Many of us are doing our best live a sustainable lifestyle, but there’s always more we can do!
Here are five environmentally-conscious tips that can help us make Singapore greener and eco-friendlier.
1) Recycle your Household Waste
Despite Singapore’s environmentally-friendly proactive measures and initiatives—our recycling rate has actually plateaued at around 60 percent[i] over the last decade.
It’s even dropped slightly over the last few years; only 59 percent of Singapore’s waste was recycled in 2019[ii], as compared to 61 percent in 2018. A lot of this arises from incorrect recycling measures. In fact, as much as 40 percent of materials put into recycling bins in Singapore cannot be recycled[iii].
Here’s how you can make recycling instinctive:
- Allocate a space at home for your recycle bin or bag and only put paper, plastics, metal, and glass inside of it. Alternatively, use a bigger cardboard box or plastic bag! You can then cart everything down, this included, when it gets full.
- Empty any recyclable containers and rinse them before putting them inside your recycling station.
- Once your bin/bag/box is full, take it to the nearest blue recycling bin and empty its contents. Do this enough and recycling will become second nature to you in no time.
Food, liquid waste, light bulbs, batteries, tissue papers, ceramics, and bulky items cannot be recycled so don’t put them into your bin or bag. For a more expansive list of non-recyclables, check out this Non-Recyclable Items List.
2) Choose Sustainable & Environmentally-Friendly Dining Options
Knowing how to reduce waste and other harmful environmental activities is one thing, and creating less waste is another.
Sustainable living also involves making conscious personal choices, and knowing where your food comes from is a great place to start!
Luckily, Singapore has a plethora of sustainable dining options and produce selections for citizens who want to make a real impact on keeping their city clean, green, and sustainable.
The following is a brief list of some of the farm-to-table produce and dining options available in Singapore:
The market opens four times a year and showcases fresh goat’s milk, fresh butter gelato, locally-grown vegetables, and other fresh produce produced by local farmers.
For updates, openings and timings, check the Kranjji’s Facebook Group
Not only does this farm project offer fresh farm produce containing no pesticides, fertilizers, or growth hormones of any kind but they also provide education on sustainable farming should you ever want to engage in this earth-friendly activity yourself.
The only goat dairy in Singapore, Hay Dairies offers a broad range of organic flavored goats’ milk and educational tours for kids so they can learn about goat farming and natural living.
An environment-friendly and sustainable restaurant that supports a large group of Southeast Asian organic herders and produce growers and offers locally sourced and seasoned produce in all of their Western-inspired dishes.
Feel free to share more sustainable dining options or produce sources in the comments below!
3) Don’t Ditch Plastic Bags Just Yet
While the effort to transition from plastic bags to paper and cotton bags has become a popular eco-friendly movement globally over the last decade, it might not necessarily be the best choice for the environment.
According to a study done by Nanyang Technological University[iv], single-use plastic bags may have less of an environmental footprint than multi-use cotton bags and single-use paper bags.
While the study showed that single-use plastic bags were less detrimental to the environment than plastic or cotton bags were, the scientists who took part in the study suggested that the best way to maximize plastic bag use and make it even more beneficial for the environment is to reuse them multiple times—over 50 times to be exact.
As a fun experiment, you could try creating your own biodegradable plastic bags at home using the following steps:
- Obtain a suitable container that can be heated.
- Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water.
- Add 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
- Mix all of the ingredients well.
- Once mixed, heat the mixture over low heat while continuously stirring the ingredients.
- Once the mixture is thick and lump-free, remove it from the heat.
- Pour the thick dough on a non-stick surface.
- Once dry, shape it into the form of a bag (wait until it is cold, or you won’t be able to shape it).
- After shaping it into a bag, let it dry for two to three days before use.
If you have plenty of plastic bags lying around at home, however, do use those first!
4) Avoid Renting Your Clothes
Clothes-renting is commonly considered to be wallet-friendly, as well as an effective solution for reducing pollution around the planet.
However, it now seems that it may be worse for the environment than we expected if done too much: clothing rental services emit an alarming amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere[v].
If renting clothes causes more harm to the environment than throwing them out, what can we do when it comes to eco-friendly dressing?
- Green Wash
Green laundry detergent does just as good a job as the chemical-laden versions do without causing harm to the environment. Soap nuts are steadily becoming a popular option too. Wash on low heat and line-dry your clothes to save on energy.
- Swap Your Clothes
Since decomposing clothes emit harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and Methane gas, it is not a good idea to throw them in the trash. A staggering 156,000 tonnes of textile waste was discarded by Singaporeans in 2020[vi]!
- Textile Recycling
Textiles can be recycled and new clothes can be made from old ones.
Check out Greensquare for more information on textile recycling services in Singapore.
5) Purchase Clothes From Eco-friendly & Sustainable Brands
You don’t have to sacrifice fashion to be environmentally conscious! There are plenty of sustainable fashion brands in Singapore to choose from but before mentioning them, let’s take a look at some of the eco-friendly textile materials you should be looking out for during your next shopping spree.
Green textiles help reduce waste and support energy-efficient textile manufacturing.
Some of the more popular recyclable and organic fabric used in green textiles today that you can look out for include hemp, wool, organic cotton, bamboo fabrics, soy silk, jute and corn fibre.
We hope you’ve found something to try from our tips! Do share with us what you’re already practicing, and let’s all continue to do our part for the environment!