New year, new you right? This year, why not make some positive and sustainable changes that are good for the environment and for your wallet.
Cut the crap and ditch disposables
Globally, over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced to date with 6.3 billion metric tons becoming plastic waste that ends up in oceans and landfills.
While ditching plastic completely might seem unrealistic, there are some easy ways to reduce the amount you use.
- Replace cling wrap with reusable beeswax wraps that are great for storing leftovers.
- Singaporeans used almost 3 billion plastic bags in 2011 or about 58 plastic bags per person each year, and we have an abysmal recycling rate of 7% for plastics. Major local supermarket chains are also in talks to start charging ten or twenty cents for each plastic bag in 2018, so it’s a great time to switch to reusable shopping bags.
- Opt for natural tableware and biodegradable storage containers made of bamboo and rice husks.
- Use bamboo or glass straws instead of plastic straws and consider using biodegradable disposable plates for parties.
- Did you know that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute? Bring your own your own reusable bottle or coffee tumbler with you. Not only will you help the environment, you might also save a few dollars as most cafes offer a discount if you bring your own tumbler.
Go au naturel with eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products
- Switch to ethical, humane and natural personal care products. We love those by Human Nature and Dr Bronner’s that are affordable and easily available in Singapore.
- Try making your own whole food skincare products like DIY herbal seaweed masks or homemade whipped body butter.
- Say no to microbeads and switch to natural exfoliants like apricot kernels or jojoba beads. Found in toiletries like toothpaste, and face and body scrubs, microbeads get washed into oceans and are ingested by fish and subsequently by us.
- There’s no denying that we through a lot of tissue, wet wipes and of course, toilet paper. But instead of paper pulp tissue, why not use bamboo ones that are biodegradable and hypoallergenic.
Reduce costs and your carbon footprint
- Carpooling can help drivers recover costs and help passengers save money, while reduce greenhouse gas emissions from driving. Try driving or hitching from local companies like Grab and RYDE.
- Switch off your electronic appliances and mobile phone chargers at the power socket instead of leaving them on standby, which can add to your electricity bill.
- Switch to cold water when washing your clothes. It’s a common misconception that hot water means cleaner clothes, but in actual fact, it really doesn’t. Heating the water accounts for 90% of your washing machine’s power usage.
- Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using a dryer. The good news is, you probably already do this. But if the weather is just not cooperating, try putting a dry towel in the dryer with your wet clothes – it’ll make the clothes dry faster.
- Charge your phone on airplane mode as it will charge faster and use less power
- Eat less meat, which will help dramatically reduce methane emissions from farming livestock.
- Choose local produce and dine at local farm-to-table eateries to reduce the carbon emissions from food shipments.
This article first appeared on Asia For Good. For more on social enterprises and socially conscious living, visit www.asiaforgood.com