We now know that because of Covid-19, restrictions on our normal activities will be extended for some time. The lockdown is likely to be lifted very gradually and so we can expect that shopping will be affected for some time to come. After being at home for so long, safe shopping will help us to enjoy getting out and about again.
Do we carry on with online shopping?
Online shopping has been very helpful during lockdown – reducing the need for social distancing and allowing groceries to the delivered direct to the door. However, many online retailers have struggled to cope with demand during the pandemic and this has left shoppers unhappy with delays and low stock levels.
Online shopping has many advantages for the environment by reducing travel and fuel use and allowing small producers to offer niche products to the market that are often more sustainable. It may be that you have found a fantastic local veg box scheme that you want to continue to support or a small company that offers some great organic skincare. Here at Greenscents, we believe online shopping is perfect for many people and we hope that our new online customers will continue to purchase this way. Household products are usually bulky to carry (particularly if you order refills as we would recommend) and therefore ideal for home delivery.
Covid-19 can remain on cardboard for up to 24 hours so it is advisable to always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your parcel. If you are buying clothing or fabrics (new or vintage) it is a best to launder before using – opt for the highest temperature setting suitable for the fabric to reduce exposure to bacteria and viruses and air dry if possible.
If you have food items delivered to your home it is a good idea to wipe down glass, metal or plastic containers making sure you rinse your cloth fully, washing bacteria and viruses down the drain. Unpackaged items such as fruit and vegetables should be washed carefully before eating. Removing skins and cooking will both remove the low risk of catching Covid-19 from food.
What about visiting local shops & supermarkets?
Safe shopping is particularly important when we are travelling away from home. Always store your organic castile soap for hand washing and refillable bottle of water, mini multi-surface spray and cotton cloth in your bag to ensure that you can keep your hands and surfaces you touch clean and virus free. Social distancing measures are being enforced by most retailers so do make sure you comply with the 2m distancing rule.
For some people, especially the elderly or the vulnerable, disposable gloves may provide extra security while out shopping. If you decide to use gloves, remember not to touch your face. Dispose of your gloves by carefully rolling up the insides so you do not touch the outer skin. Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you can after removing your gloves.
There has been mixed advice about the use of masks. Anyone who is poorly should always wear a face mask to avoid contaminating others but these people should remain at home. For safe shopping, it can help to wear a mask to avoid virus droplets being transferred by others sneezing, coughing, speaking and breathing. However, tiny virus particles called aerosols can penetrate most masks. The good news is that recent research from the US suggests that a tightly woven cotton mask can act as an efficient physical barrier to most virus particles. The key thing is to ensure that the face mask you use covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly. A face mask will not protect your eyes from viral particles so there is still some risk.
For everybody it is essential to keep your hands as clean as possible and avoid touching your face. Even if you have used hand sanitiser while you are out, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water once you return home.
Keep using your reuseable shopping bags
We have all adjusted to taking our shopping bags with us, especially when buying groceries. There is no reason to stop reusing bags, as the chances of picking up coronavirus from a new bag is probably higher. Organic cotton bags are the most sustainable and if laundered regularly will ensure that the virus is removed. Plastic bags should be wiped inside and out (including the handles) with a cloth and an organic multi-surface spray. Ensure that the cloth is rinsed thoroughly before allowing the bags to air dry.
Don’t forget your local zero waste stores
Whenever you can, do visit your local zero waste shops. Retailers have special measures in place to ensure that containers and scoops are cleaned regularly and you can always take your own containers with you. There is every reason to maintain your sustainable buying habits while restrictions are in place. For the future, safe shopping will be all about respecting the environment and cutting down on plastic use. And it will reduce the risks of more viral pandemics too!
For more information on personal and household hygiene to protect you and your family, read our Practical Guide to Coronvirus.