Millions of Americans are staying at home right now to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. Maybe you’re even reading this from your couch while streaming Netflix. But rather than watching The Office yet again, you could take up a new hobby to help pass the time.
These three activities are not as hard to do as you might think. Plus, they’re a great way to stay active at home. Oh, and did we mention that they’re sustainable and eco-friendly?
#1. Fine-tune your cooking skills with a week-long plant-based meals challenge.
Staying healthy at home starts with a balanced diet and knowing a few quick and easy recipes that are full of beneficial nutrients.
A great way to do this, especially while we’re all at-home chefs, is taking on a plant-based cooking challenge. Plant-Based on a Budget maps out a strategy for how to maximize veggies for nutrient-rich recipes to take you through a full week.
And by limiting meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, from your diet, you’ll also be helping the environment. On a per-calorie basis, meat products have a larger carbon footprint due to animals’ methane emissions and the production process.
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#2. Start a seedling garden from regenerative fruits and vegetables.
Those seeds, stalks, and stems on the vegetable or fruit you’re cutting might seem inedible, but they don’t have to end up in the trash.
Composting is a great way to turn food scraps into nutrient-rich soil, but there’s another zero-waste tactic that can lead to a new garden hobby. There are a few vegetables and fruits that have regenerative seeds perfect for starting a seedling garden—a perfect way to eliminate food waste and create a more sustainable garden this summer.
A summer strawberry patch is as easy as using tweezers to remove seeds from the skin of a strawberry. Plant those seeds in a quarter-inch pot with potting soil, and in no time, you’ll start to see strawberry sprouts. Just remember to water the container daily and place your seedling garden inside on a sunny windowsill. Transplant the seedlings outside in late spring or early summer.
If you like cooking with heat and spice, try regenerating jalapeños or other pepper plants. Always remember to handle hot peppers carefully with a pair of gloves on. While the seeds are great for regrowing, the oil on each seed contains a burning heat that can do real damage to exposed skin. Just like strawberries, pepper seedlings will grow quickly in an indoor seedling garden that has plenty of water and light.
#3. Repurpose something old into something new.
Does your coffee table have watermarks on it? Maybe your dresser has been nicked and dinged one too many times? Most people might toss out those old pieces and replace them with something new. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans throw away 12 million tons of home furniture and furnishings each year.
A lot of that is “fast furniture”—home goods that are cheap and easy to obtain, but that likely last only a few years before they’re tossed out—an issue the New Republic has called “an environmental fiasco.”
DIY site The Spruce outlines some common tools you can use to extend the life of an old piece of wooden furniture. By giving your furniture new life, you’ll help avoid “fast furniture purchases” that contribute to excessive waste. And who knows? You may be really proud of your handiwork.