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Things the con­ser­va­tion-minded like myself have been ped­dling for what feels like mil­lennia to luke­warm recep­tion and incorrigibility:

  • Zero or near zero single-use paper prod­ucts. Replace with reusable utility clothes, rags, nap­kins, and towels. Have these in suf­fi­cient quan­ti­ties that laundry need only be done once every two weeks. For rea­sons of both con­ser­va­tion, economy, and plumbing, we’ve used single-ply, fully and near instan­ta­neously dis­solv­able toilet tissue for years. A roll lasts longer and is easier on the envi­ron­ment, your sewer lines, and your munic­ipal water-treat­ment facil­i­ties. This is, how­ever, an excel­lent time to con­sider an easy to install toilet-mounted bidet, that we might join the rest of the civ­i­lized world who are presently laughing hys­ter­i­cally at us.
  • Rely on simple but effec­tive cleaning agents that both facil­i­tate modern stan­dards of san­i­ta­tion and work without exces­sive labor. Instead of aerosols and pre­mixed spray bot­tles, buy liquid cleaners in half-gal­lons and gal­lons, pre­fer­ring sol­uble pow­ders and con­cen­trates when­ever pos­sible. Have reusable spray bot­tles on hand. There are simple for­mulas for all sorts of task-spe­cific appli­ca­tions. You needn’t abandon all the most staid out­comes of sci­en­tific inquiry for the often absur­dist claims of the “greens.” Bleach, ammonia, ethyl alcohol, per­oxide, vinegar. As has become self-evi­dent in the past days from Lysol sales alone, there are no eco-quacks in plague-stricken, quar­an­tined fox­holes. Rather than elim­i­nate the most effec­tive devices of modern chem­istry, try simply min­i­mizing their use. There’s suf­fi­cient and there’s exces­sive and neu­rotic. Most cleaning does not require strong chem­ical agents, but it’s very good to the have the option when it is required.
  • Thick, well-sized reusable rubber gloves. These can be readily ster­il­ized for most appli­ca­tions by wiping with an anti­septic like bleach. Don’t use alcohol, as this dries out and embrit­tles rubber. Check fre­quently for punc­tures or tears. Keep them away from sun­light and heat. Keep sev­eral pair on hand. Reusable nitrile gloves, while less con­ser­va­tion-minded, are latex-free and typ­i­cally treated with anti-bac­te­rial and anti-mildew coat­ings. They’re also the most punc­ture resis­tant and can be boiled or ster­il­ized in a steam bath or high-heat set­ting on the dish­washer. The Spectra® Fiber gloves used by food proces­sors can improve safety in the kitchen, min­i­mizing the risks of glove­less food han­dling. They are light-weight, low-linting, cut and punc­ture resis­tant, and the fibers do not absorb liq­uids. They can be washed and bleached for years of use.
  • Soap, specif­i­cally real soap in bar form is among the cheapest, most reli­able, smallest foot­print, and most con­ve­niently stock­piled of cleaning agents. Mois­tur­izing bars and body washes are just soap with lotion. Buy bar soap and solid or cream lotions and voilà, you have a gen­eral pur­pose cleaner than can be acquired in bulk and stored easily… and your skin won’t crack when you use it on yourself.
  • Both sterile and non-sterile med­ical sup­plies and man­uals of first aid are impor­tant things to have on hand at all times. Now that we all know that just because a doctor’s office, urgent care facility, or hos­pital emer­gency room are usu­ally con­ve­niently acces­sible, this is not always a given. Most non-phar­ma­ceu­tical med­ical sup­plies do not expire.