Implementing Circular Economy at home during the Covid-19 lockdown

This is a blog post written by Lee Roberts (Brunel University) on how adopting circular economy approaches at home is easier and more rewarding than you might think!

During the lockdown period of the coronavirus pandemic we are all adapting to spending more time at home. I have at times felt anxious about my health, financial implications, and future stability of work. I am grateful that I am still able to leave home for essential purchases and participating in daily exercise, and when I do the nature that greets me outside becomes my sanctuary. The calming effect of nature generates positivity and I appreciate the vast biodiversity around me which I have previously overlooked.   Somehow the grass seems greener, the birds are chirping louder, and due to lockdown, plastic bottles are no longer littered on my street. I feel a connection with the environment and the natural world. Kasriel (2020) sums up that nature can help our mood at this critical time during lockdown helping our mindset and mental health. The pandemic has revealed to us how vulnerable the planet is, this has made me appreciate our natural environment more and led me to reconsider my environmental impact.                          
At the beginning of the lockdown period I was curious as to how I could make positive changes and had an overwhelming urge to reduce our waste consumption at home. This was for two reasons, one because I had the opportunity to realise how much household waste we threw away, and two, because I was becoming acutely aware the intrinsic worth nature provides for human existence. Therefore, I have replaced the linear paradigm of take-make-waste to the circular economy approach of reduce, reuse or recycle at home (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2020). Changing the mindset to harmonise with nature and become more environmentally friendly has been less challenging than I anticipated!
Yes, at these uncertain times there is a perspective to save money but becoming more environmentally friendly and knowing you are contributing to implementing change for global stability is heartening to say the least. The daily mantra during lockdown has become reduce, reuse or recycle. I always reuse plastic bags for shopping but how could I make more changes?  Activities I have engaged in to promote a more circular economy is using egg boxes to plant herb seeds, building a wooden bird table (albeit a simple one!), visiting my local farm with reusable glass milk bottles to refill rather than buying plastic milk cartons from supermarkets, collecting rainfall in buckets and use to water plants in the garden rather than use a  hosepipe, composting food waste, turning off water when cleaning our teeth, and buying lose unwrapped fruit and vegetables instead of wrapped in plastic. The satisfaction in reducing my plastic consumption is immense!
The new household rationale is working a treat.  Constantly I am thinking how I can reuse something. What I plan to try next is growing my own vegetables, sewing unwanted clothes together to form cushions, and learn to repair a bicycle puncture rather than buy a new inner tube for the wheel. Changing daily habits relieves pressure on our delicate ecosystems by extending products lifecycle.
Hopefully, even after lockdown this new circular economy approach in my household will become the norm. If we can all alter some day-to-day habits, no matter how small, we can overall contribute to the transformational changes needed to sustain the planets natural resources. Some positivity has emerged from this lockdown. I am challenging my purchasing habits, reconnecting with nature and using the opportunity be commit to a more circular economy. I have reset the household mindset from take-make-waste, to reduce, reuse, recycle.

Let us give it a go!

Blog Published May 2020

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2020) Available at: [accessed 29 April 2020].
Kasriel, E. (2020). Coronavirus lockdown: Can nature help improve our mood? Available at:                     

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