Kickstart a sustainable🌻lifestyle with these eco-friendly ideas

Cadence Loh
·Lifestyle Editor
·9-min read

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There’s always a silver lining in all matters. Yes, even the COVID-19 pandemic. Hello, lowered global emissions, reduced deforestation, better air and water quality! This data on reduced pollution worldwide is based on satellite images collected by NASA since the coronavirus struck.

Here in Singapore, we are somewhat embracing our pre-covid lives with the onset of Phase 3. With the reopening of the economy, it pays to be more mindful of the impact our actions have on the environment. You may be thinking that deforestation, air and water quality are lofty ideas and better left to the relevant agencies. However, everyone has a part to play. No action is too small.

Why not make this year's Earth Day on 22 April the day you kickstart a more sustainable lifestyle? Not quite sure how you can play a part to conserve the environment? There are plenty of minor tweaks you can make to your daily lives. Read on, and you will discover that a little effort goes a long way when it comes to doing our part for Mother Earth.

Reduce the use of single-use plastic

Want a cup of Joe? Bring your own keep cup.

Paper cups, which are supposed to be more earth-friendly, are usually lined with plastic which makes them non-compostable. Some cafes offer a discount when you bring your own cup to reward you for your effort.

Silicone Collapsible Pocket Cup, 355ml, S$24

PHOTO: Amazon. Silicone Collapsible Pocket Cup, 355ml
PHOTO: Amazon. Silicone Collapsible Pocket Cup, 355ml

Sustainable Kitchen hacks

Pack food with silicone bags. Say no to zipper bags.

Reduce the use of plastic. Look to silicone material which is safe for food keeping.

Reusable ziplock bags silicone containers, suitable for microwave and freezer, S$36.32

PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable ziplock bags silicone containers, suitable for microwave and freezer
PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable ziplock bags silicone containers, suitable for microwave and freezer

100% Silicone Reusable Food Bag, S$31.22 (was S$34.90)

Keep food for longer with beeswax wraps instead of cling wraps

Say bye to environmentally unfriendly cling wraps and save money while at it.

Sustainable beeswax wrap options

Love cooking and baking? Think long-term and invest in reusable baking essentials

Cuisine Reusable Baking Mat, 100% Non-Stick, Easy to Clean for Gas, Electric, Toaster and Convection Ovens, S$29.33

PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable Baking Mat, 100% Non-Stick, Easy to Clean for Gas, Electric, Toaster and Convection Ovens
PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable Baking Mat, 100% Non-Stick, Easy to Clean for Gas, Electric, Toaster and Convection Ovens

Set of 5 Non-Stick Teflon Baking Sheets BBQ Grill Mats, Reusable, S$12.99

3 Pieces PTFE Teflon Sheet Washable Reusable Baking Sheet Craft Mat, S$10.18

Read more: Learn which sustainable brands are helping to save the Earth

BYOS ­– Bring your own straw when having your favourite bubble tea

Did you know Singaporeans use a whopping 2.2 million straws a day? Refuse plastic straws and get a set of reusable straws in various sizes to suit your lifestyle. Better yet, get a complete table set while at it.

Stainless Steel silverware Tableware Travel Set, Knife/Fork/Spoon/Straw, S$16.08

PHOTO: Amazon. Stainless Steel silverware Tableware Travel Set, Knife/Fork/Spoon/Straw
PHOTO: Amazon. Stainless Steel silverware Tableware Travel Set, Knife/Fork/Spoon/Straw

BYOB 1 – Bring your own (tote) bag

The local government is in discussion to make consumers pay for single-use plastic bags to reduce the environmental impact. According to a 2018 Yahoo news article, the annual supermarket plastic bag usage in Singapore can fill the size of 126 Gardens by the Bay! Scary. Quit being so reliant on the use of plastic and start the good habit of toting reusable bags now!

BYOB 2 – Bring your own water bottle

Are you still purchasing bottled drinks? Look at the savings if you were to make some effort to bring your own water! Want something zestier? Add a wedge of lemon, cucumber or your preferred fruit to your plain water and hydrate throughout the day. Plus point: Get those with markers, so you know how much you are consuming in a day or get a thermal flask that allows you to drink hot and cold beverages for hours, depending on your preferences.

1L Motivational Water Bottle, Hydration Tracking, Light-Weight, BPA Free, S$19.99

PHOTO: Amazon. 1L Motivational Water Bottle, Hydration Tracking, Light-Weight, BPA Free
PHOTO: Amazon. 1L Motivational Water Bottle, Hydration Tracking, Light-Weight, BPA Free

Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with straw, 18oz, S$32.17

Stainless Steel Water Bottle 17oz Vacuum Insulated, with Cleaning Brush, S$22.99

BPA-free Nalgene water bottles

Do you dabao? BYOC – Bring your own container and bring smiles to the stall owner

LOCK & LOCK Essentials Food Storage lids/Airtight containers, BPA Free, 14pcs, S$28.94

PHOTO: Amazon. LOCK & LOCK Essentials Food Storage lids/Airtight containers, BPA Free
PHOTO: Amazon. LOCK & LOCK Essentials Food Storage lids/Airtight containers, BPA Free

3-Piece Airtight Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers with Lids, S$62.41

PHOTO: Amazon. 3-Piece Airtight Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers with Lids
PHOTO: Amazon. 3-Piece Airtight Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers with Lids

Bento Lunch Box, Stainless Steel Lunch Containers Leakproof, 800ml, BPA Free, S$38.91

Remove makeup the eco-friendly way. Try using reusable face wipes and cotton buds

Face Halo Reusable Makeup Remover Pads for heavy makeup, 3 pack, S$29.50

PHOTO: Amazon. Face Halo Reusable Makeup Remover Pads for heavy makeup, 3 pack
PHOTO: Amazon. Face Halo Reusable Makeup Remover Pads for heavy makeup, 3 pack

(20 Pack) Organic Bamboo Reusable Makeup Remover Pads for All Skin Types, S$12.03

Bamboo cotton buds options

Premium 500 Biodegradable Bamboo Cotton Swabs, Organic, S$18.73

Stop single-use tea bags, switch to stainless steel tea strainers

Though primarily made from paper, tea bags are heat-sealed with oil-based plastic, making them uncompostable. Even worse, some brands are made entirely of plastic, releasing billions of microplastic and nano plastic particles that may be harmful to the body, according to an article by The Washington Post. Make the right choice for your health and the environment.

Tea Tumbler with Infuser, BPA Free Double Wall Glass, Stainless Steel Filter, S$46.87

PHOTO: Amazon. Tea Tumbler with Infuser, BPA Free Double Wall Glass, Stainless Steel Filter
PHOTO: Amazon. Tea Tumbler with Infuser, BPA Free Double Wall Glass, Stainless Steel Filter

Good Grips Twisting Tea Ball, Silver, S$20.80 (was S$21.99)

Glass Teapot Kettle 950ml, Stovetop Safe & Microwave Safe Tea Pot Maker Set, S$34.85

Personal hygiene

Opt for period underpants and reusable menstrual pads

According to a BBC news report, a woman is estimated to use around 10,000 pads or tampons in a menstrual lifetime. Worse, pads and tampons can contain as much as 90% plastic. What's more, a disposable sanitary pad requires more than 500 years to decompose, according to Eco Femme. And this is not even including the additional plastic wrapper that comes packaged with each feminine product. Switch to more earth-friendly and healthier options like these reusable feminine hygiene products below.

Reusable Menstrual Starter Kit, Reusable, 3 Bamboo Pads & 1 Menstrual Panties, S$33.51

PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable Menstrual Starter Kit, Reusable, 3 Bamboo Pads & 1 Menstrual Panties
PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable Menstrual Starter Kit, Reusable, 3 Bamboo Pads & 1 Menstrual Panties

10Pcs Sanitary Pad, Washable Cloth Menstrual Pads/Panty Liners with Bag, S$61.72

Take a step further and explore the use of the menstrual cup

Converts swear by it. Touted to be more hygienic, convenient and environmentally friendly, your woke friends may have already egged you to give the menstrual cup a try.

Reusable Menstrual Cups with Collapsible Silicone Sterilizing Cup, Set of 3, S$13.40

PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable Menstrual Cups with Collapsible Silicone Sterilizing Cup, Set of 3
PHOTO: Amazon. Reusable Menstrual Cups with Collapsible Silicone Sterilizing Cup, Set of 3

Menstrual cup options

Clean teeth the eco way with bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste

Do away with unnecessary packaging, and choose biodegradable materials whenever you can.

Antiplastic Complete Kit a Zero Waste, S$40.22

PHOTO: Amazon. Antiplastic Complete Kit a Zero Waste
PHOTO: Amazon. Antiplastic Complete Kit a Zero Waste

Floss

Most floss in the market are made of synthetic nylon or Teflon and packaged in plastic containers. Imagine how this tiny item in your daily hygiene routine contributes to the landfill and trash. As mentioned, no action is too small. These tweaks in your lifestyle can do wonders for the environment if done collectively.

Bamboo Floss Dispenser, Biodegradable Silk Floss, 30m, Refillable, Plastic-Free, S$12.90

PHOTO: Amazon. Bamboo Floss Dispenser, Biodegradable Silk Floss, 30m, Refillable, Plastic-Free
PHOTO: Amazon. Bamboo Floss Dispenser, Biodegradable Silk Floss, 30m, Refillable, Plastic-Free

Eco-friendly toothpaste

Many are peeved about how ugly a well-used toothpaste tube looks and the struggle to squeeze the last bit out at the end of its life. Well, eco-warriors listen up, just by using conventional toothpaste tubes, our carbon footprint is increased by 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2 annually. And according to the climate activist group 1 Million Women, around 1 billion toothpaste tubes are sent to landfills each year. Try toothpaste in tablet form instead. 

Enrich yourself

With the coronavirus still lurking around the corner, why not stay in and enrich your minds? Get the new waterproof kindle and cosy up with an ebook or subscribe to the Disney+ channel and watch the Secrets of the Whales, executive produced by James Cameron and narrated by Sigourney Weaver. TheNational Geographic’s original four-part series premieres today on Earth Day.

Feel inspired? Wish to do more? You can!

1. Move more. Bike, walk and take public transport whenever you can. 

2. Be civic-minded. Pick up trash wherever you are, especially at the beach.

3. Save the hot tubs for special occasions and take shorter showers. Use 100% natural sponges.

4. Wash your clothes less and do so only at full load. 

5. Bulk buying helps reduce the use of packaging and also brings you economies of scale.

6. Donate, sell or swap things that are still in good condition but do not spark joy anymore. What you don't need maybe someone else's treasure!

Last but not least, do what you can do. Why not try out one sustainable hack a week and see how it goes? If you feel inspired, send this article to a friend or two who may be keen to try out a more sustainable lifestyle. Take up the challenge today!

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