1 ADOPT A MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE
Ultimately, excessive consumption is one of the major issues that is taking a toll on the environment. By scaling back on the things you purchase, especially non-essential items, you can help lessen the impact on the environment, too.
2 CUT DOWN ON WASTE
Instead of purchasing bottles after bottles of home necessities, from food to shampoo and shower gel, purchase in bulk from stores like The Source Bulk Foods, where you can get just what you need and refill them in your recyclable containers. This way, you can engage in a zero waste lifestyle. Find out more at thesourcebulkfoods.com.sg.
3 INSTALL SOLAR FILMS IN YOUR WINDOWS
There are a number of benefits to installing specialised solar films in your windows. These films are designed to evenly disperse natural light, and reduce the effects of the sun, including the reduction of ultra violet rays and glare, and bringing down the heat. They also help keep furnishings from fading so you don’t have to replace them as often.
4 UPCYCLE AND RESTORE OLD FURNITURE
Instead of tossing old furniture, a fresh coat of paint or new fittings can have you seeing worn-out pieces in a new light. Consider an unexpected colour on an oriental design or adding quirky knobs to a vintage cabinet. Not quite a handyman? Send your furniture to places like Hock Siong & Co. and Second Charm for upholstery and restoration work.
PHOTO 123RF. COM
5 CHOOSE WOOD FURNITURE FROM SUSTAINABLE SOURCES
Get the look of warmth in your home with beautifully crafted wood furniture, but be sure that you buy from stores that advocate the use of ethically sourced wood. Soul and Tables make furniture such as dining tables, bed frames and bookshelves with wood such as teak, which are sourced from sustainable plantations in Java, Indonesia. They also work closely to ensure trees are replanted and that only certain numbers are felled every year. Find out more at soulandtables.com.sg.
6 USE HEAT REFLECTIVE PAINTS
Can’t take the heat? Make the switch to a heat reflective paint, like the Dulux Weathershield KeepCool exterior paint. It’s designed to reflect a significant portion of solar radiation off building exteriors, which reduces heat build-up in its interior. In turn, it diminishes the power consumption of your air conditioning unit as well as carbon dioxide emissions. Also use low- or zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds that release harmful gases) paints.
7 CHOOSE FRONT-LOAD INSTEAD OF
Front-load washers are designed to continuously lift and drop your clothes from and into water, much like handwashing. Top-loaders, on the other hand, fully submerge the clothes in water during the wash cycle, and so require more water than front-loaders. If you’re worried you might miss out on washing some items after starting your front-load washer, there is now a solution with Samsung Add Wash washing machine that lets you add clothes even during mid-cycle.
8 REPLACE PLASTIC FOOD WRAPS WITH ECO-FRIENDLY OPTIONS
Play your part in reducing the use of plastics. Make the switch from singleuse plastic containers to reusable options, and cut down on cling wrap usage too. Instead, try Minimakers’ organic cotton beeswax wraps, which are washable, reusable and compostable. They are made locally with stylish designer fabrics. Find out more at www.minimakers.sg.
9 CONSOLIDATE YOUR LAUNDRY AND DISHES
This seemingly pedestrian chore can have a big impact on the earth. Conserve water and energy by running full loads for each cycle. And if for some reason you do need to run a smaller load, turn on the washer’s “small load” or “eco” setting if there is, which uses less water and electricity.
10 PLACE YOUR FAN AT THE RIGHT SPOT
If you’re renovating your home, position your fans strategically for better ventilation and airflow. Good ventilation means that fresh air circulates in your home, distributing heat evenly and reducing the need for airconditioning.
11 THINK ABOUT YOUR HOME TEXTILES
Cotton, for example, is a widely used natural material but the cultivation of it often involves the use of chemicals, insecticide and pesticide. It’s also commonly treated with formaldehyde to reduce creasing. Earth-friendly alternatives include organic cotton, bamboo, natural hemp, soy and lempur as well as recycled polyester.
12 CUT FOOD AND FRUIT WASTE
Food waste is a worldwide problem, with organic matter in landfills contributing to methane emissions. Here’s how the average person can help: Keep tabs of what you have in your pantry and refrigerator, and plan a detailed shopping list, so you don’t end up buying what you already have or don’t need. Your fridge can play a part too; LG’s Instaview Door-In-Door refrigerator allows you to see its contents just by knocking on its mirrored glass panel, and has other high-tech functions to maintain food freshness and cut back on wastage.
13 CHOOSE NATURAL CLEANING AGENTS
Use natural solutions for cleaning instead of chemicalladen ones that pollute the earth. Lemon juice, baking soda, and white vinegar are all gentle cleaners that are safe for the environment and pet-friendly, too.
Make your own eco-friendly toilet bomb to unclog your WC:
1/2 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup of cornstarch
1/2 cup of lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons of water Natural essential oil
1. In a ziplock bag, add baking soda, cornstarch and lemon juice until mixture clumps.
2. Then, add two to three tablespoons of water in the mixture and knead it.
3. Repeat this step until the mixture feels like a piece of dough.
4. Add 15 drops of your favourite essential oil in the dough mixture and knead again.
5. Store them in ice trays and leave them to dry for a couple of days. Once dry, remove one of the toilet bombs and throw them into your toilet bowl. Let it fizz up for a couple of minutes before you flush.
14 ENSURE YOUR CEILING FAN IS SPINNING THE RIGHT WAY
Check the direction of your ceiling fan – to get a direct downward draft, your fan should be spinning anticlockwise as you look up at it. This pulls the cooler air down.
15 INVEST IN AN EFFICIENT RAIN SHOWER HEAD
A fancy rain shower adds a touch of luxury to your bathroom but its voluminous stream of water increases the likelihood of higher water usage. But if a rain shower is at the top of your dream home wishlist, get your bathroom outfitted with one that’s water-efficient, like Hansgroshe’s Crometta Overhead Shower 160 1jet EcoSmart 9 l/min. It injects air into the water stream for a heavier spray without actually requiring as much water.
16 CONSIDER WATEREFFICIENT WCS
When purchasing a new WC, consider investing in one that has a built-in sink. The sink uses clean water that is meant to fill the cistern, so you can save water when washing your hands.
17 USE CURTAINS AND BLINDS TO REDUCE HEAT
Another way to keep your home cool is as easy as installing blinds and curtains, and keeping them closed during the day when you’re out. The Altex SecureZIP smart blinds ensure no gap between the fabric and its side channels for extra protection against UV rays and glare, and is ideal for outdoor spaces like the balcony or patio.
18 PLACE REUSABLE BAGS STRATEGICALLY
You’ve bought that reusable bag but there’s just one problem - you’re forgetting to bring it out. Make it a habit to stash it back in your day bag when it’s not in use, have one in the car, or keep it somewhere visible (like in a basket beside the front door) so you’ll remember to grab it before you go.
19 SAVE WATER AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Start by using a mug when you brush your teeth so you don’t leave the tap running, and watering your plants with water you’ve used to wash rice.
20 CUT DOWN ON CANNED DRINKS
Consumption of bottled and canned drinks generates a lot of waste. Instead of reaching for a can of soda, get your sparkling beverage fix by making your own aerated water with Sodastream. This nifty gadget allows you to create your own blends of fizzy drinks, while reducing the amount of waste from single-use drink bottles. Find out more at sodastream.sg.
Zero Waste SG is a local independent charity which aims to drive the zero waste movement in Singapore through education and advocacy, focusing on the areas of food waste, plastic disposables, household recycling and organisational waste. Manager Pek Hai Lin shares her insights on how individuals can do their part in reducing waste.
10 TIPS ON REDUCING WASTE IN SINGAPORE
• The best way to reduce waste is at its source. Think twice before buying anything, even if it’s on sale! Avoid hoarding as it encourages throwing away instead of reusing items.
• Reuse shoe boxes, or other boxes that your purchases come in, to organise your home.
• Consider purchasing home decor items at places like Salvation Army or Carousell. Many of the secondhand pieces are in excellent condition, and you can save money too while giving them a new lease of life!
• Declutter at the source by bringing your own grocery bags, and take plastic trash bags only when you need them.
• When heading down to your nearest eatery for a takeaway, consider bringing a container along to reduce singleuse disposables.
• Separate wet and dry waste – the proper way is to drain liquids from wet waste first, then bag it so it doesn’t touch the dry waste. More than 80% of dry waste can be recycled.
• Before sending items for recycling, ensure the items are clean and dry. There should be no food waste inside as it will contaminate the rest of the recyclables!
• If your recycling bin is a blue bin that you see around estates, you can mix metal, plastic, paper and glass together.
• Items like clothes, soft toys, mattresses and furniture should be donated at various places in Singapore instead of being placed in the blue bins, as they cannot be recycled.
• Dispose of your electronic waste at various recycling points islandwide — find out where they’re located at, on the National Environmental Agency (NEA) website. When disposing of rechargeable batteries, tape the ends first so as to ensure that they won’t be a potential fire hazard.
TEXT DOMENICA TAN, MELODY BAY, MICHELLE LEE