The way we live our lives advertently impacts the environment, where we see frequent flash floods in Asia, while there are droughts in the West that sees deep cracks in the soil during long dry spells. Tonnes of waste are thrown into the ocean, which results in animals being caught with plastic materials, on and in them. To prevent this, we should do our part and try to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, to ensure our children can see clear blue skies together with their kids in the foreseeable future.
Here are simple and doable steps you can practice to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. Bring Your Own Water Bottles and Lunchboxes
As Singapore is located in the equator, we experience summer all year round. Hydrate yourselves by bringing out your own water bottle. This means you don’t have to buy mineral water from convenience stores and save on single-use plastics whenever you buy drinks like coffee or bubble tea. Also, ditch plastic straws and drink directly from the cup or glass.
For takeaway meals, bring your lunchbox instead of having Styrofoam or plastic containers. 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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2. Invest in Recyclable Grocery Shopping Bags
Ensure you BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) whenever you go grocery shopping. To keep things organised and neat, purchase recyclable bags of different sizes to store different sized items - get a waterproof recyclable bag for wet items. To put into perspective how plastic bags are damaging to the environment, a single plastic bag takes about 15 to 1000 years to decompose. Now, 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?
3. Avoid Buying New Items
It is definitely challenging to refrain yourselves from checking out those items in your shopping 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 replace it. Remember, every item that we buy has an environmental footprint, the item is required to be transported from one place to another, via a vehicle that emits carbon monoxide (greenhouse gas). For furniture, find out how you can maximise space in your home here.
4. Green your Home with Energy Saving Electric Appliances
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. Opt for energy-saving lightbulbs as they are stronger and have more efficient lighting. If they aren’t energy efficient, you might end up with a hefty bill to pay.
5. Opt-Out of Junk Mails
If you’ve been tossing out the same flyers or letters each time you open your mailbox, it’s time to opt-out from these subscriptions. For bills and other payments, go digital and access your bills online. In this era, digitalisation 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. By going paperless, you’re reducing the demand for paper. Less paper means lesser trees to be chopped down.
6. Drive Lesser and Opt for Public Transportation
Singapore is a well-connected city and it only takes less than an hour to reach one corner to the other. Avoid personal driving unless highly necessary and if you don’t own a private vehicle, consider carpooling instead. With some planning, you’ll arrive at your destination on time. The extra time for commute also allows you to have some peace of mind head-space before you start or end your day.
7. Buy Local Produce
Consume local produce instead of regionally and internationally flown produce. With higher demand for 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 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse & 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, cardboards, and tin cans are tossed in the correct recycling bins after usage. Please make sure that the items are cleaned before putting them in the bins.
It’s time to do our part for the environment, no matter how small our actions are. If we incorporate at least one of the above measures, it will help protect our Earth for the next generation to come.
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