This blog is written by Recycle Coach as part of an ongoing content series with the Carton Council.


Scary as coronavirus is, experts say it’s destroyed by most good disinfectants. You may be using harsh chemicals in plastic bottles that aren’t safe for your family or the environment, when there are some amazing green cleaners out there that will keep you safe on all fronts. What cleaners do you use?


The fourth eco-habit to adopt involves investing in a potent eco-friendly disinfectant cleaner that won’t leach harmful chemicals into the environment.


Eco Household Cleaner Habit:

Step 1: What is your current household cleaner routine?


Step 2: What reward in this scenario will change your behavior?


Step 3: What cue triggers the use of chemical cleaners?

The Right Routine

Find an eco-friendly cleaner that doesn’t contain harmful substances, and still suits your budget. Check the official EPA list for brand names that kill COVID-19. The best solution is to buy a reusable glass container that you can refill – they’re available at many household supplies stores for a few dollars.


It makes the organic cleaner more affordable, and cuts down on plastic use. Plan ahead to make sure you have these available in your home. That might mean ordering online, or buying a few at a time.


Experts say that the key to correct home hygiene protocol is scrubbing surfaces, and leaving them wet for a while. First you wash, then disinfect them.


Takeaway: Create a new cleaning routine that suits you with eco-friendly products.



Disinfectant, alcohol-fused wipes are the new normal when cleaning at home these days. The problem is that these wipes have disastrous consequences for the Earth. They clog waterways, kill wildlife, and the chemicals they’re infused with aren’t safe for children or pets. How do you use disinfectant wipes at home?


Your fifth eco-friendly habit is about dropping your dependency on disinfectant wipes, and choosing to use a good old reusable cloth instead.


Reusable Cloth Habit:

Step 1: What is your current disposable wipes routine?


Step 2: What reward is going to change this behavior?


Step 3: What cue triggers the purchase of disposable wipes?


The Right Routine

Stop buying and using disinfectant wipes, paper towels and wet wipes. Instead, switch to material cloths for your daily cleaning needs. Avoid microfiber cloths that will release micro plastics into the environment that never decompose. A 100% cotton cloth is washable and endlessly reusable.


Keep several cloths on hand, and assign each cloth a room in your house. Wash them regularly, at least once a week or right after a deep clean. For an added bonus, get the cloths that are compostable at home and add them to your food waste bin on disposal.


Takeaway: Decide to kick the wet wipes habit and replace it with a reusable cloth routine this year.



Food and beverage cartons continue to be popular grocery items since lots of staple foods and beverages are packaged in cartons (like milk, juice, cream, soup, coconut water) and they have a long shelf-life.


Social distancing guidelines during COVID-19 have encouraged more people to buy groceries and cook at home more often, which means increased waste created in the home. How are you managing your household’s cartons and other recyclable packaging?


Your sixth environment-first habit is to implement a recycling process for your soup, juice, wine, broth, milk cartons and more, so that they can be recycled and used to make other products.


Carton Recycling Habit:

Step 1: What is your current food and beverage carton disposal routine?


Step 2: What reward in this instance will change your behavior to recycle?


Step 3: What cue triggers the existing behavior?

The Right Routine

Whether getting your groceries delivered or picking them up from the store, experts say that coronavirus is unlikely to be on packaging or delivered items.


To be extra cautious, you can use a disinfectant to wipe your cartons and other packaging down shortly after receiving them. Once your cartons have been used, it’s important that you correctly recycle them as normal.


This means making sure each carton is empty and has no food or liquid inside it. Don’t flatten your carton or throw away the cap! Make sure the cap is tightly screwed on before adding it to the same recycling bin as your plastic, cans and bottles.


All cartons are primarily made from paperboard and are recyclable. This is true even if they have thin layers of aluminum and/or plastic coating the paperboard (you’ll notice the shine). Once recycled, your cartons can be used to make new paper items like toilet paper, tissues and paper towels in high demand during the pandemic. Most municipalities accept carton materials, Find out by adding your zip code in here.


Takeaway: Come up with a quick and easy clean carton recycling routine during coronavirus.



Buying in bulk and buying local tends to be better for the environment. Buying in bulk often results in less packaging than buying large quantities of individually packaged items. Amongst many other benefits, buying local often means fresh food has less far to travel to arrive at its final destination. This creates a smaller carbon footprint. How are you choosing to shop during the COVID-19 outbreak?


Your final eco-conscious habit is to support smaller local stores, to buy products in bulk (within reason) and to make sure you correctly recycle all recyclable items.


Buy Local Then Recycle Habit:

Step 1: What is your current shopping routine?


Step 2: What reward would spark a change in behavior?


Step 3: What cue triggers your existing shopping and recycling habits?

The Right Routine

Find a local market or store where you can do the majority of your shopping. If they do home deliveries, consider opting for this service during COVID-19. Order in reasonable bulk to limit packaging and reduce travel times. Buy with product recycling in mind.


Choose fresh, unpackaged produce, or products with easily recyclable cartons. Avoid plastic packaging that can’t be recycled or reused. With the right purchasing habits, you will be able to recycle the majority of your cartons and packaging. Then create a regular recycling routine.


Takeaway: Transition to eco-aware local shopping and recycle the product cartons that you buy.



Whether you’re working from home, taking a break, or going to work and then coming home to a family practicing social distancing – adopting new, green habits is a step in the right direction. It’s good for your mental-health, your emotional wellbeing and the health of our planet.


It’s important to use this time to reflect on ways that you and your family can support and uplift your community. As these stay-at-home orders continue to lift, we urge you to continue the positive environmental habits that you’ve adopted while sheltering in place.


In particular – continue to recycle your cartons. Manufacturers need the fiber to make products that are in high demand right now – like paper towels, tissues and toilet paper.


We’ll be living with COVID-19 for some time, but with these new eco-friendly habits – you’ll help negate the environmental impact of the virus on the Earth. Start these at home with your family, and look back on this time as the moment you decided to stand for better recycling, sustainability and green practices.



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