made me think Has The Pandemic Killed The Zero Waste Movement?

Lives are being lost, business effected, life as we know it changed forever!

It’s a very difficult and scary world to navigate right now and the last thing most people, including me, are thinking about is zero waste.

But I think it’s an important conversation to have and I hope you will join me in the comments below for a kind and informed discussion on the topic of DOES THIS MEAN THE END OF ZERO WASTE?

When news of the virus first broke, many companies stopped allowing people to bring their own containers or coffee cups into the store, we’ve seen a decrease in reusables and an increase in single-use items and it’s not clear what will happen once things go back to “normal”.

I’d like to change the current narrative around this and remind people that living a low or zero waste life is much more about being mindful and thoughtful about the items you buy and bring into your home.

Reusables like stainless straws, reusable water bottles, beeswax wraps are actually a very small part of choosing to live a more sustainable life.

Being green is a choice –  a mindset that I choose each and every day and I am lucky and privileged to even have this choice.

a flay lay of fruits and veggies

Zero or low waste living is the understanding that the things you do buy, have an impact on the world, from the people who make it the people who pick it up when you are done wth it. Plus all the recourses needed to make it.

It’s also about using what you already have…this is really the basis of the low waste movement.

So here are some ideas on how we can continue to think about living more sustainably in the current climate.

Trying making something that you typically buy, like hummus, bread, guacamole…maybe try a DIY cleaning recipe or DIY face mask.. it’s a great way to reduce waste and have a little fun.

When you are shopping think about the packaging, can you buy naked lettuce instead of lettuce in a plastic shell?

Can you buy eggs in cardboard – which can be composted – instead of styrofoam, which can’t.

Instead of buying 6 mini yogurts in plastic containers, can you buy it in bulk in one large container?

And compost your food scraps! This helps to reduce the amount of food going to landfills, which produces methane which is much worse than CO2.

When you do buy plastic, find other ways to use it, I collected all my toilet paper rolls to plant seeds to grow when the weather warms up and used this plastic shell to keep them in.

I am still taking my reusable bags to the store, and washing them right after with soap and water in the laundry.

Try thinking outside the box as well:

  • You can use a plastic freezer bag like to line a garbage bin.
  • Buy fresh produce and freeze it yourself.
  • It’s really all about repairing and repurposing the things you already have.
  • With more of us buying non-perishables right now it’s important to think about ways to repurpose.

BUT, Probably the biggest thing that we can all do right now is to reduce the amount of food that we are wasting. In Canada, food waste is a big issue.

here some tips: 

  • Meal plan as much as you can, even now.
  • Eat what you have before you shop.
  • Create an “EAT ME FIRST BIN” in the fridge. This brilliant, simple tip comes from the Just Eat It movie, Repurpose a plastic bin or basket. Label it: “Eat-me-first”. Add sad-looking produce and foods approaching their “best before” dates. Find recipes that incorporate bin items. You’ll save money too!
  • Store your food properly.


We have made so much progress in the low waste movement and I am not sure if we are going to get back to that once all of this is done. So in the meantime, do what you can and remember its not about being perfect. I’d love to hear from you, tell me what you think about this being the end of low-waste living.


Has the pandemic killed the zero waste movement


Candice Batista

Candice Batista is an award winning Environmental Journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets, where she has used her background in environmental studies and media & communications to produce and report on various environmental and climate issues for primarily television and digital audiences including Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, The Weather Network, CityTV, Rogers Television, The Pet Network, iChannel, and CTV, where she is currently the National Eco Expert for the stations number 1 daytime talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show.
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