Monthly Archives

December 2018

Sustainable Living

2019 Green Year’s Resolution

Looking back at 2018, I think we can all agree that 2018 marked the spark of something new. With Singapore naming it as the Year of Climate Action, the widespread adoption of banning plastic straws and lids and the evident green movement growing within Singapore, this is without a doubt, THE ‘eco-conscious’ year. It really heartens me to see that we are finally talking about the environment and taking more action overall. With 2018 finally coming to an end, let us not only celebrate this win for our community but also reflect on the next action to take for 2019.

The switch from disposables to reusables do indeed contribute to sustainability but let us all keep in mind that another highly contributing factor to climate change is – buying more than what you need. Just take a look at the changing dates of the Earth Overshoot Days for the past few years. The date marks when the annual demand for goods and services has surpassed the earth’s ability to regenerate new resources. The fact that the date comes a little bit earlier with each passing year is great evidence that we have overconsumed beyond the earth’s limits.

Thus, why not go one step further this year by making one of our new year’s resolution to consume mindfully. It might be a tough challenge to change a high-consumption lifestyle, but here are some beginning tips that can help along the way:

 

Determine if it is a need or a want.

We can all agree that we get really excited when we see a new product. I’m guilty of this and it is after all human nature! But, hold that thought. Before purchasing the product, why not take a step back to reflect upon the urgency of purchasing it. Ask yourself, will I really use this product frequently? Is this purchased for naught? Do I not have an item at home that can be used to serve the function I am looking for?

For example, before picking up that straw set, ask yourself: do you really need 1 straight straw, 1 bent straw and 1 bubble tea straw even if it’s all at a discounted price? Can’t you just get a single bubble tea straw to fit your needs then, since they are all well, straws?

Simply by taking a step back and reconsidering can help you determine if it is a need or a want!

 

Finding out how your products are made. 

If we all just purchased products of an unsustainable origin, it will just give companies a reason to continue through with exploiting our environment and producing unsustainably. That more than often gives out nasty byproducts into the atmosphere such as air pollution and more! It is important for us to recognise our power as a consumer. We have the power to make a change by our choices!

So why not, go the extra step to find out if your products are sustainably made or not? Just spend a little bit more time researching or reading up on how the product is being made and what materials are present in the product, can help you make a more informed decision!

By selecting a more sustainable product, it encourages companies who are doing it right. At the same time, it sends the message to companies that consumers are now watching what moves they are making, positive and negative, for our environment which will more than likely further encourage those companies to switch to a more sustainable approach to producing their goods.

 

Make sure you utilise it as much as possible!

Remember: even if your product was not purchased out of impulse and is produced sustainably if you don’t use it as much, it will likely have only a minor impact on our environment. To encourage usage of your products, do look upon the different options available and compare the pros and cons of using each product!

The ultimate goal is for you to choose a product that you see yourself using for many years or even a lifetime. The product should be able to fit perfectly in your life and bring you more conveniences than troubles. Don’t forget to factor your personal preference into this as well! Don’t worry, getting one made less sustainably but it’s something you are definitely going to enjoy beats everything!

With the year coming to an end and 2019 being the Year of Zero Waste, we hope these tips can help you achieve that goal and aid towards consuming mindfully for 2019 (and for life!).

Sustainable Living

A Holly Jolly Low Waste Christmas

Christmas – a festive season which is loved by almost everyone. The abundance of presents under the tree, a wide array of scrumptious food on the table and spending time with your loved ones.

Christmas originates from many religions and traditions. The Roman pagans had a weeklong festival called Saturnalia (which we can consider as Christmas holidays), mistletoe was introduced by Norse mythology and the true identity of Santa Claus is most probably Saint Nicolas who is from Turkey.

Brought forward a few centuries later, Christmas today is very different from the past as it has gradually transformed into a consumer or material-oriented season, where we buy new items for our loved ones. Then, it is certainly not a surprise that our global carbon footprint in this period is 6% higher than the rest of the year.

Christmas is giving the environment a hard time, but it doesn’t have to be this way. So how exactly can we celebrate a Christmas that is not only good for our loved ones but also a little better for Mother Earth?

Tip 1: Invest in Compostable Tableware

What is Christmas without a feast? Ordering food in or arranging for catering is a common practice during Christmas. Most caterers provide disposable cutleries and plates which indirectly creates a large amount of waste. The best option without a doubt is to use reusables to serve your guests. However, we understand the amount of time and effort taken to wash them up. So, if you want a better alternative to plastic disposables, why not try compostable or biodegradable tableware? An example would be Nature rustic’s Tableware who sell tableware that is 100% natural, made from naturally fallen Areca palm tree sheaths.

Tip 2: Go homemade!

An alternative to arranging catering would be Potluck or Homemade food? If you are one of the braves that decided to do so, you deserve a pat on your back! Potlucks are less energy consuming as the task of cooking is distributed between everyone. One little tip is to ask your guests to bring their food in reusable containers so that they can take the leftovers back!

Reports from the non-governmental organization Zero Waste indicates an expected rise of food waste by 10 to 20% during the festive season. If you are the one who is cooking all the Christmas food, remember that organization and preparation are key! Try planning ahead of time in terms of the quantity of food you will need to cook (remember to note if anyone has any intolerances or allergies to certain foods). It’s important to know who/ how many will be eating to cater as close as possible to their needs without overcooking. In case you can’t help but cook too much, you can always store food in the fridge. Take it out in case of extreme emergency AKA everyone ate all the food and are still starving, which will most likely not happen, but you can always take that precaution.

In any case, you will most likely have leftovers, don’t throw them away! Distribute them to the guests or freeze them for the days where you feel like cooking feels like an Olympic sport.

Tip 3: Be Your Own Christmas Elf

Christmas decorations today are quite tempting with the festive and cosy feel they give to the house. As pretty and festive as they may seem, Christmas decorations aren’t made in Latvia by elves with striped tights, but instead, 60% of them are manufactured in China by underpaid workers. Plus, some of these decorations are made of plastic and are one time use only!

I know what you’re going to ask me, but what do I replace my decorations with? Well, how about upcycled decorations? Believe it or not, you can actually make your own Christmas decorations with items you can find at home. Pinterest in full of kid’s tutorials on how to upcycle home items into festive decorations, if kids can do it so can you! Not only can you upcycle things from your house but you also get one of a kind decorations you cannot find anywhere else. A win win situation! However if you find yourself thinking about what you’re supposed to do with the decorations you still have, just keep them! Take good care of them so that you use them for many years then recycle or upcycle when possible.

For the Christmas tree, a reusable one is always better. But do make sure you have the commitment to set it up every year! If you don’t want to invest in one but still want the Christmas feel of a tree, you can make use of books, branches, bottles or anything you can find in your house to form a shape of a tree. Simply let your creativity guide you!

Tip 4: Be a Conscious Santa 

Lastly, the most important part of Christmas – Gifts! Christmas is very much about giving and getting gifts. This year for Christmas, try to think about the meaning behind the gift that you want to give. Find a gift which means something for the other person. It could be an item that they have been talking about it for a year, it could be a cause that they strongly believe in or it can also be an experience. Experiences are unique because people don’t experience the same way, they create invaluable memories. You can always offer them a bungee jumping session, a day doing tree climbing, a surfing class, a lip balm workshop or even a massage! (Believe me, they will thank you for the last one). If you do buy someone a gift, try to evaluate it based on the functionality and usability. The last thing you want is for someone to not use your present.

In terms of wrapping gifts, replace your wrapping paper with a nice cloth or simply put the gift in a carton bag which they can then reuse.

We have a product list which zero waste items you can offer, in case you want others to discover the wonderful world of Zero-waste. Do try one or more of our tips to reduce your waste during Christmas, every little step helps!