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Sustainable Living

Tips to Reduce Your Travel Footprint

Ask my friends, and all of them would tell you that I am an avid traveller – I jump at every opportunity to experience different countries, and nothing gets me more excited than being at the airport, looking up at the big digital signboards and eagerly checking for my gate number.

However, the more I travelled, the more I started to realise how much waste I was generating on each holiday, ranging from simple things like single-use plastics to the massive carbon emissions generated by taking flights. So, if you’re an eco-conscious traveller like me, here are some tips for more sustainable travel.

 

Don’t print documents or tickets unless absolutely necessary

In the digital day and age, it is hardly ever required of you to have a physical ticket or boarding pass anymore. So, why not save yourself the hassle and simply save the e-ticket onto your phone? If you use an iPhone, you can even save your boarding passes and e-tickets onto your Apple Wallet for quick and easy access.

While not printing your ticket might seem like just a small action that doesn’t make much of a difference, imagine how much paper waste we would save if everyone simply skipped the physical tickets!

 

Carbon offset your flight

Did you know that because planes fly high in the atmosphere, their carbon emissions add more to the greenhouse effect than normal carbon emissions on the ground? One way you can help to reduce this impact is by carbon offsetting your flight. In simpler terms, carbon offsetting is a voluntary carbon tax, where you opt to pay to “make up” for the emissions of your flight.

Some airlines have their own carbon offset schemes, where customers simply opt to pay an extra fee while buying their air tickets. However, if your airline does not offer that option, you can choose to donate to different types of offset projects.

There are two main types of offset projects you can choose from – forestry projects and energy projects. Forestry projects channel their funds mainly into preventing deforestation or replanting new trees on cleared land. These trees then act as a carbon sink and absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, energy projects use the money to invest in renewable energy or more energy-efficient products in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To carbon offset your flight, you can use a carbon footprint calculator to find out the amount you need to pay to exactly offset your carbon emissions (you have the option to pay more if you want!). After which simply choose an offset project that you feel strongly for to donate to! Gold Standard is one of the most widely recommended websites to choose your offset scheme from.

 

Pack your own reusables kit

I’ll be the first to admit that saying no to the convenience of single-use plastics becomes harder when you are on holiday, especially if you are always out and about. However, packing your own little zero-waste kit in a separate little bag helps. Your kit should contain all of the basics: tote bags, reusable utensils (make sure they’re made of wood/bamboo, else you’ll have to give them up at customs!), a water bottle, and food container(s). This way, as you are leaving your accommodation for a full day of activity, you can simply grab your kit and go!

Something that is also worth the mention is that many airlines have now phased out single-use plastics on flights. Some examples of such airlines include Singapore Airlines, Qantas (which operated the first ever zero-waste flight), Delta, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines,  Etihad Airways, and many more. However, it’s always safer to bring your own set of reusables just in case!

 

Stay at homes instead of hotels

I’m sure that many of us have noticed that hotels use lots of single-use products, from their toiletries to their bedroom slippers to the bottled beverages you find in your minibar. Furthermore, staying in hotels means that your bedsheets are laundered and changed every day even if they don’t need to be. With the rise of homeowners renting out their houses for travellers on websites like Airbnb, it has become much easier for us to opt for homestays instead.

However, if you do need to stay in a hotel, make sure to hang your ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door when you head out to avoid the unnecessary changing of your bedsheets. Most hotels these days also have signs in their rooms that tell you what you need to do if you don’t want them to wash your bath towels or change the sheets.

To make your hotel stays more sustainable, you can also pack your own toiletries to avoid using the single-use ones provided by the hotel. Even though they are free, try not to drink the bottled water provided in your minibar – bring along your handy refillable water bottle instead! Feel free to check out this list to find out which countries have potable water that you can drink straight from the tap.

 

Walk as much as possible, or take public transport

When you are on vacation, it is easy to give in to the temptation of hailing a cab or renting a car. However, not only does taking public transport help you save on costs, it also produces significantly less greenhouse gas emissions. So, try to stay near a bus or train station on your holiday – it’ll make your life a whole lot easier!

If your destination is of walking distance, opt to walk instead. Not only does it result in zero emissions,  you’ll also be able to get in some extra exercise for the day too!

 

All in all, while generating waste while we travel is more or less inevitable, we can always take steps to lessen our environmental impact even while exploring the world. We hope that the above tips have shown you that there are plenty of ways we can experience what the world has to offer while still taking steps to conserve our planet. Here’s to more sustainable travels ahead!

Sustainable Living

How To Manage E-Waste As A Consumer

Have you ever mulled over what to do with that old mobile phone you discovered when cleaning your room? Well, it definitely isn’t something that belongs in the trash bin or any regular recycling bins. This new category of “trash” can be called e-waste. E-waste is typically any electrical and electronic equipment that has been discarded. These range from large items like washing machines, televisions, refrigerators, to smaller ones like mobile phones and computers.

Although many of us are unaware, just in Singapore, we generate about 60,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. What is even more shocking is that about half of this is generated by household consumers like you and me! In a year, that is almost equivalent to each person throwing away 73 mobile phones. With the advancements of technology and our fast-paced environment, these figures are expected to keep increasing if we do not change the way we manage our e-waste.

Why do we need to manage e-waste?

The impacts of not getting rid of the growing amount of e-waste we produce are extremely severe. E-waste contains substantial hazardous substances and heavy metals, like lead and mercury.

These are potentially harmful to our environment and health. For instance, if these toxic materials seep into groundwater when they are disposed of in landfills, it could contaminate water sources.

In Singapore, about 50% of our e-waste is either thrown away or end up with scrap traders and rag-and-bone men. As these individuals often lack the expertise to fully recycle such e-waste, there is a high chance that chemical compounds may be discharged as a result of handling this e-waste poorly. To worsen the situation, incinerated e-waste contributes to the carbon emissions and contaminate ash at the Semakau landfill.  Therefore, it is important for us consumers to recycle our e-waste properly at reputable e-waste recycling points as it ensures that harmful substances are not released into the environment.

How then should we deal with e-waste?

As an individual consumer of e-waste, we should look out for the numerous e-waste recycling programs offered in Singapore. Singapore is currently working with various organizations to improve the accessibility for individuals like us to recycle our e-waste. All we have to do is simply drop off our e-waste at these recycling points and the organizations will handle the rest.

Some examples are:

  1. City Square Mall E-waste Recycling Programme
  2. Dell Recycling Programme
  3. E-waste Recycling @ North East
  4. StarHub’s RENEW (REcycling Nation’s Electronic Waste) Programme
  5. Singtel x SingPost E-Waste Recycling Programme
  6. M1 E-waste Drop-Off Point Programme

Although Singapore is currently working towards developing our e-waste recycling landscape, we should know that recycling is not the only way to deal with our e-waste. Ultimately, we should always adopt the zero waste hierarchy when dealing with any type of waste. Similarly, for e-waste, practising the 5Rs – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot – we can be more sustainable in our consumptions. So the next time you think about buying a new phone or laptop, think again!

How to rethink your electronic purchases?

Go through these steps to help yourself evaluate if your purchase is necessary:

1. Refuse

The first step you should take is to think wisely about your consumption you are about to make.  Are they wants or needs? If they are mere wants, learn to say “No” to yourself! There are always other alternatives around.

2. Reduce

Once you have taken the first step of saying “No” to your wants, this can help you reduce your consumption of electronic products. In this case, cutting down your purchases of electronic products would reduce your dollar vote towards organizations continuously dishing out new products.

3. Reuse

Nonetheless, if you have evaluated that your purchase is a necessary one, there are always second-hand options available to consider. Just ask around. You never know if one of your pals has a spare phone that they are willing to sell to you! In the case where your electronic items are faulty or damaged, you can always try to get them repaired. This may be a cheaper option than purchasing a new item!

4. Recycle

At the end of the day, when we have exhausted all our options to salvage our electronics, we should be mindful of how we dispose of them. Instead of tossing them in the trash, remember to recycle them at the appropriate recycling points. Singapore has made these outlets easily available to everyone by listing them out. There are various organizations that take part in this e-waste recycling program to cater to the different types of e-waste produced. Do check them out here!

5. Rot

Unfortunately, e-waste is not compostable and discarding them inappropriately, it could be detrimental to us and the environment. So, we have to take extra effort in practising the above 4Rs.

 

E-waste is definitely a new type of waste that we have to learn more about and manage better given its prevalence in the world today. You can start today and do your part to boost the e-waste recycling rates!

Sustainable Living

Let’s talk about Palm Oil

My interest in palm oil and its effects on the environment started when I went vegan in 2014 (I am not vegan anymore but that’s a post for another day). My interest peaked in 2016 when I went on an overseas conservation trip to Sumatra, in which we helped to plant fruit trees where palm oil used to grow and educate locals on the detrimental effects of palm oil on both the environment and on the wildlife (Specifically the Sumatran Orang Utans).

Do you know that palm oil or palm kernel oil is estimated to be in half of all packaged products in supermarkets? Similar to soybean and corn oil, palm oil is processed into a large number of foods and consumer products and is often a key ingredient in many foods and household items. In addition, the move towards biodiesel has also increased the demand for palm oil.

 

 Why is palm oil extensively used in our everyday lives?

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, palm oil has a balanced fatty acid composition in which the level of saturated fatty acids is almost equal to that of the unsaturated fatty acids. Palmitic acid (44%-45%) and oleic acid (39%-40%) are the major component acids, with linoleic acid (10%-11%) and only a trace amount of linolenic acid. The low level of linoleic acid and the virtual absence of linolenic acid make the oil relatively stable to oxidative deterioration.

 It also has a high smoke point of 245 degrees Celcius. In cooking, the smoke point of an oil or fat is the temperature at which, under defined conditions, enough volatile compounds emerge from the oil that a bluish smoke becomes clearly visible. At this temperature, volatile compounds, such as water, free fatty acids, and short-chain degradation products of oxidation come up from the oil.

Basically, in layman’s term, palm oil does not cause food to spoil easily and is ideal for frying and cooking food without having any toxic compounds leaching into the food.

Hence, given an explanation as to why it is often preferred over other sources of oil.

Now, we have to ask ourselves- what are the environmental effects of palm oil? Why is sustainable palm oil so important? Answering these questions will help us understand the need to raise awareness on the prevalence of palm oil, the effects it has and steps we can take to move away from unsustainable palm oil.

 

Ruined land

Every hour, 300 football fields of precious remaining forest is being ploughed to the ground across South East Asia to make way for palm oil plantations. It is no doubt that palm oil is destructive to the lungs of the earth – our rainforests.

In Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania, millions of acres of land are cleared to plant palm oil. In fact, our neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia produce 80% of the world’s palm oil and the primary technique used to clear forests is through the method of slash and burn. This means that acres of what was once trees are logged and set into flames. This causes not just air pollution, but also the loss of habitat for the animals once living in the forests. The large use of herbicides and fertilizers in the growth of palm oil trees means that plants in that forests become monoculture plantations and lose all native flora and fauna. This not only drives known species of native plants to extinction, but we also lose all ability to fully study the native environment and flora and fauna of the rainforest that has been cleared.

 

Human-Wildlife Conflict

In the last 20 years, over 3.5 million hectares of Indonesian and Malaysian forest have been destroyed to make way for palm oil (critically endangered and this is largely due to the planting of palm oil, with the highest record of 6,000 lives lost in a year. If you have yet watched the heartbreaking video of an orangutan trying to defend its home, check it out here.

This devastating impact also affects other unrecorded animals living in these rainforests. Imagine your home being burned away and replaced with palm oil trees. You lose not just your home, but also your source of food. Many animals eventually die from starvation, if not from asphyxiation (suffocation from smoke) during the forest fires.

 

Sustainable Palm Oil

So, what is sustainable palm oil? According to PM Haze, sustainable palm oil companies use zero-burning methods to clear land, respect land rights and work with local communities to minimise the use of fire, protect forests and plant on existing open land. Truth be told, it is very difficult to measure whether it is sustainable as you cannot tell after it has been refined (if it has been mixed or not). Even companies that sell sustainable palm oil admit that they cannot assure that the oil is purely sustainable. However, it is still optimal to go for sustainable palm oil.

 

What can we do?  

In Singapore, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPOcertified palm oil is currently the closest option we have for haze-free palm oil. Hence, vegetable oil that only uses sustainable palm oil will be ‘RSPO-certified.’

We are currently still slowly progressing towards a palm-oil free world. And as we do this, we can try our best to switch to oils like pure coconut or olive oil for cooking (please note that olive oil burns easily and is unsuitable for cooking at high heat). We can first check the ingredients of the products we buy – especially our soaps and beauty products and avoid those with palm oil. While avoiding palm oil in food is difficult, it is easier to switch to palm-oil free beauty products. Look for products with other oil bases (coconut or jojoba) or simply ensure that sustainable palm oil is used. Often, products with sustainable palm oil will clearly indicate that the palm oil used is sustainable.

 

While complete avoidance is virtually impossible in a palm-oil intoxicated world, it is important to know about the palm oil problem and slowly try to reduce our use of palm oil products. By voting with our dollar, we are telling suppliers we do not want palm oil, or that we only want sustainable palm oil. This indeed will slowly drive the economic change needed to alleviate the problems that palm oil brings upon society.

Sustainable Living

5 Tips to be a Zero Waste Student

It is April, which means tons of exams and tests are coming up! From a student to another, we tend to get so absorbed in revising that we often forget to think about how we could reduce our waste while studying.

So here are some tips on how to have a sustainable study session!

 

Collect and use used paper to reduce paper wastage

Sometimes we need to draft out our ideas before we can get a clearer picture. Many times, we usually take out new, fresh pieces of foolscap and we do not realise how wasteful it can be in the long run. So, why not try collecting papers that are used on one side? You can then use it for future drafts as rough paper! You will be really surprised at how much paper you can save with this method, plus it saves you foolscap money in the long run. Do not forget to recycle these papers after you have fully used it!

 

Bring reusable cups or tumblers for your caffeine addiction

Hands up if you like to study in a café because it helps you to concentrate 🙋‍♀️ I personally love spending my time at Starbucks while finishing my daily revision and other work. Studying with a cup of your go-to drink can really help get you into a productive mood. Why not try bringing your own reusables (cups, tumblers and straws) to help minimise plastic wastage? You get your caffeine fix and productivity at the same time!

 

Switch to environmentally friendly alternatives for your stationaries

Highlighting your text can really make studying a lot more bearable and adds colours to your life. (Literally!) How about switching from your normal highlighters to highlighting with pencil highlighters? They act like normal highlighters and best of all? Since they are just like pencils, they do not bleed through! If you do not want to buy new supplies, look through your house and find existing colour pencils. They work great for highlighting as well! There are tons of possibilities to try and find something sustainable that suits your needs!

 

Enhance your filing system sustainably

Staying organised is a good way to be on top of your studying game. It helps you stay focused and rids you of any clutter (Say bye to the times you have to flip your entire house upside down just to find that one document!) We usually look to plastic colour dividers to help us in colour coordinating which section is for what purpose in our files but do you know that there is a simpler, more sustainable alternative? Try collecting used envelopes and use them as your file dividers instead! Since most of them are made from paper, you can easily decorate them to your liking and make one that really shows how unique your filing system is!

 

With that being said, all the best for any upcoming tests and exams. Do remember to take breaks in between study sessions and just do your best!

Sustainable Living

5 Easy Steps to Kick Start Your Low Waste Journey

Starting your zero or low waste journey can be daunting. You may find yourself asking questions like, “Where do I start?”, “Do I really have to invest money to replace my products?” and “Must I really change the way I live?” Don’t worry, we have got you covered! Here are 5 easy steps for anyone thinking of starting their low waste journey!

 

Less is more

A really easy way to go green is to simply BUY LESS! Thinking through your purchases not only saves money, but also minimizes the amount of energy needed to produce that item you are purchasing.

Ask yourself: “Do I really need a new bag?”, “How will this item benefit my life?”

By being mindful of your purchases, you will find that you don’t really need that many items to go about your life! Furthermore, you will start to treasure things you own as they would all be conscious purchases.

Another thing that you can do is to only buy the food that you need. According to NEA, food waste accounts for 10% of our total waste and that the amount of food waste has increased by over 40% over the last 10 years. As a nation, we generated a total of 676,800 tonnes of food waste in 2017 alone! 

To minimize your contribution to our food waste problem, we suggest listing out the items you want to buy at the grocery store (yes, a good old fashion grocery list). You can do this by planning your meals ahead of time. Once you have come up with your dinner menu, do a quick pantry shop by looking through what you already own at home before listing down what you need to buy. How often do you end up throwing out rotten vegetables (we’ll get to composting some other time)? Sometimes we buy a pack of biscuit that gets kept in our cupboard for years until they eventually expire. Thus, remember to look through what you already have and only purchase the things you need to cook the dishes on your menu! Not only will this neat trick reduce food waste, but it also saves you the trouble of wondering what to cook for dinner during the day. WIN-WIN!

 

Always search for a second-hand version of your item first.

Need a camera or a sunhat for your upcoming trip? Why not buy the item second hand?

Take advantage of thrift shops and even carousell and use it to look for second-hand items. Especially those you will probably not require all the time! If you need winter wear, why not try borrowing from your friends before purchasing one (unless you’re an avid traveller, then I think it makes sense to buy your own)?

With a variety of thrift shops in Singapore such as Refash , New2U, PraiseHaven Thrift Shop by The Salvation Army and Something Old Something New , I’m sure you’ll be able to find what you need!

 

Try going meat-free one meal a week

Did you know that 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions is due to livestock and their byproducts? Thus, a plant-based diet cuts your greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. Additionally, 91% of the deforestation in the amazon rainforest is due to animal agriculture.

In view of these statistics, it is indubitable that a plant-based lifestyle is ideal for anyone looking to lower their carbon footprint. However, we understand that going plant-based might be too difficult due to our lifestyle habits and that Meatless Mondays may still prove to be difficult for some due to the planning involved to incorporate it. So why not try having one completely meat-free meal a week? This can be anything from vegetarian rice and dishes to a big salad with mushrooms or even a bowl of vegetarian noodles! With the number of vegetarian options in Singapore increasing, we are sure there will be something for you!

 

Recycle your trash. – even if it’s just some of it.

While reducing your waste is important, recycling your waste can come hand in hand to reducing. According to the Ministry of Environment and Water resources, Semakau Landfill will likely run out of space by 2035  if we do not do anything. By recycling, items that can otherwise have a second life will be saved from meeting their end in our incinerator. This in turn reduces our waste heading to Semakau. We know, recycling can sound like a tedious process. From having to wash out plastic bottles to simply having to bring your recycling all the way down (to throw into the big blue bin under your block). For some, the amount of energy needed, and the lack of convenience is simply off putting.

Our suggestion is to have 2 bins at home: One for trash and one for recycling. This makes it easy to simply toss items that can be recycled into the bin and then, take them all down at one go! Try to get over the inertia of needing to go down by simply bringing it down with you when you leave the house to go to work or to go out!

 

Skip the cup holder.

The reason why we are going to urge you to start with ditching a cup holder and not any other disposable is because swapping out other disposables such as straws and plastic bags may be too big a commitment to some. This is because they involve buying replacement items like a reusable metal or glass straw and carrying a reusable bag with you all the time. We feel like letting go of disposable cup holders is the easiest thing to do, hence why it made it into this list!

Isn’t it ridiculous how we ask for a carrier when we can just hold the drink in our hand? Unless you are buying more than one cup, why not just carry your drink in your hand? Another thing that you can do is to buy a reusable cup holder especially for your GongCha and Liho drinks! We placed this step last because investing in a cup holder may be a big leap for some. If you really need a plastic carrier, don’t beat yourself up about it! Simply recycle it when you get home or reuse it!

 

With that, we hope that everyone can start adopting small steps to reduce their waste. Every little action counts, so don’t worry if you mess up once in a while. What’s important is that we make conscious, impactful and sustainable changes. Besides, if you’re reading this, it means you have already taken a positive step! We wish you all the best on your new journey!

Sustainable Living

Being an Environmentally Conscious Pet Owner

We love pets. Who wouldn’t?

Singapore’s pet population is projected to hit 824,000 pets in 2016, according to statistics from Euromonitor International.  The Federation Cynologique Internationale also reported that Singaporeans own over 62,000 dogs in 2017. With that in mind, how we clean up after our pets or even the treats we feed them, will have a sizable impact on the environment. Many green practices that have become our good habits can also be applied to our pets as well, so why not take a step further by taking care of the environment while taking care of your pet?

There are many ways we can reduce our carbon “paw-print”, and here are just to name a few:

 

Tip 1: Reusable wipes

If you use wet wipes to clean your pet or to clean up a mess they made, it’s time to switch to an eco-friendly alternative! One method would be to simply use a reusable cloth, which can be washed after every use. You can use towels that are not used anymore, or even cut up old clothes. Not to mention, it can help you save a lot of money in the long-run! Another method would be to switch to more eco-friendly wet wipes, such as Cloversoft’s non-toxic wet wipes that are made from 100% unbleached bamboo pulp.

 

Tip 2: Using what you can to pick up poop

Often, the waste that we create can be out of our control. Sometimes, it is because the items we buy are already pre-packaged, such as the vegetables found in supermarkets, which come in clear plastic bags. This plastic cannot be recycled and end up as waste in our bins. If waste like these is unavoidable, what we can do is to reuse them!

You can use these items to pick up your pet’s poop. Alternatively, you can even use big leaves that you find, and simply slide them under your pet when he/she is about to poop! As long as you wrap it up nicely (so the smell doesn’t spread after throwing the poop), almost anything can be used!

 

Tip 3: Turn to eco-friendly toys, accessories and treats

If you enjoy spoiling your pet with toys and treats, how about turning to eco-friendly alternatives?

There are many pet accessories and toys that can be found online, and they are often made from recycled or plant-based materials. Alternatively, consider upcycling your old clothes and turn them into new toys! Check out this link for some inspirations!

As for treats, consider giving them small portions of fresh fruits or vegetables, or even baking/cooking treats from scratch! These options are much healthier for your pet and they will still love eating them equally. However, please do proper research on exactly what your pet can/cannot eat.

 

It can sometimes get a little tiring to take care of our pets, but they are a lifetime commitment and we should never compromise their well-being. The same applies to take care of Mother Earth! Green practices are often less convenient but every small step will go a long way into improving her well-being. Try tying more environmentally-friendly habits into the different aspects of our daily lives and the caring of your pets is somewhere you can start!  If you happen to have any other tips, how about sharing them with us? 🙂

Sustainable Living

Zero-Waste Gift Recommendations for this Valentine’s Day

Pssst, just between you and me, are you still figuring out what to get for your loved one on Valentine’s Day? Fret not, we are here to help you! Valentine’s Day is not purely about purchasing something new for your loved one. You can come up with many creative and useful gifts for them!

Deciding on the perfect gift for your loved ones can be quite tricky so we both tips and zero-waste gift recommendations for you!

 

Tips

 

Arrange a date near memorable places

Honestly, what can get better than revisiting various fond memories you made with your loved one? It can be the place where both of you had your first date, where both of you met or even just the go-to area you both hold dear.

Remember: Valentine’s Day comes only once a year, so it would definitely not hurt to go back and relive some of those precious memories made!

Make a card

Not only are handmade cards great in showcasing your appreciation as well as sincerity for your significant other, but you can also churn out your own unique card! Decorate your card with different memories (eg. polaroids and various memorable items) as well as a heartfelt handwritten message and it will definitely make your partner’s day! Not to mention, you can use what you have at home to showcase your creative side.

If you need a little inspiration, check out how others reuse materials at home to make their cards! Some use scrap cloth and paper to decorate and make their card! You can get creative and add more as you go to make your card truly one of a kind! To get a better understanding of how to do it, you can check out this site here!

 

Do something meaningful together

Lastly, consider volunteering together! There are tons of areas both of you can extend a hand to so do not worry, there is an event for everyone! Perhaps, your significant other is more into the environment. Well, both of you can take up a volunteering event relating to the environment to not only help out for a good cause, but it also serves as a type of bonding time where both of you can learn why and how passionate your partner is in certain areas!

For one, you can consider joining Youth Corps’ first-ever Veggie Rescue journey with SG Food Rescue with your partner! Not only is this educational and for a good cause, but you also get to see and experience with your partner how this goes, making it extra memorable!

 

Gifts 

So, if you really feel the need to gift your loved one something for this special day, we have some items that would be practical for him or her!

For the Coffee or Tea drinker

Is your partner one of those people who needs caffeine every day in order to kickstart their day? Well, why not give them a reusable cup to not only help their caffeine addiction but also to reduce waste on the side?

We recommend the SoL Cups which come in different sizes and beautiful colours for the caffeine lovers. We also carry Reusable Teabags for the tea drinker, so they can enjoy a cup of tea without any plastic involved.

 

Not forgetting the Bubble Tea lover

If your significant other buy bubble tea on a regular basis, why not give them something to help them cut out the plastic cup holders you often get from buying bubble tea or even other drinks? We carry Cup Holders in different cute designs! (You will be pleased to know we tested them on different vendors, and they are expected to fit all cup sizes!)

 

Spoil them with your cooking

Why not try cooking up a new recipe for them to try? Preparing as well as actually cooking something takes up a lot of effort as well as care! So, to be able to taste your cooking on such an important day, they are guaranteed to feel your overflowing love for them!

To start, you can source at your local wet market for fresh produce! To make this an extra special meal, try using ugly but absolutely still good-tasting ingredients for your meal! Perfectly usable vegetables such as carrots are frequently discarded just because they are deemed too ‘ugly’ to sell.

Not only that, you can plan a picnic date at the park, taking in nature while snacking on delicious food. You know what they always say, the way to one’s heart is through their stomach! You can also check out our store for products such as our Snack Bags or if you prefer the sturdy Stasher Bags for bringing your delicious treats on the go! For bigger meals, we recommend getting the spacious Stackable Bento Box!

 

Adding to their beauty routine

Taking off your makeup to shower before getting ready for bed has such an incredible, soothing feeling to it. It’s almost as if you are washing and taking off the stress accumulated for the day, prepping a fresh new start. So why not consider gifting your loved one a zero-waste gift that will help them relax as well as cut down on the number of disposables used in their everyday beauty routine?

Our reusable Facial Rounds are here to help minimise wastage while aiding in your beauty routine! You can use them to apply toner or take out your makeup after a long day, but best of all, it is perfectly reusable and easy to clean! (Just chuck it in the wash and set it to ‘delicate’.)

 

Enhancing their bathing experience

Speaking of showers, I think everyone can agree that nothing is better than a bath after a long day of work. So why not gift them something that would greatly enhance their usual bathroom routine?

We carry Felted Soaps and it cleans like a dream! Not only does it come in different scents so you can do your picking, it is wrapped in Merino Silk wool blend which makes it an excellent natural exfoliant. (Bye bye, loofah!) Not to mention, it looks absolutely gorgeous, making it the perfect gift for anyone looking to spice up their bathroom routine.

 

To sum up, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy a zero-waste Valentine’s Day with your partner but ultimately, what really makes the day special is the effort and sincerity from both parties. So don’t be stressed and just have fun with your partner!

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!

Sustainable Living

Top 3 Most Useful Zero Waste Christmas Products

This is the season for Christmas shopping! Christmas is finally around the corner! But wait a minute. Have you ever wondered if your presents will be used by the recipient or stowed into the recesses of their home? This Christmas, why not choose something practical and useful, knowing it will be used for the long run? Give your loved one the gift of sustainability!

Here are 3 practical zero waste products that everyone can cherish and are ideal to inspire the start of a zero-waste journey:

 

Beeswax Wraps

If you’ve always wanted to incorporate zero-waste goods into the lives of others but don’t know how to, beeswax wraps are the perfect item to start! They are the ultimate zero-waste must have.

Made of 4 ingredients – cotton cloth, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin – beeswax wraps are a perfect substitute for plastic cling wrap. Reusable for a year, it means you will not have to spend another day cursing that you forgot to buy cling wrap again. You can finally say goodbye to spending money on purchasing something which keeps running out and is damaging to the environment.

Using Beeswax is a bit like going back in time to find out that our ancestors did it better than us. Beeswax wraps weres invented long ago by the ancient Egyptians. Back then, they had to be creative without our present luxury of refrigerators. Moving forward a few centuries later, we have all but forgotten this natural means of preserving food. Instead, we have begun a deep reliance on cling wrap, a synthetic material that brings more harms than good.

Cling wrap is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is non-recyclable and non-renewable. The use of PVC creates multiple problems for our earth. Its production is not only carbon intensive but also pollutive. Furthermore, PVC’s non-biodegradable nature means that they will end up in our landfills after just one single use.

On the other hand, beeswax wrap has a much shorter lifespan. Because the shorter the lifespan, the better it is for the environment! Not only is it both biodegradable and compostable, but it can also be used many times!

Is it any different from cling wrap? Not at all! Just wrap your unfinished/untouched/ food and voila! It will keep it fresh. But do take note of, beeswax wraps cannot be used to wrap hot items and raw meat/fish/seafood. Do remember to take care of your beeswax and it will thank you by lasting longer! Clean it with a damp cloth after every use or just rinse it with cold water. Then, let it air dry and it can be reused hooray!

 

Stasher Bags

We are not going to lie; the Stasher bag is amazing. It has so many uses, and we are always discovering new ways to use them. It is a simple silicone bag that is literally safe for anything – dishwasher, freezer, oven and even the microwave. You can reuse it endlessly, so it’s here for a long time.

Stasher bag is suitable to freeze bananas for your morning smoothie, to use as a snack bag, store fruit (pretty perfect for sliced watermelon) etc. You can even use it for your toiletries when travelling. It is perfect for the tired you lugging around multiple bags of leakable products. As it is equipped with a Pinch-loc™ seal, it will not leak.

Not convinced? Check out this article which lists all the uses of a stasher bag!

But you get the jazz, there’s no way this bag is going to be forgotten in a cupboard. Because once you stash(er) it, you can’t go back! Also, washing the Stasher bag is easy. Simply fill the bag a 1/4th of the way with warm water and soap and giving shake it or using a brush can help too!

 

Bamboo Toothbrush

This is the one everyone actually needs. Unless for some obscure reasons you don’t brush your teeth…

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that our continuous toothbrush consumption actually harms Mother Earth. For most of us, we use plastic and non-recyclable toothbrushes. Little did you realize that all of your plastic toothbrushes are going to live a longer life than your whole family.
Kind of sad right? But you can do a little something for the future generations and for Mama Nature, by replacing your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush.

Bamboo is a miracle product, it is so handy that they have even made a school out of it in Bali. Not cool enough? PANDAS eat bamboo, and if pandas are eating it then bamboo is life. (But please be reassured that the bamboo harvested for our toothbrush does not affect the pandas in any way!) Oh, and did we mention bamboo absorbs large amounts of carbon too?

You will definitely be making a substantial switch in your life.  After your bristles have been worn out, do remember to pluck them out and compost the bamboo handle.