Green Is The New Gold
We all have our new year resolutions, and it’s always around the three month mark when we check-in to see how much progress we’ve made, only to find that we’ve moved about an inch. I know my resolution to eat clean, get fit, and read more, has remained pretty stagnant from when I first set it - three years ago.
With so many things to strike off from our personal to-do lists, it’s hard to find time to care about the environment - or so we think. Procrastination and lazy lifestyles aside, going green really isn’t as time-consuming and difficult as we make it out to be. Especially when we end up taking care of our bodies in the process.
Love yourself, love your environment. Take it from Bieber, if you like the way you look that much, then you should go and love yourself - by investing in things that will go a long way. Going green starts with wholesome living, and it could as easy as switching up the foods we eat, or the brands of creams we put on our faces.
That said, practising the 3Rs in real life is easier said than done - especially if you put the pro in procrastination. Here are 10 easy and lesser-known ways to go green that even the laziest Singaporean can follow, all by making choices that benefit you.
1. Don’t buy that soft drink just because it's convenient
Calories aren’t the only thing you should be worried about when reaching for that carbonated drink - millions of cans find their way into landfills due to the sheer mass of waste produced from the consumption of our favourite soft drinks.
And if that isn’t bad enough, the creation of these sweet drinks you so love also releases high-levels of toxic waste into waterways. While you might not be affected by the after-effects of these bottles of fizzy happiness, less developed countries sure aren’t as lucky. The moral of the story here is simple: boycott that carbonated drink and opt for the au naturale aqua!
And if you just can’t can your thirst for a fizzy drink, then the very least you can do is to twist off the ring tab, and donate that part to someone who needs it more. Lightweight aluminium ring tabs make up one of the components that go into making prosthetic legs, a novel venture that has helped the mobility-impaired stand on their own two feet.
2. Leave all your papers for the karang guni man
If you’ve got a daily newspaper subscription, you’re probably guilty of two things: having “no time” to read the papers, and leaving them to pile up in a dusty corner. This goes for you students as well. It’s not until a mini Bukit Timah hill springs up and threatens to landslide that you notice you’ve accumulated 4 years worth of study notes and test papers.
That’s when tossing the pile seems like the most practical option because lugging the heap to the recycling bin downstairs is too much effort.
But who says recycling has to be exhausting? All you have to do is let someone else deal with it for you. This is when you’re grateful for Singapore’s unique culture of the door-to-door neighbourhood karang guni man who conveniently pops by every once in awhile.
Save the environment, and help someone make a living? It’s a win-win situation.
3. Going for that Big Beach Cleanup even if that means waking up at 9am
We’ve all been guilty of being too busy for any kind of voluntary beach clean up, with flimsy excuses like “I’ve got more important things to do” and “It’s way too early to be waking up at that time”.
Bin there, dump that.
Don’t let weightless excuses keep you from checking things off your Do-Good list this 2016. Sign yourself for that long-overdue coastal cleanup with a bunch of friends and turn a typically boring activity into a day of fun.
Think of it as some quality time with friends, the opportunity to meet new people and a chance to work on that beach babe tan - all while protecting Mother Earth. It’s all on you, pal.
With the spread of volunteer activities and campaigns offered by the trusty National Environment Agency (NEA), you’ll have no excuse. Just do it.
4. Go Paperless
Unlike handwritten letters of affection penned by your long lost flame, physical bills, receipts, bank statements and even boarding passes hold little to no significance or purpose to us after their one time use.
And yet, Singapore reached 1.2million tonnes of paper waste in 2015; I’m sure about half of it was thanks to these lifeless letters. That’s equivalent to over 96 ‘500-sheet’ boxes of A4 paper - per person. At the rate we’re chopping down trees, they’ll be a thing of the past by SG150.
As much as we adore receiving snail mail and feeling like important personnel, it’s time to embrace the digital era and go paperless. No longer will you have to stake out at the letterbox for your university admission results, bank slips, or paycheck confirmations - everything is but a click away.
Heck, even McDonalds doesn’t hand out discount flyers anymore; everything’s done by QR code or mobile screenshots now. And I’m lovin’ it.
5. Stop hoarding and start recycling your old clothes
Impulse buys, jeans that don’t fit anymore, and last season’s dresses - if it’s just wasting space hanging limp in your closet, then it has got to go. Just because there isn’t an official recycling bin for clothes, it doesn’t mean they can’t be passed on to others who can werk it better.
There are so many ways to recycle, upcycle, or reuse your unwanted garments; even selling your clothes online can be considered a green effort to save clothes wastage.
Alternatively, if you’ve some to spare, donate them to H&M’s garment collection. They accept all brands and types of clothing for recycling, taking apart the old stitches and remaking them into new collection pieces. The proceeds all go towards funding their humanitarian projects, so you can rest assured of your contributions. Every single thread counts.
6. Don’t trash your glass
From daily bottles of Gorilla Press juice, to empty bottles of wine you single-handedly polished off last weekend while watching The Notebook, we Singaporeans go through a lot of glass. And it’s a shame that so many people don’t make greater efforts to recycle it. Unlike paper and plastic, many people don’t know that glass can be recycled - as long as it’s not broken.
So before you jump on the glass-recycling bandwagon like a carefree camper, make sure you go the extra mile to wrap your glass disposables up in newspaper before dropping them where they belong.
After all, when a glass breaks, no it don’t break even, and its shards might even chip others in the bin. Don’t risk shattering everyone else’s recycling efforts.
7. Shut down your office computers each day
Just because you ain’t the one paying the bills, doesn’t mean the environment should pay for it. It’s really not fair that your computer has to keep working the screensavers through the night long after you’ve already clocked off.
And nope, Sleep mode doesn’t mean your computer is really sleeping. Leaving your PC on overnight eats up around 40-watt hours just by doing absolutely nothing. At the very least, it should be on Power Saving mode, and switched off at the end of the day.
Here’s a tip: If you’re just lazy to wait for your slowpoke of a computer to boot up in the mornings, switch it to Auto turn on when you arrive in the morning to save some extra time and dollars here and there.
8. Invest in a coffee cup you can keep
If you’re one of those caffeine-aholics who live on at least one cup of coffee a day, we’re looking right at you. Did you know that as many as 58 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year? And no, we don’t mean recycled.
Now if you’re thinking “I’m but just one person, my coffee consumption can’t be affecting the planet”, let’s do the math. Buying a cup of coffee every workday morning equates to 5 cups a week, 20 cups a month, and 240 cups a year.
And if life plays out for you as it should, you’ll probably find yourself working from the age of 25, to the ripe age of 60 - that’s a total of 8,400 coffee cups that you’ve solely contributed to our earth’s destruction. If everyone kept going on with the same “I’m too inconsequential to matter” mentality, earth and mankind will eventually burn out.
So if you need your daily Kopi-O Siu Dai (Coffee Black, No Sugar) fix, here’s one active step you can take to minimise your carbon footprint. Made from safe, quality materials, reuseable coffee cups are both fashionable and hardy - definitely one investment you won’t regret.
9. Clean the back of your fridge and save up to 30% energy
What’s big, bulky, and always running? Look no further, it’s your very own trusty refrigerator. Hiding in a corner and blending into walls, refrigerators are always overlooked when it comes to being more environmentally friendly. But one look at its energy count will tell you that the fridge holds a way bigger stake than you thought.
We use our fridges every day to store everything from raw meat to eggs to the occasional half-opened packet of Oreos, and the constant opening and closing of the fridge wastes an enormous amount of energy, and can cause dust to build up.
The more dust we have on the refrigerator coils, the more energy is needed to keep the ice box running, driving the power bill up. Save yourself the dollars, and save the earth by cleaning out your fridge regularly. Don’t forget the coils!
10. Not doing your research on everyday products
Blackhead beater, age rewinder, expert exfoliator - almost every skincare product in the market promises unique and effective results. Just bought a new exfoliating scrub? Flip it over, and you’ll probably see microbeads somewhere in the fine print. Don’t underestimate its micro size; its consequences wage macro warfare on the environment.
You just want to remove the dead skin and gunk from your pores, not unintentionally pollute seawater or choke marine creatures who mistake these beads for food. Many cosmetic products promise results at the expense of the environment, and you’re contributing to them by not knowing exactly what you fill your bathroom with.
A foolproof way of force-starting your own green campaign is to invest in an all-natural skincare regime from the get-go, and stick to it. By changing everything in your bathroom to something environmentally friendly, you’ll be using nothing but green goods every time you freshen up. Feel good about your green lifestyle for the next three months - until your cleanser runs out.
Here’s where Botani comes in. Conceived by an Australian naturopath with a passion for simplicity and all-natural nourishment, Botani uses 100% plant based ingredients and organic ingredients wherever possible - which are all Eco Cert approved. Its vegan-friendly range is suitable for all skin types, including expectant moms and babies.
With its treatment-focused range that’s gentle yet effective, skin troubles are a few washes from gone. Breathe a sigh of relief every time you cleanse your face, knowing that your skin is being pampered by Mother Nature’s finest nutrients.
Botani products are made of olive squalene, an ingredient almost identical to our skin’s own in-built moisturiser. You can say goodbye to irritant-breakouts and embrace skin that glows from within. If you’re someone who loves fruits and natural scrubs, you’ll be glad to know that Botani’s scrubs have zero microbeads; instead, they are chock full of seeds and fruit extracts which nourish your skin, leaving it smooth and supple.
Beauty with a conscience comes with one conscious choice, so make the right one by putting your best face forward.
Embark On Your 30 Day Green Campaign
There’s nothing like a little peer pressure to get even the worst of procrastinators up and going. If you’ve been harbouring “Go Green” on your to-do list for a few months short of forever, now’s the time to throw in the towel and just do it.
Join Love Organic SG in their30 Day Live Green Campaign, and embrace green solutions to stop pollution on the inside and out. With a lineup designed to refresh and rejuvenate - think quality skincare, berry bowls from the Amazon, teatime in silence and physio-pilates - your month of April is clearly set to be the most feel-good time of the year.
Saving the Earth doesn’t stop at the environment. In today’s money-go-round world where profit takes precedence in most areas, Love Organic SG stands out in their resolution to spread positivity through honesty and care from one sista to another.
Animal lovers will also feel doubly good, knowing that for every bottle of Botani product sold, Love Organic SG will pledge a dollar to Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD), its pet beneficiary. It’s about loving yourself, and others as well.
New month, new you. Embrace it!
This post was brought to you by Love Organic SG.