All about that haze
The haze has been an annual annoyance to us Singaporeans for the past few decades, and the situation is only looking greyer for us in the coming years. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
We too can play a part and even our grocery shopping habits can help save the environment. And considering we shop for our groceries every week anyway, here are 5 absolutely painless ways to alter our shopping habits to be more eco-friendly.
Save the earth, save our lungs!
1. Know what products NOT to buy
Cold Storage and NTUC have stopped selling tissue products linked to companies contributing to the haze in Indonesia, but when we shop at smaller supermarkets, we need to be careful that the products we buy are the most responsible choice. Be especially particular on when picking paper products, like tissue, toilet roll and printer paper a
Some tissue brands that are not environmentally friendly:
Printing paper brands:
- A One
- Copy Mate
- I K
- Sinar Spectra
- Enza MG
- Golden Coin
Be sure to do some research before bringing the items to the checkout counter!
How this helps: Our shopping habits shape what supermarkets bring in, so by playing our parts as responsible consumers, we’ll hurt tree-burning companies where it hurts: their pockets.
PS: several groups of Singaporean consumers have set up Facebook pages, to help shoppers make informed choices. Visit the Haze Elimination Action Team Facebook Page to find out more.
2. Keep it simple: don’t be swayed by pretty packaging
You don’t need to get pre bagged veggies! Source
Unless the packaging can be completely justified and recycled into something useful, there is absolutely no need to purchase goods with excess packaging such as pre boxed fruits!
Yes, I’m not going to lie, sometimes a nicely packaged set of shampoos and conditioners or sweets in cute colourful boxers can motivate you to buy ‘em. But think of it like this: if the product was actually good, it wouldn’t need such gimmicks in order to sell.
How this helps: More packaging = more waste in the form of rubbish and fuels used to make them.
3. Support local produce
Don’t turn your nose up at made in S.G. products! Domestically produced items, whether perishables like veggies or even clothing, require less fuel to transport them. By switching your purchases to local produce, not only are you saving the planet from harmful fumes due to transport vehicles, you’re also encouraging the growth of our domestic industries!
Plus: you know for sure the friendly farmers here aren’t the ones burning forests in Indonesia!
Here are some farms you can visit for local produce:
How this helps: With less harmful fumes being emitted into the environment, our water cycle remain healthy, leading to more natural cycles of rainfall. that could aggravate the the spread of even more forest fires.
4. Save more plastic: purchase goods in bulk
25kg of SongHe rice costs $56 at NTUC’s Warehouse Club! 10kg of SongHe rice costs $28.50 at NTUC Fairprice. Source: Victoria Lim
Cheaper is better, and in this case, cheaper helps fight the haze too. If it’s a necessity, buy more of it! Not only do you enjoy the bulk discounts of buying just a couple more, but it saves you time spent on making multiple trips. Bulk products are packaged together as well, which means less wastage of plastic.
If you stay in the West, there are loads of places you can go for bulk purchases of necessities. There’s Big Box, as well as NTUC’s Warehouse Club, where you can get loads of discounts and make your stand against haze-causing companies at the same time..
How this helps: Items packed in bulk reduce wastage of plastic packaging, reducing companies’ dependency on palm oil produced by forest fires.
5. Say YES to ethical companies
When it comes to taking care of the environment, some companies do it better than others. Regarding paper products, a solid way to be sure you’re not buying goods that contribute to the haze pandemic in Southeast Asia is to look out for the FSC ‘tree checkmark’ logo on the packaging. The FSC logo indicates that these wood-by products have been derived from sustainable and trusted sources i.e. they don’t use the slash and burn method of clearing forests.
One option the Singaporean consumer has is to purchase products by the Kleenex Brand, all paper products by the brand are FSC certified- thus indicating a really strong commitment to saving the environment.
In fact, Kleenex has received much recognition for its efforts to source responsibly and to reduce its environmental footprint. The brand works with the WWF Singapore to help consumers make informed ethical choices when shopping.
We can always do more!
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is currently running the ‘We Breathe What We Buy’ awareness campaign for sustainable products. WWF-Singapore’s We Breathe What We Buy haze campaign is raising organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.
This campaign is raising consumer awareness about how their choices can impact haze pollution and is gathering support for a switch to sustainable agricultural practices that do not use burning by gathering pledges on XtheHaze.org
You don’t have to be the official of a country, or a CEO in the palm oil industry to make a change. All you have to do is change your consumer demands, and companies will start listening to what’s important to us. Remember: we have the greatest say in what we want produced. Support eco-friendly companies and save our lungs!
This post was brought to you by Kleenex Singapore.