8 ways to live more sustainably

2 April 2020

Our Earth is not getting any younger, and you’ve witnessed the impact of global warming. There are frequent flash floods in Asia, while there are droughts in the West that sees deep cracks in the soil during long dry spells. The way we live our lives advertently impacts the environment, where wildlife are also at high risk. Tonnes of waste are thrown into the ocean, which results in animals intertwined with plastic materials, on and in them.

Thankfully, more brands are taking precautionary steps to be more sustainable and kinder to the environment. Some of the measures taken are ensuring that the manufacturing products used are not harmful for the environment and keeping track of their supply and demand, to prevent over production. On our part, it’s paramount that we do our part and try to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, to ensure our children can see clear blue skies together with their kids when they grow up in the future.

Below are 8 simple steps on how you can live more sustainably.

1. Green your home
Instead of using regular lightbulbs, use energy-saving lightbulbs for stronger and more efficient lighting. When purchasing electronics such as a TV and an air-conditioner, take note if they are energy saving certified, because these appliances use the most power and electricity in your home. If they aren’t energy efficient, you might end up with a hefty bill to pay. Don’t forget to recycle the appliance if you’re replacing them.

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2. Avoid buying new items
Yes – it’s challenging to refrain yourselves from checking out those items in your cart or swiping your credit cards in-store. Before you make that purchase, one rule you should always abide by is, if the item isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix it. It means there’s no need to buy it! Remember, every item that we buy has an environmental footprint, which means the item is required to be transported from one place to another, via a vehicle which emits carbon monoxide (greenhouse gas).

Read: 5 simple storage ideas to save space in your new BTO HDB flat

3. Opt out of junk mails

If you’ve been tossing out the same flyers or letters each time you open your mailbox, try opting out from their subscription lists. For bills and other payments, consider going paperless by going digital. In this time and age, digitalization is everything and it’s important to keep up to date by moving along with technology. Furthermore, digital is the way to go as everything is stored up in the cloud and easily accessible, for your convenience.

By going paperless, you’re reducing the demand of paper. Which means, paper production companies would chop down lesser trees to manufacture paper. More trees is better for the environment!

4. Bring your own water bottles and boxes
As Singapore is located in the equator, we experience summer all year round! Hydrate yourselves by bringing out your own water bottle. Having your own water bottle means you don’t have to buy mineral water from convenience stores. This also means you get to save on single-use plastic whenever you buy drinks like coffee or bubble tea. Also, ditch plastic straws, drink directly from the cup or glass.

For takeaway meals, bring your personal lunchbox instead of having your takeaways in Styrofoam and plastic bowls. Start with office lunches! While you’re at it, also bring your personal cutleries. Did you know Styrofoam takes up to 500 years to decompose?

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5. Bring your own grocery shopping bags

When going for your grocery shopping, please BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag). To keep things organised and neat, purchase recyclable bags of different sizes to store different sized items for your groceries. For the wet items, consider getting a waterproof recyclable bag. To put into perspective how plastic bags are damaging to the environment, a single plastic bag takes about 15 to 1000 years to decompose! Let that sink in.

Did you know that every year, thousands of seabirds, seals, sea turtles and other marine animals are killed due to plastic ingestion?

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6. Drive less and take public transportation
Singapore a well-connected city and it only takes less than hour to reach from one corner, to the other. As such, as much as possible, avoid personal driving unless highly necessary. If you don’t own a private vehicle, consider taking carpooling. With a little planning and time management, you’ll reach your destination on time. The extra time for commute also allows you to have some head-space before you start or end your day.

Read: 10 ways to improve your life in the next few months

7. Eat local produce
Consume local produce instead of regionally and internationally flown produce. With higher demand of local produce, there’ll be a drop in demand for overseas ones. Thus reducing the need for transportation of the items into our country.

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8. Back to the basics of reduce, reuse and recycle

At times, it may be inevitable that we have to use plastics, due to situations that are beyond our control. For example, receiving a gift from someone or we left our lunchbox at home for takeaways. However, you can still do your small part by ensuring that the plastics, cardboard and tin cans are tossed in the correct recycling bins after usage. Please ensure that the items are cleaned before putting them in the bins.