According to Wikipedia, sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earths natural resources, and one’s personal resources.
On the surface, it can be incredibly daunting to reduce your environmental footprint, especially when you see that others around you are not doing their part. But when you break it down into small steps, you realise you have more power than you thought.
To make sustainable living more accessible, here are five tips to help you live a greener and happier sustainable life!
1. Use Reusable Packaging
Since 2019, NEA (National Environmental Agency) has launched a ‘Say YES to waste LESS‘ campaign to encourage the public to reduce usage of disposables. Such as food & beverage packaging, disposable carrier bag charges will be implemented at large supermarkets in mid-2023, to encourage shoppers to bring their own carriers to grocery stores instead of relying too much on the one-time plastic bag usage to help save the environment and reduce waste.
As such, if you’re back to the office, why not leave your lunchbox and a set of cutlery there so that you can conveniently use it whenever you buy takeaway lunches? Like Ron Tan, 42, who brings his own container to work and order food takeaways during lunch from hawker centres or food courts, to minimise food packaging; and Quinn Lim, 27, who opts for stainless steel straws for drinking instead of using plastic ones.
Did you know that there are also companies such as BarePack, which has tied up with food delivery companies such as FoodPanda, Grab Food and Deliveroo to bring your food orders to you in their reusable containers which you can return at their collection points, several of which are located conveniently in the CBD area.
GUESS Eco Earth
2. Wear Sustainable Fashion
Also known as eco-fashion, sustainable fashion aims to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry, built on equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity. If you’re eco-conscious but would also love to dress well (who doesn’t?), then you might need to do a bit more conscious choices whenever you shop for that next piece of clothing.
Needless to say, the first thing is to avoid fast fashion. Instead, go for slow fashion brands such as THE FORM, which focuses on clothes that are produced in low quantities to ensure only high quality garments are offered so that whichever item you purchase will last for a long time.
If indie brands are not quite your cup of tea, you’d be glad to know that big brands such as GUESS? has recently launched its latest Eco Earth Feel Denim initiative so as to contribute positively to the planet by using more certified sustainable materials and production techniques that limit environmental impact such as reduction in the usage of water during the dying process.
If you’re into designer luxury wear, why not save money and the planet by delving into the pre-loved or vintage? One such online marketplace is Vestiaire Collective, where you can get your pre-loved luxury fashion items from reputable merchants or individuals. Just remember to look at reviews!
Besides luxury, there are many avenues to either swap your pre-loved with others’ clothes or even sell your clothing that you seldom wear.
|The Green Collective||The Sustainability Project|
3. Shop at Planet-friendly Alternative Stores
Since its re-opening in June 2019, Funan Mall now housed a number of stores which are selling eco-friendly products in alignment with its Green design initiative that still stands strong even during the pandemic. Particularly The Green Collective, originally based at KINEX near Paya Lebar, with its second location now at Funan Mall.
You can also find delectable reusable houseware such as beeswax food wraps and cotton fabric snack bags at The Sustainability Project, where curated range of workshops are also conducted to make your own vegan soaps and shampoo bars while learning how to start a sustainable lifestyle at home.
There are also several low-waste grocery stores in Singapore such as The Scoop and The Source, which encourages customers to bring their own containers when shopping, to only buy what is needed and bring back empty containers for refills.
Speaking of refills, even beauty brands such as meeth and l’occitane now offer refill packs or discounts if you bring their empty bottles for refills. Here’s to looking more beautiful while maintaining a sustainable lifestyle!
Eel by UmamiMeats
No Harm Done coffee pods
4. Consume from Sustainable Sources
Now, this is where one will think we will be talking about plant-based sources, which we inadvertently have to mention, but there are some manufacturers who have managed to produce actual seafood and animal products in a non-traditional and sustainable manner! As such, why not choose such sources of products that taste exactly the same as what you are currently consuming but knowing you are not harming the earth while doing so.
Pioneering “not caught” seafood, UmamiMeats empowers a modern innovation to develop delicious, affordable, and healthy cultivated seafood that provides a sustainable alternative to the harmful impact of traditional fishing practices. What better way to protect ocean life while indulging in your favourite seafood cuisine.
Dairy lovers out there can enjoy Very Dairy which produces Asia’s first animal-free milk in Singapore. Planet-friendly, lactose-free Very Dairy is made entirely without cows using Perfect Day’s revolutionary animal-free whey protein to provide the same nutritious, delicious goodness as traditional milk.
If you love your coffee pods, why not get some local kopi using No Harm Done’s fully-compostable coffee pods? The packaging is also made from recycled material and is also biodegradable – making this a delicious as well as more environmentally-friendly alternative to some other brands of coffee pods, which may not be fully recycled. Another option is to get the reusable capsule, which you can fill with your favourite coffee powder (or tea) so that you further reduce any waste! Psst…did we mention that the used coffee grinds can be used as fertiliser for plants?
5. Practice Environmentally-friendly Habits
While the tropics are warm throughout the year, one way we help reduce our carbon footprints, for example is by reducing our air-conditioning through restricting usage period to during bed-time only.
We are sure many households have since opted for energy-saving light bulbs or/are using more LEDs, which may cost more than regular light bulbs, however consume less electricity with longer lifespans. Thus, it also lighten the load on your monthly electrical bills.
Fuel consumption can be greatly reduced by driving less often, while fully utilising the established public transport we have in Singapore.
Did you know that only about 50% of the items thrown into our recycling bins are recycled? This is because some people throw items into the bins and contaminate other disposed items, rendering them no longer recyclable. For example, used tissue paper (snot and other dirty stuff on them)cannot be recycled. As such, it is always important to check items carefully before appropriately disposing them by placing in the nearest blue recycling bins located at every residential area in Singapore. Remember to dispose of e-waste at the right places.
Singapore’s water demand expected to almost double by 2060, where amount of energy required to treat and produce water is likely to quadruple if business continues as usual, therefore greatly increasing our carbon footprint. Make every drop count by practicing good W-A-T-E-R saving habits below!
In conclusion, let’s aim to reduce carbon emissions and embrace sustainability through recycling, consuming more animal-free products and opting for public transport. Sustainable living does not require superhuman efforts or major lifestyle changes as there are now several easy alternatives. Everyone can play their part in saving our planet by adopting environmentally-conscious habits in our daily lives.
As contributors to Singapore’s Green Plan, let us work towards embracing a sustainable lifestyle by becoming a Zero Waste Nation powered by a circular economy with “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” as a norm to cultivate our lifestyle.
Images: Envato, THE FORM, Guess?, The Green Collective on Facebook, The Sustainability Project, Foodielicious. Public Utilities Board