Ever wonder where your trash goes? It likely goes to Semakau Landfill, a 7km perimeter rock bund between Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng. Each year, we send about 200,000 tonnes of solid waste and incinerated ash there.
The landfill was meant to meet our landfill needs until 2045, but at this rate, Semakau Landfill is likely to be out of space by 2035. Minimising the waste that goes into the landfills really begins at the source. The zero-waste concept that is gaining popularity, is based on the entire concept that waste should be eliminated from landfills. The approach is an overall reduction of consumption, minimising wastage, maximising recycling and using fewer resources.
What does that mean for us on a day-to-day basis? It may seem extreme to fit four years of trash into a single mason jar. However, at its heart, the zero-waste approach is more about being mindful of what you throw out and taking active steps to significantly reduce the amount of trash we send to our landfills.
1. Examine your lifestyle
“A great start is to look at the amount of trash you are producing in your home. Look at the ones that are unnecessary and think about how you can reduce it,” says Stephanie. Apart from plastics, food, and paper and cardboard are in second and third place. If we begin looking at our own consumption habits, we’ll start noticing the usual suspects and can begin working towards reducing it.
2. Tax yourself
We cannot control everything but being conscious of our carbon footprint helps. Although adding up your carbon footprint can be challenging, online calculators can give you a rough estimate of how much carbon you use. Things like what you eat, how you travel and how much you drive all add up. Take it a step further and see how you can offset or reduce your footprint.
3. Bring your own
One way of reducing your carbon footprint is to bring your own reusables. By bringing reusable straws, we could help reduce the 2.2 million plastic straws Singaporeans use a day. “When you leave the house, you will almost always remember to take your phone, wallet and keys. So, tweak that habit and bring a reusable water bottle with you or cutlery if you’re heading to the hawker for example,” said Stephanie.
4. Go green one day of the week
Set aside a day in a week where you go green. Stephanie recommends skipping meat, refusing anything you don’t need and recycling everything that cannot be avoided. Our diet is one of the most overlooked consumption habits. Heavy meat eaters unknowingly produce twice as much CO2 than vegetarians. By going vegetarian for even just one day in a week, you’ll be able to offset your carbon footprint.
5. Rethink your wardrobe
Fashion is the second largest polluting industries globally. The business creates more greenhouse emissions than international flights and shipping combined. Stephanie suggests swapping with friends, buying second hand, upcycling, and borrowing instead of buying. If you are buying, Stephanie suggests putting your money towards what you really need and supporting brands that are environmentally friendly and ethical.
If you would like to learn more about the zero waste lifestyle, visit go.dbs.com/recyclemorewasteless