Want a more sustainable life? Start decluttering physically and digitally

Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. But did you know that your everyday activities contribute to carbon emissions?

Global waste generation is expected to reach 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025, while only 15-20% of the waste generated globally is currently being recycled. Mismanaging waste can harm the environment and contribute to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases, including carbon emissions.

A significant part of this has to do with your everyday activities. Things such as your electricity consumption and household waste habits, to driving a car — and yes, your online habits could all be contributing to a larger carbon footprint.

While we tend to think of carbon emissions in relation to physical activities and waste, just lounging around with your electronic device can have environmental implications. To put things into perspective, our digital usage makes up 3.7% of carbon emissions — similar to what the airline industry produces. That equates to over 1 billion tonnes of carbon emitted each year.

We all have a part to play in our world in achieving our net-zero goals and combatting climate change — and one of the simplest ways we can make a difference is through decluttering.

How can decluttering help with sustainability?

Marie Kondo made the concept of decluttering popular with her philosophy of keeping things that “spark joy.” If you feel like you’re living with quite a lot of clutter in your home, following the Japanese guru’s lead can help lead to a more pleasant space to live in, and it’s good for the environment too!

We often associate sustainability with transitioning to natural, greener or organic choices. But if you’re finding ways to get started with a sustainable life and foster a circular economy, decluttering is one of the simplest and easiest ways to do so — and you can start today.

In a nutshell, decluttering means removing excessive items that are no longer of use. It’s about deciding which items you need in your space; the rest are just “clutter” that you do not need. Meanwhile, upcycling means giving a second life to things that you no longer need. Rather than have them end up in landfills, repurpose items around the house to give them a new lease of life — like empty plastic tubs into plant pots, or old textiles into decorative tablecloths or curtains.

Wondering how you can help save the world in your own way? Here are some simple decluttering tips that can go a long way.

Some simple ideas to declutter in your daily life.
Some simple ideas to declutter in your daily life. (Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)
  • Come up with a donation bag. Those clothes you’ve never worn in years but you hold on to “just in case?” You’ll likely never find the chance to wear them again. Instead, let someone who needs it more have them.

  • Start with one item each day. This takes the pressure off decluttering — and you’ll have 365 items decluttered from your home at the end of the year.

  • Upcycle your everyday objects. Do you have glass jars lying around? You can repurpose them as containers for office items or trinkets. Or you can add fairy lights and turn them into lighting accents!

But decluttering doesn’t just have to happen physically. With digital habits contributing to more carbon footprint than you may have realised, there are benefits to digital decluttering, too!

How to digitally declutter and reduce your carbon footprint

  • Close those browser tabs. By limiting the number of tabs you keep open, you help improve the performance of your computer or mobile device, as too many open tabs can slow down your device.

  • Get rid of old apps you haven’t touched in a year. Deleting old apps frees up storage and lowers data usage.

  • Choose your favourite photos and keep them. Your “photo dump” is eating up data usage.