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Jo

Sustainable Living

Your New Best Friend – Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cup. A word that is no longer an unknown concept to most women in Singapore. A word that to this day is still a topic that most of us shy away from. A word that possesses potentially great power to contribute to the conservation to the environment.

We recently sat down with Pritha, founder of the Soul Cup, to share with us her experience of incorporating the menstrual cup into her life. Pritha’s experience with menstrual cups started about 5 years back – when it was not much heard of in Singapore. After seeing an advertisement for menstrual cups in 2013, she had it shipped from the US. As she was travelling around India and South East Asia for work, she was willing to try anything that would make her period more comfortable. Since then, she became a menstrual cup ambassador, working to spread the message and awareness of the menstrual cup and making it more accessible to women in Singapore.

While there are many reasons to “cup-vert”, here are a few of Pritha’s personal favourite reasons:

1. You Do Not Feel Anything and You Can Do Anything You Want With It

The most commonly asked question about a menstrual cup is, “Don’t you feel it in your body?”. Believe it or not, the answer is no! As the menstrual cup only comes in contact with the area free of sensory nerves, there is little to no feeling when you are wearing it. Sometimes, you might even forget that you are wearing it, unlike the usual pads that hang beneath you. But do remember to give the cups a wash, no matter any circumstances, before using them.

Furthermore, wearing sanitary pads limits your movement and activities. You cannot swim and it feels uncomfortable playing nearly any sport. Menstrual cups, on the other hand, give you the liberty to swim, do yoga, play sports and do whatever you are comfortable doing on your periods.

2. Free of Chemicals!

Most pads and tampons use toxic and harmful chemicals for absorption. Certain tests reveal that high absorbent pads may contain dioxins, synthetic fibres and petrochemical additives. Chlorine bleach is also often used to give pads and tampons the super “white and clean” look. So, it is might not the wisest choice to use these items for your intimates.  A menstrual cup is made of medical grade silicone which is relatively more inert and doesn’t react with your body.

3. Easy to Clean like ABC

How to wash your menstrual cups? Well, it is done in 1 to 2 simple steps!

As your body fluids do not stick easily to the cups, they can be washed out with water. Flush the cup with water down into the toilet or the shower and you are good to use it again.

If you are emptying and reinserting your menstrual cup in a public toilet, you can clean it with some water (just carry a small bottle) or special menstrual cup wipes or clean toilet paper before reinserting it.

4. Killing Two Birds in One Stone – Benefits the Environment and Your Pocket

A menstrual cup is reusable and hence you need to buy just 1 and you can use it for up to 10 years. Not only do you no longer have to pay for every period, but you also reduce waste that goes directly into the . Given that you use a menstrual cup for 10 years, you could save over thousands of pads / tampons from going into landfill and you can do the math on how much money that saves you over 10 years. Savings are definitely much more than the initial investment in the menstrual cup!

 

Convinced to become a cup-vert now? Soul Cup is giving you a special discount of $5 off your menstrual cup purchase. Simply head over to the website here and key in the code SUSTAIN5 for your discount. If you have more questions about the menstrual cup, head over to our Facebook page and drop us a message! We love answering all your questions, no matter how basic or silly they may seem.

 

Sustainable Living

Your Guide to Purchasing Reusable Straw

A worldwide war has been declared against an item that no one considered about its harm previously. Plastic. An evident movement has been taking place both locally and internationally with bans against it. In our little red dots, numerous cafés have stopped serving with straws and other F&Bs have put a ban on them. Hence, sparking a new revolution – Reusable straws.

The term reusable straw is no longer a stranger to us. They come in many forms and materials – bamboo, stainless steel, glass and silicon. It is also evident that due to the demand of these straws, the number of organisations selling reusable straw in Singapore has been growing exponentially over the past few months. With a price range from as low as $1 to as high as $13, your quest for a straw can be easily fulfilled.

But hold that thought! Do you really need that straw? Is it a want or a need? Which straw should you get? Just before you purchase it, here are some things to take into consideration before buying your first one!

 

Is it a need or a want? Think twice before purchasing.

The claim on whether the purchase of a reusable straw is a hype may or may not be true. Hence, the best action to do as a consumer is to evaluate the reason for purchasing the straw and to educate yourself on why you need a straw. Straws are usually used by various groups such as those with sensitive teeth, children, the disabled or those who do not wish to stain their teeth by liquids such as coffee or tea. Most of the time, using a straw is not necessary unless you are drinking thicker liquids (etc milkshake, fruit juice) or drinks with toppings in them (etc bubble tea, fruit tea).

 

It is an investment. You are making a commitment.

Once you have gotten the straw, you need to be aware that it is a lifelong commitment that you have taken. Take a straw as a pet. You need to take care of it, maintain it, bring it out and clean it for many years, most likely even a lifetime. The worse thing to do it probably to abandon it after a few months or years.

The production of a reusable straw requires more resources as compared to a plastic straw. Hence, it will be contradictory if you purchase one and do not commit to using it as the number of resources extracted to produce that reusable straw might actually cause more harm than using a plastic straw.

So, if you do not foresee yourself putting in that amount of effort, then maybe you would like to put that reusable straw down.

 

Educate yourself! Know the variation available in the market and their features.

So which straw should you get? With the large variety available in the market, it is difficult to make a decision sometimes. Each straw has their pros and cons and we shall explain them based on our understanding!

Bamboo straw:

These are the 100% natural option which is biodegradable and compostable. They are kid friendly as well! But do take note that in order to clean them, you need to boil them with vinegar water on a monthly basis. Sometimes, due to Singapore’s humidity, these straws are prone to growing mould easily. Hence, do make sure you keep them dry after washing!

Borosilicate glass straw:

Maintenance and hygiene are not much of an issue for these straws. When you are washing them, you can see the interior of the straws which help you to identify any dirt or remnants. Borosilicate glass is also known for being lightweight and can withstand hot and cold temperatures. However, taking into consideration that it is glass, there is still the possibility of them breaking if you are ever careless!

Stainless Steel straw:

These straws do not have any issue in terms of hygiene or durability. For cleaning, you just have to wash them with a cleaning brush. In terms of durability, they are not expected to break.

As a consumer, do note on the quality of the stainless steel that you are purchasing. One of the most common stainless steel grade is 304 or otherwise known as 18/8 (which contains 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel). 304 can withstand corrosion from most oxidizing acids and its durability makes it easy to sanitize. It is commonly used kitchen and food applications; in buildings, décor, and site furnishings.

 

You got your straw! Now, onto the next step.

Your sustainable lifestyle does not just stop at straws but instead starts from it. Now that you have replaced the small plastic item in your life, look at other areas that you can make simple changes. For example, making the effort to bring your bottle in addition to bringing your straw. A simple action does help a lot one way or another!

The most impactful plastic switch of all might actually be plastic bags, with Singapore plastic addiction no longer being something in secret. Find small and simple ways to reduce your overall consumption of disposable and help Mother Earth by being a conscious consumer! Trust us, the future generation will thank you for that 😉

Sustainable Living

How to be a Zero Waste Book Lover

As a bibliomaniac, we know the struggle faced while trying to lead a zero-waste lifestyle. To desire to be able to read as many books as you wish to and at the same time, lead a sustainable lifestyle. To resist the urge of purchasing that new book to add into your ever-growing collection of book.

But fret not! Here are some tips on how to be sustainable while being able to gobble those books like no one’s business! (Based on our own experiences 😉 )

 

Go back to the basics – Borrow

The very first step we all can do is simply to borrow books! Head down to your nearest public library and browse through the wide selection it has to offer. With 27 public libraries spread across Singapore, these are easily accessible to all of us! If you are a student, head over to your school library and enjoy the resources you can tap on.

Besides borrowing from the library, you can borrow from your friends or family members!

 

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure – Preloved Books

Preloved books are another considerate way to prevent books from going into the landfills. In Singapore, there are so many platforms that allow you to purchase second-hand books. These books are usually in good condition and come at very affordable prices, ranging from $5 to $10!

For physical shops, you can check out:

  • Bookwhale: A newly launched online marketplace that makes buying and selling pre-loved books easy! They provide a scan-to-list method and direct shipping services to readers for a much better experience. In addition, they have teamed up with various cafes to place a collection of books in which you can take, donate or swap.
  • Bras Basah Complex: There are at least 3 -4 shops dedicated to selling pre-loved books!
  • Carousell: Needless to say, we are well aware that carousell has a wide range of preloved books waiting for you to bring them home!
  • Dignity Mama Stall: An initiative of Project Dignity Pte Ltd for youths with special needs, Dignity Mama Stall allow mum to co-work with their children and equips youth with the skills to run and manage a stall. All of the pre-loved books sold are donated, sorted and priced reasonably to generate income.

 

Swap them all!

Swapping is the new buying. Besides borrowing and purchasing, why not do a book swap? Swap your personal collections with others and also get a glimpse into their personal collections.

Some books swapping groups in Singapore include:

  • Books & Beer: One of the most established book swaps in Singapore, Books & Beer has been around since June 2011. Book swaps are organised once every two months and typically takes place over three hours during a weekend, at a centrally-located F&B venue. While the swop is on-going, attendees will typically purchase a drink or two, engage in conversation with new friends, read a new book they’ve picked up…
  • The Book Swap Club: Primarily a book-swapping group, this club might engage in some form of socialising while swapping and maybe even discuss the books we intend to exchange. It will not be like other book/reading clubs where you get together to discuss a particular book, but it’s meant for you to refresh your library with other books you have not read. They meet every 2 months at a convenient location, usually in town after work.
  • Facebook Group (Singapore Books Free Used Buy Sell Swap Exchange Fiction NonFiction): With about 500 members on board, this Facebook Group is a platform for you to swap, sell, exchange any types of books!

 

Go Digital

As much as we are heading towards a digital society, you can participate too with books! But before you purchase a Kindle or any other forms of e-reader, do think twice!  According to one life-cycle analysis of printed books versus e-readers, the energy, water, and raw materials needed to make a single e-reader is equal to that of 40-to-50 books. In terms of the effect on the climate, the emissions created by a single e-reader are equal to roughly 100 books.   Hence, only if you are very sure that you are an avid reader, then go ahead and get that e-reader.

An alternative? Why not borrow e-books from the National Library? Did you know, NLB ebooks can be browsed and searched via eReads? Each book can be borrowed for a period of about 21 days. Not only does it save you the money from spending on an e-reader, it also allows you to enjoy a wide range of books!

 

Know of any other ways to be a sustainable book lover? Share them with us!

Sustainable Living

A Peek Into Veganism

The ‘V’ word – a word so sensitive or controversial. A lifestyle that was previously labelled extreme, entirely alien, preachy and associated with hippies, is now being viewed with a more positive lens and becoming more commonplace in society. Yes, you guessed it right, this ‘V’ word stands for Vegan.

In the last 3 years, there has been a 600% increase in the number of people who identify as a vegan in the U.S and in the UK, this figure was at 350%. For this little red dot, Veganism is growing as well. Singapore currently ranks 6th on the Happy Cow app for the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, with 40 fully vegan restaurants and 590 vegan/ vegetarian-friendly places!

So, what does being vegan actually mean? There is a difference between a vegan lifestyle and a vegan diet. A vegan diet is a plant-based diet, one which excludes the consumption of any animal product and byproduct. This includes meat, eggs, dairy products and honey. On the other hand, a vegan lifestyle is all-encompassing and includes living compassionately not just through one’s diet, but also by not supporting animal cruelty in the purchase of any product.

By now, many questions will probably have popped up in your mind: What can you even eat? Where do you get your protein? Isn’t it expensive? Isn’t hard to become vegan?  Well, here are some of the most commonly asked questions being answered by our writer, Jasmine Hussain!

What can you eat?

As a vegan, there is an abundance of food that you can eat! This is a huge common misconception that people have about the vegan diet. Once they hear the words ‘no meat’, a blank appears in their heads and they are presented with the toughest challenge of having to think of what other than a salad can vegans eat.

Rice, potatoes, pasta, beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses – the supermarket is your oyster! (perhaps inappropriate for a vegan). Going vegan does not mean having to give up all your favourite foods. Think of any dish and you can probably find a vegan recipe for it online. You’ll even find new favourite foods when you go vegan!

Your options are limitless when it comes to vegan food and if you do live in Singapore, it’s basically vegan paradise.

Where do you get your protein?

Contrary to popular belief, being protein deficient is really only seen in people who are malnutrition or people who are suffering from a calorie deficit. All plant foods have protein and there is no need to go out of your way to find ‘sources’ of protein. When it comes to greens, spinach, broccoli, kale and even peas are great sources of protein. Nuts, seeds, legumes e.g. chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh and even oats are excellent sources of protein. Even fruits have protein! I can go on for ages, but I’m just making the point that you will never miss out on protein when you go vegan.

Isn’t it expensive?

No, it is not. Do not be fooled by all the superfoods out there, which many restaurants, cafes and YouTubers use in preparing their vegan meals. There is no need for you to buy quinoa, chia seeds, coconut oil, cold-pressed juices or acai powder. In fact, being vegan is often much cheaper than adopting an omnivore’s diet because a plant-based diet consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables and grains cost less than one that incorporates meat. You can lead an equally healthy vegan diet and get in all your daily nutritional requirements without all these expensive superfoods.

Meat substitutes and dairy-free products such as nut milks and yoghurts, and soy-based cheese are more expensive than your regular meat and dairy products, however, these are not necessary items for one’s pantry. These are the products often used in restaurants and cafes trying to appeal to the consumer market with their unique and creative vegan dishes, which explains why vegan restaurants or cafes are often more expensive.

On a more positive note, prices for these products are in fact falling due to the rising demand for vegan products and the fact that more people are adopting a vegan diet. Hooray!

Don’t you miss eating meat?

For me, not at all. I don’t miss meat, not one bit. This was because I felt too strongly about my values and beliefs and couldn’t possibly bear the idea of having to eat meat ever again knowing how harmful it was to the environment and to the animals. When eating out, I will always search for the menu online and check if there are any vegan options available. When there aren’t any obvious options, I will then look for options that I can make vegan.

For example, when going to a pizza place, just ask for a pizza without cheese and a whole bunch of vegetables on it (mushrooms, pineapple, spinach, peppers etc., these are all ingredients that the pizzeria already has), of course first making sure that the base has no dairy, which is usually the case. Small changes like this could easily make many non-vegan dishes vegan and if you are not sure about it, simply call the restaurant in advance and ask if there is something they can do. More often that not, they will be more than willing to help. In the rare case that there is absolutely nothing for you to eat, don’t ever feel shy about bringing your own food to the restaurant after letting them know your reasons why (this has never happened in my experience), or simply ask your friend or family to change the location of the restaurant.

Isn’t it hard to become vegan?

It has been just short of three years of my journey as a vegan and it has been a truly exciting and inspiring one. I have become the most compassionate version of myself, my skin has never been so clear (cutting out dairy really helps) and food has just become so much more exciting because vegan cuisine is remarkably experimental and creative and you can honestly find a vegan version of every food item on the market – well in my experience at least.

However, I must say that my transition into veganism has been a rather smooth sailing because I had the advantage of moving away from home to an amazing city that is incredibly vegan friendly and to an environment where I had the privilege of cooking for myself and therefore not trouble my family to make adjustments for my diet.

At the same time, I am blessed with an amazing, supportive family that is proud of me for making this change and has never made me feel like I was being difficult for going vegan. They did question my decision initially, but only out of concern that I would not be able to get all the nutrients required to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. However, after doing research, I was able to confidently present my case of how I would be able to nourish myself well and even become healthier than I was before. Today, my family actually enjoys making vegan dishes for me at home and we enjoy exploring the countless number of vegan restaurants and cafes in Singapore.

As you can see, being vegan is not so bad after all! For those who want to try it out, the change does not have to be drastic, it could simply be in the form of meatless Mondays or simply swapping the dairy milk for a nut milk like soy milk in your oatmeals or cereals. There is so much inspiration online – YouTube, Pinterest or just Google for easy tips on how small changes could veganise your regular meals. Help make the world a better place by eating lower down on the food chain, after all, being vegan is the single biggest thing one can do to combat climate change.

To finish off, I must highlight that being vegan is not the only dietary change you can make to combat climate change. Eating lower down on the food chain does make an impact and this could simply be in the form of meat-free Mondays, or eating red meat only once a week. It is not feasible for everyone to become vegan, in fact, it is impossible. But if everyone played a part in making small dietary changes, this would without a doubt accumulate to a significant positive impact on our environment.

Green Talk

Interview with Treedots

Started out by Jiacai, Nicholas, and Tylor, Treedots was formed with the mission of minimising food waste. This is achieved through a self-sustaining ecosystem by aggregating F&B businesses on different points of the value chain. Hence, ensuring that there is no longer a need to dispose of perfectly edible food. Plus, did you know they are Asia first online outlet mall for food?

Curious as to how and why they started out and what their future plans are?

Read the full interview as answered by  Treedot’s COO, Nicholas!

 

TSP: What inspired you to start TreeDots?

N: All three founders in TreeDots have different reasons that pushed us to drop all our current jobs to begin TreeDots.

Personally, for me, I would say my main inspiration came from my trip to Europe where I noticed that there was always this corner in their local supermarts where food products are deeply discounted – we are talking about 50 pence a quarter leg kind of cheap here! After probing around a little more, I then noticed that these food products were all due to be thrown away in a matter of days and hence were discounted to clear them out before they finally become inedible. That really ignited the idea in my head, especially after I found out that the industry norm in Singapore is that 6 months before expiry is considered expired.

 

TSP: Can you tell us a few challenges you faced when launching TreeDots Singapore? 

N: I would say the toughest part at the start was getting people, especially the sellers, to realise that this is an issue. The F&B industry in Singapore/Asia is extremely traditional and comfortable in whatever they have been doing. Getting them to put aside resources to allocate such undesirables provides little additional value to their company. Thinking of a way to align their business needs with our social mission was thence vital to get this movement going, and the amount of resistance faced while doing so was incredible – one of our founders got spat on while pitching the idea, some called the cops on us for trespassing, etc. Buyers were unsure too and we had to constantly assure them, or think of new marketing strategies to further spread awareness that TreeDots products are perfectly good products too!

Of course, once that was out of the way, logistics then became our greatest concern. Breaking bulks into more consumable sizes means inventory, having specific delivery timings means proper scheduling…the entire operations plan was a nightmare and nothing could really be fixed at the start since we were all new to the F&B scene. It was only after when we truly understood the industry then we managed to set some standard operating procedures in place.

 

TSP: Since the launch of the organisation, what is the general response from the public?

N: I would say responses from the public had been pretty mixed thus far, we have gotten people who are totally against the entire idea and think that blemished products are inedible but we have also gotten people who are fully supportive of it and shop with us on a consistent basis. I would say, it will definitely take awhile and loads of educating before there would be widespread acceptance of TreeDots products. We do see huge support from all the various green communities in Singapore, trying hard together with us to promote the zero waste culture. A lot of work still needs to be done before we reach there!

 

TSP: Can you share with us a few statistics on the impact of TreeDots since it has been launched?

N: After just a short few months in operations, TreeDots had successfully saved more than a tonne of food products from going to the bin! We have also gotten more than 150 companies onboard to further our initiatives.

 

TSP: For those who are interested in getting involved with TreeDots, can you share 2 to 3 quick and easy steps to get started?

N: For businesses, simply drop an email to hello@thetreedots.com indicating if you would like to be a seller or buyer or both and we will get in touch with you!

As for all the other people out there, start by adopting a veggie box with us, it will be a little bundle of surprise at a very affordable price. Simply head over to https://www.thetreedots.com/ to start shopping with us!

We also accept any voluntary help with us!

 

TSP: What is the main goal for TreeDots and what actions will be taken to achieve that goal?

N: Our short-term goal is really to reduce as much food waste as possible on a national scale, in order to do that we have to improve some algorithms on our end regarding product-matching so we are able to match our buyers and sellers to ensure a higher success in sales.

Long-term goal would definitely be to touch on every other waste out there and think of more ways to upcycle everything, this requires collaborations with other companies and more expansion!

 

TSP: What are some of your future plans for the organisation? 

N: We will be involved in more talks and events to further spread our mission and get people to buy such under-appreciated products. Of course, there are a lot of talks regarding potential collaborations ongoing at the moment, and one of them will be coming out soon!

Do follow our Instagram or Facebook page @thetreedots to stay updated on all our happenings!

Others

Why Embracing Ugly Food Reflects Your Inner Good

This is an article written by Yasira Yusoff from Food Unfiltered and edited by The Sustainability Project

“Make sure to pick the best-looking apple, all right?”

“If it’s bruised, it’s probably rotten on the inside!”

“It has spots so it must be bad…”

Are these phrases familiar to you? Well, growing up, we were taught that the best indicator of quality while picking our fruits and vegetables is their external appearance. Our mothers told us to avoid apples that had a dent in them, our fathers told us to stay far away from oddly-shaped carrots and our grandparents told us to throw out spotted mangoes. But what we weren’t told was that these blemishes are purely on the surface. Ugly food meant just that – ugly on the outside, but perfectly edible, nutritious and tasty on the inside.

As a result, this habit we picked up has developed into a bias that that has become second nature when it comes to grocery shopping and consuming food. We shy away from bruised produce at the supermarket and are quick to toss out any vegetable that looks less fresh. In a survey conducted among 243 Singaporeans aged 20 to 59 by the Food Unfiltered campaign, it was found that 68.1% of respondents were unwilling to purchase ugly food and 40.7% of respondents were unable to look past slight external flaws and consume ugly food. A greater cause for concern? It was found that even though 93.7% of respondents indicated they were environmentally conscious, almost two in five of them indicated they would continue to refuse ugly food — even after learning that doing so would help to reduce food waste.

Unfortunately, this prejudice we hold has contributed greatly to the issue of cosmetic filtering — the discarding of food that does not meet perceived or market standards. It not only occurs on the consumer level but has also has led retailers and suppliers to reject them from their stores. Ugly food is deemed as unfit for sale, so both retailers and suppliers much rather throw them out than waste resources to transport and store them appropriately. With this understanding, it is no surprise that 46% of all food produced globally does not make it from farm to fork due to imperfect appearances.

We hold misconceptions about ugly food — that they’re less fresh, less nutritious, less tasty and even pose health risks. But this is what we assume of them, solely due to their imperfect appearances. If we open up to ugly good, we can discover the inner good.

We know it’s hard to change our habits, but here are three easy ways to change your perceptions of ugly food and learn to love them:

Know the facts behind ugly food and their impact on the environment

Ugly food is simply any food that is perfectly edible but appears unappealing because they are odd-shaped, discoloured or slightly blemished. They are subjected to cosmetic filtering at every point of the supply chain and even worse, improper handling by consumer (yes, people like me and you!) is a common occurrence that renders the food unfit for sale.

Give ugly food a chance

Ugly food might be off-putting at first glance but if you pick them up and cut them open, you’ll discover that they’re no different on the inside from their perfect-looking counterparts. You’ll find that they are equally tasty and just as fresh as perfect-looking food. Don’t believe us? Check out our mini-series, Ugly Food: Fact Checked, to hear a nutritionist debunk myths about ugly food. At the core, we eat to get the nutrients we need to maintain our health and feel good, and ugly food does that just as well!

Transform ugly food

Surface blemishes can easily be removed by slicing off a bruised portion or removing discoloured skin. If we are using ugly food in meal preparation, skinning and slicing are common practices. Spotted fruits such as bananas can be used in baking and juicing instead — the spots actually indicate higher sugar content, which means you can replace the use of artificial sweeteners with some natural sugars. The bruised portion of vegetables can be cut off and the rest of the it puréed into soups.

At the end of the day, we only see what’s on our plate and not the raw ingredient. Challenge yourself to transform ugly food into something that’s beautiful when presented on the plate.

About Food Unfiltered

Food Unfiltered is an initiative that celebrates ugly food. Led by four final-year students from NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, it strives to reduce food waste by embracing the natural goodness of food, regardless of their external appearances.

For more information, please visit their Facebook Page and Instagram!

Sustainable Businesses

Foreword Coffee – Coffee With A Conscience

But first, coffee – this is the motto for all the coffee lovers around the world and we definitely do love our coffee fix! In Singapore, you can find your daily supply of coffee from a range of places – our local coffee shop, cafes, Starbucks and many others. But how easy is it to find a coffee roaster that serves coffee with a conscience? Well, look no further, as this is where Foreword Coffee comes in!

Founded in August 2017 at 8 College Ave East, Foreword Coffee is a coffee roaster that envisions a world unprejudiced to the differences between people. It concentrates on finding a sustainable solution to empower persons with special needs and also to be an advocate for the community. Hence, allowing the social stigma which the society holds towards the persons with disabilities (PWD) community to be broken. In addition, Foreword Coffee aspire to be a “good” and “sustainable” company from cherry to the cup.

So, if you have yet been to their shop, here are a few reasons why you should check them out!

Environment Advocates

How rare is it to find a coffee roaster that is plastic free?

The steps taken by Foreword Coffee to be plastic free is:

  1. Serving their cold drinks in paper cups
  2. Having a no straws policy (PS they sell reusable straws too!)

Besides that, Foreword Coffee educates and encourages their customers to adopt a more sustainable coffee drinking culture by bringing their own cups. Foreword Coffee is part of the BYO Singapore initiative which encourages their customers to bring their own cups for their takeaways by offering a 10% discount.

Did we forget to mention that their used coffee grounds are turned into compost?

Hence, Foreword Coffee regards the environment of great importance and aims to strive for a more sustainable coffee consumption culture here in Singapore.

 

Empowering Those With Disabilities

When you order your coffee from Foreword Coffee, you might notice something special about their employees. Foreword Coffee currently employs a barista who is deaf and is also training an autistic youth to be a barista. What is the reasoning behind this decision? Well, Foreword Coffee believes strongly in empowering people with disabilities. This is evident through the design in their workplace in which they create a workflow to suit their abilities and encourage interaction between the general public and the disability community.

Moving forward, Foreword Coffee is looking to expand their social impact by training and hiring more persons with disabilities and eventually convincing more cafes to hire them as well.

 

Green Coffee!

You might be thinking, green coffee = sustainable coffee? We made that silly mistake too! Instead, green coffee refers to raw coffee. Foreword Coffee imports green coffee directly from producers or cooperatives that work with the farmers directly as compared to other businesses which might buy from coffee importers (the middleman between producers and coffee roasters). Through the direct purchase of raw coffee beans, more money is transferred to the farmers which ultimately helps to improve the lives of the farmers in Asia.

The focus on Asian speciality coffee that Foreword Coffee offers is something different from other cafes in Singapore, which usually bring in American and African coffees. Foreword Coffee believes in the potential of our Asian counterpart and currently serve Yunnan (China) and Xam Nuea (Laos) coffee.

 

With that, check out Foreword Coffee’s Instagram and Facebook page and do drop them a visit in NUS!

Sustainable Living

Going Green This Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year – one of our favourite festive season whereby we get to eat so many delicious snacks, collect red packets and reunite with family members! It is definitely a time of celebration, but similar to every other festive season, unnecessary waste is always created in the midst of celebration. So how do you minimise your environmental impact while at the same time, enjoy this holiday without a sense of guilt?

Here are some tips on how to go green this Chinese New Year.

Good as new notes

When distributing the red packet, it is a practice to ensure that the notes are new. People would spend weeks preceding Chinese New Year to queue at the banks in order to obtain new notes as old or torn notes are regarded as being disrespectful.

Instead of using more resources to generate these new notes, have you ever considered using “good as new” notes? POSB and DBS customers are able to withdraw these notes at 36 various pop up POSB Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Now, you no longer have to feel guilty about the number of trees being felled just to print all those new notes!

Recycle them all!

During this season, a lot of unnecessary waste will be created from the red packets to the soft drinks and to the plastic containers being used to store those snacks. It is undeniable that there is not yet a zero waste alternative for all these items. Hence, the next best alternative is to ensure that we recycle as much as we can. Remember to recycle all the red packets, soft drink cans and bottles, plastic containers and tetra packs that you can find. Always remember that a small action is better than no action!

Shop like new

New clothes are another tradition of Chinese New Year. But instead of purchasing brand new clothes, why not shop like brand new with secondhand clothes? Refash, a secondhand shop, is having their Chinese New Year final sale with a wide range of clothing from popular brands such as Love Bonito, The Closet Lover and so on. Plus, with the prices being so affordable, you can feel good and save money at the same time!

Give your items a second life

So after spring cleaning your house and accumulating a huge mass of unwanted items, you might wonder to yourself “What should I do with these now?”. Well, give them a second life!

EcoBank is a national zero-waste campaign that provides a platform for you to give your pre-loved items a second lease of life, encourage responsible consumption and do your part for charity. Between March 2 – March 4 this year, EcoBank is welcoming donations of good condition toys, clothes, books and accessories through 7 pick up points across Singapore. Your donated items will be curated and sold at the EcoBank Bazaar, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Children’s Charities Association of Singapore (CCA). Unsold items will go to CCA and the MINDS Thrift Shop to benefit their fundraising efforts.

So what are you waiting for? Do good and donate these items to them!

 

There are so many more other ways to go green this Chinese New Year. Share with us your green steps taken during this festive season!

Others

5 Ways To Practice Upcycling At Home

The content of the article was contributed by Up and Away and re-edited by The Sustainability Project.

Were you ever caught in a situation where you have an item you need to throw out but do not bear to? … and you wonder to yourself if you can make anything new out of it? That thought by itself has already placed you in the first stage of upcycling.

Upcycling, also known as creative reusing, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality. It ultimately prevents waste from ending up in the landfills and allow you to give an item a new life!

Why does upcycling matter to me?

Contrary to popular belief, not everything can be recycled! These include certain types of plastic (type 6 PS plastic), food waste or anything that are contaminated. Thus, upcycling is an important way of reducing waste of such items. Upcycling can be a fun and meaningful activity which is great for family bonding. Families can do upcycling activities with their loved ones to not only have fun together, to learn more about waste-reduction.

New to upcycling and want to give it a try? Here are 5 simple ways on how you can upcycle at home:

 

Transform your old t-shirts into bags

For decades, the donation bin has offered a guilt-free way to unload your old clothing. In a virtuous and profitable cycle, a global network of traders would collect these garments, grade them, and transport them around the world to be recycled, worn again, or turned into rags and stuffing. However, that Fast fashion in Singapore is a worrying trend and donating them away to a charity might not be that rosy of an idea anymore.

Furthermore, only 7% of textile waste in Singapore are being recycled. So, if you want to throw away that oversized shirt or that dress from last season? Think again.

Why not solve that problem by looking up on Pinterest for some simple tutorials and inspiration on how you can transform your t-shirts from yesteryears into bags again – by simply cutting and tying, no sewing require at all! Interested to learn more? There are also workshops in Singapore that offer these classes such as Taikensonzai and WahSoSimple.

 

Goodbye plastic containers and hello, keychains

Did you know there are 7 grades of plastic in use and not all of them can be recycled in Singapore? Type 6 plastic is an example and they are most commonly found for use in kuehs and sushi packaging. Apart from reusing them, you could also upcycle it to become shrinky-dink keychains.

 

Turn fruits and vegetables waste into eco-enzyme cleaner

Food waste, such as fruits peels, are almost unavoidable as we consume them on a very frequent basis. Instead of throwing fruit and vegetable scraps away, you can turn them into a household cleaner, simply by adding sugar and water. Enzymatic cleaners are powerful all-purpose cleaners that can be used safely on most surfaces, including metal and glass. So do not let those foods waste go to waste! Find out how to make your own eco-enzyme cleaner from these Facebook groups!

 

Turn your food packaging into zip-pouches

One of the most common plastic waste is from food packaging like the potato chips that you cannot resist. These packaging might seem insignificant but pose a great threat when they are found in our oceans, causing marine pollution. But have you ever thought of transforming these packaging into pouches? They make great gifts and bring out the inner hipster in you! It is a simple and easy item to make as it requires no sewing and all that is needed is just stapler, scissors, masking tape from your home (although you do need to purchase is a zipper). Find out how to do it here!

 

Turn up for huat

With Chinese New Year just around the corner, you will receive abundance of red packets. But what to do with them? Well, you can use those red packets to make mandarin orange bags or candy baskets! Online tutorials are aplenty and you can make it together with your loved ones. These items can even contribute vibrant colours to your household and brighten up the atmosphere for Chinese New Year!

 

About Up and Away

It all began with a group of four individuals, who were passionate about the environment, and wanted to reduce waste in Singapore. The big question was, what else can we do to help solve the waste problem? That is when we discovered upcycling. ‘Up & Away’ is an environmental campaign which targets both parents and children (7-9 years old), to encourage families to reduce waste through upcycling! Find out more about their campaign on FB: fb.com/upandawaysg or website at upandawaysg.com.

Others

The Ocean Movement – Creating Waves of Change

Marine pollution has been a major issue that has been garnering attention across the world over the past few years. From pictures of shores full of plastic waste to videos of plastic straws getting stuck in the nose of turtles, these images have left an impactful impression on many individuals and spurred them to take action towards marine conservation.

The Ocean Movement, is a project started by five 17-year-old students from School of The Arts Singapore back in 2017. The founder of the group was an aspiring marine conservationist which inspired the group to start raising awareness about marine life. Since then, The Ocean Movement has conducted a session sharing common problems that our marine ecosystem faces such as climate change, plastic pollution and overfishing with their school. In addition, they initiated the sale of reusable straws in SOTA which successfully sold about 80 straws.

Over the past few month, the group’s objective also transformed into raising awareness about marine life particularly in Singapore, as well as creating platforms for students in our school as well as the public to contribute towards conservation efforts. This objective is achieved by making reusable goods accessible and creating avenues where different environmental groups can work together towards a common goal of saving our environment.

Coming this February, The Ocean Movement is organising an event – TIDAL.

 

 

TIDAL is a series of environmental events brought together by various organisations. The first 2 events in the series include a film screening of ‘A Plastic Ocean’ with a post-screening dialogue as well as a guided coastal walk/beach clean-up. (However, these 2 events are already sold out)

In addition, a ‘Know Your Seafood’ Workshop by SiBiol will be conducted on 4th Feb from 10.30 am – 12.30pm where one can observe the dissection of common seafood in an aid to explain how marine organisms function.

The main highlight of TIDAL is the awareness concert held on 4th Feb from 5 pm to 7.30pm. The event will be centred around the theme of the environment, with acoustic performances by local performers and students from SOTA, various fringe events, booths selling sustainable products and booths where you can learn how to make reusable goods out of recyclable materials or how to make your own compost bin.

All the above events are completely FREE OF CHARGE so what are you waiting for? As there are limited seats for each event, do sign up quick!

Be sure to support these young inspirational individuals and support them in their cause towards marine conservation!