Go Green During Quarantine with These 5 Projects

COVID-19 has changed life as we all know it. And not just day to day activities, but the state of our environment. Throughout the country and the world, air quality improved as people stayed home and sheltered in place. This got me thinking… what changes can I make now to be a better steward of the environment? What are some green projects I can do during quarantine?

In Truckee, sustainability is a pillar of our community. It’s what keeps our forests, lakes, and rivers vibrant and full of life. But caring for the mountains starts long before you hit the trail. It starts with each and every one of us at home. Ask yourself, how can I reduce, reuse, and recycle to help reduce waste? Here are some ideas, five fun projects you can do at home with your family to go green during the Coronavirus quarantine.

5 Green Quarantine Projects You Can Do At Home:

#1 Plant a Coronavirus victory garden

During the two world wars in the early 20th century, victory gardens became a popular way to supplement food rations while boosting morale. Today, in a time when grocery store shelves are empty of mainstays like flour and eggs, people are rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty in their own Coronavirus victory gardens.

Whether you live in a cramped city apartment or in the suburbs with a sprawling backyard, there’s a way to go green during your quarantine and grow food. City dwellers can experiment with growing food in small spaces while those with decks or yards can venture into the world of planter boxes or raised beds. 

If you’re not sure where to start, here is a list of vegetables that are easy to grow for novice gardeners. And you don’t have to spend a fortune on seeds and plants. Did you know that you can grow food from kitchen scraps? Here’s how.

Growing plants in the mountains? The Villager Nursery in Truckee has a lot of online resources including blog posts and pdf handouts. Head over to the Villager Journal to learn more.

#2 Turn your kitchen scraps into compost

Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in a landfill and recycle organic matter into nutrient-rich soil for your Coronavirus victory garden. There are many different systems of composting, you just need to find the right one for your space. Keep Truckee Green has a great guide on composting that details what you can and can’t compost, and what type of composting is best for your living situation. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a look at their guide to warm farming, an efficient way to compost in small spaces like city apartments.

#3 Propagate your houseplants

So you want more houseplants but your local nursery is closed thanks to COVID-19… we have the answer! Propagate your plants, aka grow new plants from cuttings or leaves of your existing houseplants. Succulents, pothos, and philodendron are easy to propagate and will quickly fill your home with more of your favorite plants! Have three minutes? Watch this video to learn how to propagate succulents.

Next, get creative and see what household items you can use as planters, like empty yogurt containers and coffee tins, for example. Once you master the skill of propagation, you’ll find yourself with more houseplants than you know that do with. Here’s a green tip – give them away to friends and family, they make great zero waste gifts for holidays and birthdays! 

#4 Make a home recycling center

Recycling is important. Keep Truckee Green reminds us that every item that ends up in a landfill can have a negative, compounding effect on the environment. Most of us have a dedicated recycling bin at home but how organized can you get with your at-home recycling? I’m talking about color-coding, labels, shelving… the works! If you have spare bins or containers lying around, use them to create your very own home recycling center. This is a great way to teach kids about recycling and will make sorting glass from plastic from paper a breeze. Here’s a helpful guide on how to set up a home recycling center, and what to know before you do.

#5 Reuse containers for your pantry drygoods

Take a look at your pantry. If it’s like mine, there’s probably a whole lot of single-use plastic in it, plastic that is destined for a landfill. One easy way to cut down on this waste is to start shopping in the bulk foods section. First, find reusable glass or plastic containers to store items like rice, beans, lentils, flour, etc. Next, buy your pantry staples in the bulk section of your grocery store (green tip: bring your container to the store, have it weighed, and use that instead of a plastic bag). Then, simply refill your containers at home! 

Want to learn about reusing household items? Check out this guide to reuse from Keep Truckee Green. In it are tips and tricks to giving those unwanted items a new life! 

*Note – some grocery stores are not selling bulk items at this time due to COVID-19. However, now is still a good time to set up your sustainable pantry that way you’re ready to go once they open back up. 

What green projects are you doing during quarantine?

Siobhan Kenney

About Siobhan Kenney

Siobhan traveled the American West as a National Park Ranger before setting down roots in Truckee. Outdoor adventure is her bread and butter and most days you can find her skiing, trail running, or backpacking.  Follow along with her adventures on Instagram @siokenney.