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With just a little bit of effort, you can also do your part in taking care of the earth.

The key is to make small and sustainable changes in your daily life so these habits will become second nature.

These 7 simple steps can get you started on an eco-conscious lifestyle.

1. Refuse straws

1. Refuse straws
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There’s a growing number of businesses adopting a ‘no straws’ initiative.

One such example is KFC in Singapore that recently announced that it will no longer give out straws or plastic caps at its 84 outlets around the country.

Only takeaway drinks will receive a plastic cap.

Do your part by saying no to plastic straws the next time you buy a beverage.

2. Choose eco-friendly products

2. Choose eco-friendly products
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Going on holiday to a beach destination?

Avoid using sunscreen that contains harmful chemicals that contribute to coral bleaching.

The offending ingredients are oxybenzone and octinoxate, which appear in many sunscreen products.

Many everyday items also contain ingredients that are harmful to the planet, such as microbeads that are in some facial washes and toothpastes, which add to pollution.

You should also avoid soaps and body washes that contain triclosan, which has adverse health effects, or sodium laureth sulphate (SLE), which isn’t readily biodegradable.

For the key to keeping your skincare optimal during the hot months, try these 8 things dermatologists do every summer.

3. Bring your own containers

3. Bring your own containers
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If part of your daily routine includes buying coffee at the café on your way to work, why not bring your own reusable coffee cup?

The same goes if you’re ordering food at a food court or hawker centre; you can start bringing your own takeaway food containers.

This can also be healthier, especially if the stall still uses Styrofoam cups or packets.

These small habits can reduce your dependence on disposable plastics.

4. Bring your own shopping bags

4. Bring your own shopping bags
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In Singapore, FairPrice knocks 10 cents off your bill if you use your own bags.

The supermarket chain announced in 2017 that it saved 10.9 million bags in 2016 as a result of its initiative.

Some supermarkets in Malaysia, such as Village Grocer, practice plastic bag-free Saturdays where you have to pay if you want a plastic bag.

Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths both now refuse to stock single-use plastic bags and are looking into reducing the amount of plastic wrapping of some grocery items.

This encourages shoppers to bring their own bags to avoid the extra charge.

5. Reduce packaging

5. Reduce packaging
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The first zero-packaging store in Singapore opened in May 2018.

Called Unpackt, it offers everyday items such as cleaning products and food items like biscuits and grains, which customers can buy and pack using their own bottles and containers.

Business owner Florence Tay has said that the store is helping people make that first, crucial switch to sustainable consumption.

This is also a great way to support local businesses.

6. Recycle

6. Recycle
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Most HDB estates in Singapore provide recycling bins.

However, some people are still unaware of what they can and cannot recycle, such that there have been instances where food items have been thrown in the bin, soiling the other items.

According to the National Environment Agency in Singapore, only paper, glass, plastic and metal items should be placed in the bin.

Wash and dry your bottles and jars before recycling them.

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7. Donate or sell your old items

7. Donate or sell your old items
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Take your items that are still in good condition to Salvation Army thrift stores in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, or Charity Shoppe in Selangor, Malaysia.

Alternatively, you can sell them on Facebook Marketplace or Carousell and make a few dollars while keeping your items out of landfills.

And while you’re at it, think twice about picking up your next piece of fast fashion to cut down on clutter.

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