Sustainability coordinator shares tips on conservation during pandemic

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

As residents practice social distancing and self-quarantining to avoid the coronavirus, Montevallo Sustainability Coordinator Olivia Barone has provided tips on how to take precautions without sacrificing the environment.

Alternatives to single-use products that will end up in the trash include using bar soaps inside of liquid soap in plastic bottles; using a cloth towel instead of a paper towel to disinfect surfaces, and assigning different hand towels for each family member; and, for laundry loads, switching from dryer sheets made from synthetic polyester and harsh chemicals to wool dryer balls, which are made from natural materials.

According to Barone, hot water does not disinfect laundry better than cold water; only chlorine or another disinfectant added to the load will do so.

Ensuring extra supplies of food are used and not wasted is another good practice, she said.

This can be done by keeping track of expiration dates and planning meals accordingly, as well as freezing extra food and buying the so-called “ugly fruits” that are identical in taste and nutrition.

Those who have stocked up on paper products can recycle the plastic wrap on each roll or pack through Montevallo’s partnership with Trex Plastic Film Recycling. Bins are located at Lucky’s Foodland, City Hall and the Montevallo Recycling Center.

“Also, a big part of sustainability is environmental and enjoying nature, so I wanted that to be a big take-home message: go outside,” Barone said.

An app called Seek by iNaturalist allows users to take a picture of any organism and view background information on it.

Barone also mentioned a symbolic event called Earth Hour on March 28 from 8:30-9:30 p.m.

“Citizens are asked to turn off their lights as a form of activism and support for the planet,” she said. “It’s a great event to go with social distancing because people can participate from their own homes.”