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Sustainable Living

A Guide To Sustainable Shopping

We all love shopping. It is one of the greatest weakness, especially for us – girls. While trying to attempt to live this zero-waste lifestyle, the temptation from shopping for clothes is especially great. From receiving emails from various shops about their sales to seeing brand new styles at shopping centres, the struggle is real.

So, how then do we prevent textile waste when faced with such great temptations? Here are some tips from our personal experience!

 

Know WHY NOT

You might regard it as only one pair of jeans. But did you know, it takes about 8,000 litres of water just to make one pair? That’s enough to fill almost 20 bathtubs! Not to mention, the cotton used to make jeans uses 2.4% of the world’s cropland and 24% of the world’s pesticide. How scary is that!

In Singapore, more than 156,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste was thrown away in 2016, but only a mere 8% of such waste is recycled. Based on a Channel NewsAsia documentary, Singaporeans buy about 34 pieces of brand new apparel per year, with almost half of them citing discounts as the main driver for doing so. And on average, they discard 27 items of clothing per year, citing reasons like “making space for new clothes”, “no longer fits” and “there are defects”.

To prevent yourself from contributing to unnecessary waste, you need to be equipped with the knowledge and be aware of how buying one piece of clothing can have a huge impact on the environment. It helps you to see how one little action can have a big impact!

So, always think twice before buying that piece of clothing that you thought was harmless!

 

Make a plan

To slowly reduce the amount of textile waste you are creating, it is not something that happens overnight. It is a step by step process and you first have to acknowledge that it will be a painful and difficult process. Making a plan is crucial and it doesn’t matter whether it will take months or years to achieve the goal, as long as you have a plan, it is better than nothing!

First of all, you need to track the amount of clothing you buy every month. By doing this, you will be aware of your consumption habit and it will be easier to monitor your reduction. Then, start setting a limit on the number of clothing you can purchase every month. One tip is before buying a new piece of clothing, evaluate if you have any similar pieces of clothing in your current wardrobe or if it is possible to borrow a similar top from your mother or sister. If it is a “yes”, then put that piece of clothing away!

It is also important to ensure that you practice self-control and stay away from any possible temptation. When you are able to make small progress towards working the final goal of eliminating your textile waste, be sure to reward yourself (with food)! We know it isn’t easy and by rewarding yourself, it serves as a form of encouragement to continue working towards the end goal.

 

Practice self-control

This might be the most difficult aspect as we are most likely being tempted from every corner of our lives. Our best practice is out of sight, out of mind. So, whenever there is a possible temptation, try to distance yourself from it and rationalise internally if it is a need or a want(Trust us, most of the time it will be a want.). It is also a good habit to constantly remind yourself of the long-term effects of a small act of purchasing a new top. It might seem trivial, but if you consider all the resources taken to make a single piece of clothing, it will definitely make you reconsider.

 

Shop Secondhand

If you really have the urge to shop and cannot stop yourself, why not try second-hand shopping? It helps you save money, save resources and be a better person. So, why not!

Our favourite is Refash, an exclusive online marketplace for women to buy and sell “like new” fashion. Members can list items straight from their wardrobes and shop up to 70% off their favourite fast fashion and luxury brands. It has many popular brands such as Love Bonito, Forever21, The Closet Lover, Forever New and a lot more. So, you no longer have to worry about having the same old few pieces of clothes in your wardrobe!

Sustainable Living

All About The Humble Brush

Toothbrush – a daily essential that everyone has to use for good health.

But little did anyone expect that a small plastic toothbrush can cause so much harm to the environment. The world consumes 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes annually and most of them end of in the landfill. In the United States, an estimate of 850 million to over a billion toothbrushes are discarded annually and that amounts to more than 50 mullion pounds of waste.

Can you imagine the amount of waste produced from this small equipment? By replacing your usual plastic toothbrush into a bamboo toothbrush, you can help to fight climate change through this small action.

One of the products on our online store is the bamboo toothbrush from The Humble Co. and here are a few benefits of the products:

 

It is developed by dentists

Humble Brush was conceived, designed and is now manufactured under the guidance and supervision of dentists. This help to ensure that the product is similar to the plastic toothbrush in terms of functionality and quality.

 

100% biodegradable bamboo

The handle of the toothbrush is made of bamboo which naturally provides a non-slip surface and even better, is 100% biodegradable. In addition, bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and since it is antibacterial, no pesticides or fertilisers have to be used during cultivation!

 

Degradable and BPA-Free bristles

All brushes are made of Nylon 6 which degrades faster than lower grades of nylon.  Nylon 6 is a material ideally suited for dentistry but also degrades over time and can be processed through regular waste channels. The bristles have also been verified to be free from the toxin BPA (Bisphenol A).

 

Lifespan

The Humble Brushes have the same lifespan as any plastic toothbrush so you do not have to worry about the issue of constant replacement.

 

Compostable packaging

Besides providing a toothbrush which is sustainable in nature, the brush will be packaged in a transparent and biodegradable wrapper made completely out of plants and a box made out of 100% recycled materials.

 

With that, there simply are no other reasons not to switch to a sustainable bamboo toothbrush. Click here to purchase them!

Sustainable Living

5 Essentials You Need To Embark On A Zero Waste Lifestyle

The term “zero waste lifestyle” is one that is commonly being used now to describe one who leads a lifestyle that aims to create no waste at all.

Some might think, is that even possible? How do they do it? Well, for those of you who are interested in leading this lifestyle or simply trying it out, here are the 5 essential items you need to help you lead a zero-waste lifestyle!

 

1. Stainless Steel Straws

By now, I think most of us know that #plasticstrawsucks. If one was to use a plastic straw every day for the next ten years, there would be 3,650 straws worth of landfill! It is time to switch to a more environmentally friendly alternative – metal straws.

Metal straws are reusable and can last for ages if properly taken care of. Be reassured that it is easy to clean a stainless steel straw, with a cleaning brush, dishwasher or soap. As compared to plastic straws, stainless steel straws are BPA free and safe to use. They also make your picture look more stylish and chic!

Purchase them here!

2. Stainless Steel Container

If you always buy takeaways, you should be aware of the amount of Styrofoam and plastic containers that are used to store your food. Some plastic containers may even leak out harmful substances due to the heat! Did you know that more and more research is proving that toxic compounds found in plastic cause health problems ranging from cancer to infertility.

So why are you not using stainless steel containers? They are durable, non-toxic, completely recyclable and less wasteful. Hence, making them a much healthier and better option as compared to plastic containers.

Purchase them here!

3. Reusable Tumbler

For coffee/tea lovers, this item is a must-have! Reusable tumblers allow you to keep the beverages hot for a long period of time, reduce your plastic waste and even save money (as some vendors offer a discount for bringing your own). Coupled with the fact that bottled water costs 2,000 times more than tap water, save your money and bring your own bottle instead!

4. Reusable bags

It has been estimated that by purchasing a reusable bag and using them every time, it eliminates the use of 20,000 disposable plastic bags! The production of plastic bags requires the burning of fossil fuels which is causing climate change. By using a reusable bag, you are reducing your environmental footprint.  Think about the big picture and avoid plastic bags, even when they are free of charge.

5. Bamboo Toothbrush

It is now a well-known fact of how harmful plastic is to the environment. But little did we expect that the toiletries item we use every day, our toothbrush, can bring so much harm! The world consumes an estimate of more than 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes every year, in which most of them end up in landfills and oceans.

So, you might be thinking, why don’t I just recycle them? Unfortunately, toothbrushes are one of the most complicated items for recycling because of the need to separate each component before recycling.

The alternative to these arisamboo toothbrushes that will help to reduce the damage being done by this household items. Hence, being more environmentally responsible as well.

Purchase them here!

Sustainable Living

All About The Zero Waste Hierarchy

The term “Zero Waste” is no longer a stranger to all of us. Over the years, leading a zero waste life has been advocated by numerous environmentally conscious individuals worldwide. But how exactly do you achieve it? Here are some facts about the zero waste hierarchy and tips on how each level is practiced!

The zero waste hierarchy is defined as the “progression of policies and strategies to support the Zero Waste system, from highest and best to lowest use of materials”. The 5 levels are: Reduce (Most preferred), Reuse, Recycle, Recover and Landfill (Least preferred).

Reduce: The amount of waste produced

Reducing our waste might be one of the most difficult steps in the hierarchy. As such, small steps have to be taken to practice this in our daily lives. To reduce your waste, a key question to ask yourself before purchasing an item would be “Is this a need or a want?”.

Most of the time, the item that we wish to purchase is more likely to be a want than a need. Other questions that can be taken into consideration could be: How long do you foresee yourself using the item? Will it truly add value in your life? Are there any other alternative eco products?

Just by avoiding the act of impulse buying, you can help to prevent the wastage of resources and at the same time, save your money!

Reuse: Materials as much as possible

The important notion of “waste nothing, use everything” can aid in the habit of reusing. Most of us disregard the power and ease of reusing as we fail to see that almost everything and anything can be reused! For example, pasta sauce that comes in a glass bottle can be reused to store your snacks (after cleaning it properly first).

Next time, before throwing something away, take a moment to reconsider if the item can be reused for any other purposes!

Recycle: Everything you can

Recycling is definitely not a stranger to anyone. Recycling bins can be found in almost in every city and country. So, nothing should be stopping you from recycling!

Recover: Energy from waste

For some of us, recovery of energy from waste is a novel concept as it is not a widespread practice. In some countries, they have facilities that convert their waste to energy which contributes significantly to the concept of recovery.

For example, Norwegians residents are encouraged to sort their waste into various categories (organic, plastic and others). From there, the organic waste is then transformed into biogas which can be used as bio fuel for buses in Oslo. Although recovery might be difficult without the help of the government or large corporations, we can contribute individually by repairing our items instead of throwing them out!

Landfill

The last level – landfill, is probably the option in the hierarchy that is viewed as the last choice. Unless you really cannot practice the 4 levels of the hierarchy aforementioned, then it will end up in the landfill.

 

For more information about the zero waste hierarchy, click here!

Sustainable Living

Being Green in the CBD

The Central Business District (“CBD”), a place where most of us would have worked there once in our lifetime. With the fast-paced life in the CBD and a strong culture of taking away, we have decided to share some tips on how to successfully be sustainable while working in the CBD!

 

Tip #1: Be Wise About Lunch Time

Between 12 pm to 1.30pm, the CBD gets extremely crowded due to the common lunch hour among numerous companies. I believe most of us have faced the situation of having difficulty in finding seats and for convenience, we opt to take away and eat in our offices instead. But can you imagine the amount of plastic and styrofoam waste you have created just with this simple action?

To minimise the waste generated, why not plan to go for an early or late lunch? Based on our experience, the best timing to go for lunch will be around 11.45am (Right before the lunch crowd) or 1.45pm (Right after the lunch crowd). It will depend on your individual preference on whether you wish to have an early or late lunch. But just with this simple tweak in lunch timing, it can help to prevent the need to take away and ultimately, the creation of waste!

 

Tip #2: Bring Your Own…

From bringing your own bottles to bags, there are numerous benefits when you bring your own items.

  • Bring Your Own Bottle: Yes, having to work in CBD, we need our daily dosage of coffee/tea. But did you know that bringing your own bottles when you purchase drinks have their own benefits? Vendors such as Fun Toast provide customers with 10% discount when you bring your own tumblers! Also, it will be a feel-good moment when you think about the plastic waste you manage to reduce from Singapore’s statistics of 762,700 tonnes of plastic waste!
  • Bring Your Own Utensils: If you are a frequent Lau Pa Sat goer, you will realise one obvious flaw of the place. They do not provide any metal utensils instead, everything they use is plastic! By bringing your own metal utensils, it ensures that no harmful chemicals are being released when your plastic utensils are in contact with hot temperature and you are also doing a favour to Mother Earth!
  • Bring Your Own Bag: Needless to say, bringing your own bag is the number one practice that all of us should be aware of. Even though there is minimal shopping to do in the CBD, always ensure that you plan ahead by bringing your own bag when you wish to purchase something!

PS: Check out the new initiative, BYO Singapore, which is a campaign that involves offering incentives to customers who bring their own reusable bags, containers or bottles/cups!

 

Tip #3: Lunchbox

If you are busy and have no time to sit down to have lunch and really need to take away, why not invest in a good lunch box? You can use your lunch box to store your lunch, fruits or even cake! You can buy lunchboxes from online retailers like Lazada or Amazon who offer a wide variety of design. Your lunch will also look more appealing as compared to being stored in a plastic or Styrofoam box.

 

So the above are a few tips on how our team incorporate sustainability into our daily working lives. Share with us how you be sustainable while working in the comments below!

Sustainable Businesses Sustainable Living

IKEA’s Sustainable Living Home Tour

When we say “IKEA”, the first word that comes to everyone’s mind is – Meatballs! Yes, IKEA is known for introducing Swedish food (our favourite!) and interior design to Singapore.

But do you know, IKEA is also one of the top leaders in driving sustainability efforts? By 2020, the IKEA group aims to run its entire business on renewable energy and produce as much renewable energy as it consumes! Within Singapore, IKEA has a countless number of initiatives to show their commitment towards sustainability such as being MSC certified, recycling waste to biofuel and banning the sale of plastic bags.

IKEA recently launched their Sustainable Living Home Tour, which allows the public to experience how a family living in a 55 square room apartment can take small actions towards sustainable living. Our team was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in the tour. Here are some of the products that have come to our attention as both sustainable and stylish!

1. Joxtorp 

So on the first glance, you might think this is a normal lamp shade made out of polyester or steel. But when you take a closer look, it is actually made out of paper! At least 80% of this product is made of paper and it comes in other colours such as orange.

A complementary item that can match this lamp shade is a LED light bulb which you can also find in IKEA. Since 2016, all light bulbs being sold at IKEA are LED use up to 85% less energy than conventional bulbs and can last up to 20 years!

2. Variera/Utrusta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our favourite items would have to be the Variera/Utrusta, which is a waste sorting bins for the cabinet. As mentioned by the IKEA staff, 9 out of 10 households do not sort their waste and we believe these bins will encourage sorting and also make it easier for the household. Also, these bins are made of recycled polypropylene plastic!

3. Ärenpris 

Look at fluffy pillow! Would you have guessed that they are made out of recycled plastic? The filling in these pillows from 100% recycled PET bottles and they feel the same as other pillows (Trust us, we tried it out). What a meaningful innovation!

4. Pahl

For those of you who have children, this is probably one of the most thoughtful furniture designed by IKEA. This desk allows you to adjust its height to three different levels, with the maximum height being 72cm. So, instead of having to buy a new desk everytime your child grows taller, you now have a desk that grows with your child!

 

Besides all these products above, IKEA has a wide variety of other products which are designed with sustainability in mind. Share with us which of their products is your favourite and why!

 

Sustainable Living

5 green ways to transform your work desk

People usually tend to have a misconception that it is very difficult to lead a sustainable life. But is it really that difficult? Based on our experiences, here are 5 small actions you can take to transform your work desk into a sustainable one, without having to make drastic changes!

 

1. Hello, plant

Did you know that having plants on your work desk helps to increase happiness and productivity? They will also help to enliven your workspace! Desk plants require low maintenance and help to improve the environment by purifying the air and regulating air humidity.

You can easily get a small desk plant from shops such as Muji, IKEA or any florists.  For those who prefer to have low maintenance plants, you can consider buying devil’s ivy, cacti or peace lily.

 

2. Bye bye metal stapler

A single staple might be irrelevant but when you think about a number of resources used to make staplers, it suddenly becomes a significant matter. A solution to this problem? Paper stapler! A paper staple is one that uses a special binding method to fasten the sheets, without the use of metal staples. How cool is that! But you should take note that this stapler is suitable for stapling documents of about 5 pages.

P.S. Why not challenge yourself not to use a stapler at all?

 

3. The beauty of refills

Some of us may have the bad habit of throwing a pen away every time after use. But have you ever thought about getting refills? Not only do they help you practice sustainability, it is also cheaper as compared to getting a whole new pen! Refills are not only restricted to pens. You can buy refills for highlighters or whiteboard markers which can be found in almost every bookshop. So, what is stopping you?

 

4. Say no to spiral notebooks

One small detail that is often left out is when you purchase a spiral notebook (i.e. notebooks which are bound with a metal spine). Although it can be argued that the metal spine can be recycled, isn’t it better to avoid it completely? This also helps you save the hassle of separating the papers from the metal spine. My personal favourite brand of non-spiral notebooks is from Muji, even some of their planners are non-spiral!

 

5. Fancy pencils

It doesn’t come as a surprise that traditional pencils are much more environmentally friendly as compared to mechanical pencils due to the way they are manufactured. And who doesn’t love to use fancy and innovative pencils? There are traditional pencils which can be replanted into trees after use, such as Sprout whose pencils grow into various species of plants (eg: Basil, Mint, Sunflower and Sage). There are even traditional pencils made out of recycled newspapers. Why not give them a try?

 

Have more ideas on how to transform your work desk into a sustainable one? Feel free to drop us a few comments!