With the world focused on climate change, more are putting emphasis on leading lives that are ‘sustainable’ and ‘eco-friendly’. And more importantly, as a homeowner, what can you do to help?
While committing to the lifestyle requires dedication and effort, start small. It is possible for you to make a change, step by step, with these 10 good habits! They will do you and the Earth a huge favour in the long run.
1. Have A Recycling Corner At Home
Make a conscious effort to recycle by creating a recycling bin corner at home. Such a simple step can help to kickstart the simple habit of sorting out household waste.
Note: Always remember to rinse out any leftover bits of food or liquid before putting them into the blue bins.
This step is important as any contaminated recyclables will be put in the trash subsequently and sent to the Semakau landfills, creating a toxic linear process.
What can be recycled:
- Paper (e.g. egg tray, brochures, drink packet. For cardboard boxes, flatten them when recycling them.)
- Plastics (e.g. detergent/shampoo bottles, plastic packaging)
- Metal (e.g. biscuit tins, drink cans)
- Glass (e.g, jam and spread bottle, condiment bottles)
Still unsure of what can be recycled? Refer to NEA’s full list of recyclables and non-recyclables here.
Once your recycling bag at home is full, bring it down the nearest blue recycling bin in your estate.
2. Save & Reuse Water At Home
In your daily life, water can be easily taken for granted. One of the ways to live a sustainable lifestyle is by practicing reusing. Water collected from washing rice can be used to water plants. After the second rinse, it can also be used to wash vegetables.
Fun fact: Research done by BioTech Connection has proven that rice water can help with hair growth. Some has said that rice water is good for washing face too!
3. Eliminate Single-use Plastics
Replace disposable single-use plastics and unrecyclable styrofoam takeaway boxes with reusable lunch containers. For example, pack your meal in lunch boxes, bring-your-own mug and reusable straw when you takeaway drinks,
Embark on a sustainable lifestyle with our range of eco-friendly household essentials here,
As for waste, one concern is that without plastic bags, waste can’t be thrown away properly. A solution is to separate the wet and dry waste, putting the latter in a composting bin.
Alternatively, try making your own dustbin liner with newspapers! Watch our tutorial below:
4. Repurpose Food Past The Expiry Date
The logical thing to do after seeing a food product that’s past its expiry date is to throw it away, but did you know that the ‘Best By’ label is just a guideline for when you’ll enjoy it in its prime?
Business Insider explains that these two words refer more to food quality (flavour and texture) for a store, rather than food safety. As such, this label is one of the causes of food waste.
To differentiate, NTUC Fairprice states that it is the ‘Use By’ label that is for food safety.
Here are a few ways to avoid piling on extra waste that harms the environment.
- You can donate to a food bank, with non-perishable and non-expired food items. E.g Food from the Heart Singapore, The Food Bank Singapore, which relies on donations to provide meals for people needing support.
- Do regular checks on the ‘Use By’ dates on your food, and make meals with the items that are approaching expiration. Always remember the “first in, first out” rule!
- Store your foods in the fridge and freezer appropriately, so as to help them last longer.
Fridge storage tip: Utilise clear fridge organizers and food containers to keep yourself reminded of what you have inside!
Shop our collection of Fridge Organizers here.
5. Be Mindful Of Your Electrical Consumption & Waste
Go for greener electricity
If you’re conscious about carbon emissions, opt for a green electricity plan. In Singapore’s context, electricity retailers (e.g. iSwitch, Sunseap, Geneco) that offer eco-friendly electricity plans focus on solar and/or carbon neutral electricity.
While it is more expensive to opt for a green electricity plan, you can start small with energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs that use 25-80% less energy, and can last 3 to 25 times longer. Switch to energy and water efficient fridge, washing machine, and air-cons.
Donate or recycle your e-waste
If you have used electronics (e.g laptops, phones, home appliances) that are still in usable condition, donate them to these charity organisations here and have those in need benefit from them.
For unwanted e-waste, recycle them at e-waste collection points here. With recycled materials, they can be used to make new products, reducing the need to mine raw materials from the Earth.
6. Eco-friendly Laundry Routine
Choose an eco-friendly laundry detergent that is usually made from plant-based ingredients to produce less toxic wastewater. Do away with fabric softeners that they often contain harmful chemicals to the environment.
Couple this with simple routines such as only washing on full load to reduce water usage, and air-drying your garments instead of using the dryer to reduce energy consumption.
7. Shopping For The Environment
Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting, and accounts for 1/10th of the world’s carbon footprint?
Clothes manufacturing causes a deep impact across the agricultural and industrial sectors. Fashion trends generate lots of non-recyclable waste from the industry.
Donate, recycle worn-out clothes, and purchase secondhand clothes (go thrifting with your friends) to save the environment!
Also check out on StyleMag; 2020 Ultimate List Of Places To Donate Your Old Clothes & Items in Singapore
8. Urban Gardening For Reducing Carbon Footprint
As the carbon footprint created over time causes climate change that heats up the Earth, urban greenery can help reverse the effects. NParks mentions the eco-friendly benefits of urban green spaces, such as helping with energy consumption, and providing insulation to noise.
Don’t let the high rise arrangement of the buildings deter you from joining the urban farming movement. Currently, urban gardens exist in the form of community gardens for HDB green thumbs to contribute to, corridor plants that need suitable conditions, and even in-door planting systems.
9. Eat Ethically & Reduce Toxic Emissions
Home-grown produce can lower carbon emissions by reducing the distance needed for traveling, unlike foreign-imported foods.
Additionally, you can try reducing your meat intake. Digestive processes of farm animals are the cause of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.
With the globe’s increasing demand for meat, the amount of land used has caused drastic changes to the landscape, as well as damaged natural habitats. By opting for a diet that has less or omits meat, it’ll make a difference to the environment.
As busy homeowners, it can be tough to adopt these eco-friendly practices into your daily life. As change takes time, it’s good to start forming these habits early.
If you’ve adopted any of these into your lifestyle, let us know in the comments!
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