2019 is the Year Towards Zero Waste in Singapore. How has your #PlasticFreeJuly been going so far? Not done anything? It’s never too late to start, and yes you need to. If the news that we’re probably ingesting a credit card-sized worth of plastic each week hasn’t scared you into going plastic-free yet, how about this? Singapore’s waste disposal has increased seven-fold over the past 40 years and at this rate, our one and only landfill on Semakau will run out of space by 2035. What then? While there’s no need to change every single thing you use immediately, it is important to start taking steps towards going zero waste right now. Here are five easy ways to start.


(See also: 7 Easy Steps to a Zero-Waste, Eco-Friendly Household in Singapore)

1. Eating & Drinking

This is the quickest and easiest area to reduce waste. F&B establishments such as KFC, Burger King, Nando’s and PastaMania have gone straw-free in the past year. You can too.

What to use instead:

Paper, bamboo and stainless steel straws

Melissa Lam, owner of Bamboo Straw Girl, revealed that her first customers were mums, who thought the bamboo straws were a great alternative to disposable plastics and an avenue to kill two birds with one stone — provide a safe option for their children while educating them about saving the earth. Now, she has a good mix of customers, from university students to working adults and retirees. “In the past 1.5 years there’s been a big jump in the number of local customers especially. I think this is due to the growing awareness especially with the mainstream media putting focus on the green cause,” she says.

Where to buy them:

Reusable cups

Don’t create more waste with takeaway cups when you get your day’s caffeine fix. Instead, bring a reusable cup or flask to fill up when you’re out for a cuppa.

Where to buy them:

Source

Give ‘ugly’ food a chance

Don’t judge your fruits and vegetables by their cover. Yes, we’ve all been guilty of picking only the best-looking fruits and vegetables at the market/supermarket but give the less aesthetically-pleasing ones a chance too. As long as they’re edible, they can be consumed no matter what they look like. Get inspired at SG Food Rescue.

2. Period Supplies

An average woman has around 450 periods in her lifetime. Whether you prefer pads or tampons, that’s a lot of menstrual products used.

What to use instead:

Reusable pads and panty liners

These are made with natural materials and are washable. They come in various sizes to suit various types of flow. Get started with a starter kit which consists of a set of sizes so you can see which suits you best.

Menstrual cups

Made of medical-grade silicone, menstrual cups sit at the base of your cervix to collect your menstrual fluid. While some women may feel daunted by the thought of using one, it’s a great way to save both planet and your wallet. One menstrual cup can be used for up to 15 years!

Where to buy them:

  • #SupportLocal and do good with Freedom Cups. Their buy-one-give-one scheme gives a cup to a woman in an underprivileged community with every one purchased.
  • Reusable pads and panty liners can be bought from sites such as Cotton Mermaid and Hannah.
  • LiveLoveLuna sells various brands of menstrual cups.

3. Toiletries/Household Products

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“As zero-waste shopping gains momentum in Singapore, we can thank UnPackt for taking a leap and leading the revolution.” Thank you @greenisthenewblackcom. There is still so much more we can do for the world, and we are thankful for the supportive #zerowaste community who are spreading the cause together with us 🌍 Read up on our conversation with them here: https://tinyurl.com/UnPacktis1 #smallbutmighty #unpacktsg #zerowastesg #jointhepackt⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #socialenterprise #communityengagement #socialenterprisesg #ourbetterworld #sociallyconscious #partofthegood #asiaforgood #bemindful #singaporeinsiders #zerowaste #fairtrade #passionmadepossible #visitsingapore #supportlocasg #ecofriendlysg #zerowasteliving #zerowasteshopping

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Think about the number of plastic bottles in your household, in the bathroom, for cleaning, and in the refrigerator. Every single one is a potential contributor to environmental trash.

What to use instead:

Re-fills

  • Shop at stores that let you #byo containers. Shops like The Social Space and Unpackt have refillery services for products like cleaning agents and toiletries. Hence you can bring your own reusable containers to fill up on laundry detergent, hand soap, dishwashing liquid, floor cleaner, shampoo and conditioner.
  • One of the most popular items at The Social Space is the Vermont Castile Soap, says co-founder, Cheryl Ou. This multi-purpose plant-based cleaner can be used as a shampoo and body wash, as well as a toilet and floor cleaner.

Where to buy them:

  • Stock up on toiletries and cleaning products at The Social Space. The store has bar soaps, solid shampoos and facial bars – all made in Singapore, and sold without packaging.
  • You can also get toiletries and cleaning products from Eco.Le. Bring your own container or use one of their cleaned, second-hand containers. Delivery is available for purchases above $50.

4. Things for Kids

Disposable diapers, wet wipes, plastic water bottles, pre-packed snacks, toys, clothes… the list never ends. A baby uses approximately 2,500 diapers in their first year (!) these, while convenient, are neither cheap nor environmentally-friendly.

What to use instead:

Cloth diapers, washable wipes, reusable snack or sandwich bags. And hey, bring back the handkerchief!

Where to buy them:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzfwUg7ncan/
  • Keep Leaf‘s cute reusable food wraps and lunch bags are available at Lazada and Neis Haus.
  • Try beeswax wraps from MiniMakers. These eco-friendly alternatives to cling wrap are are handcrafted in Singapore using 100% premium cotton, jojoba oil, tree resin, and beeswax.
  • Local company Hanky Buddies is making hankies cool again, with adorable designs for both adults and children.

5. Shop Smart

Where you shop could make a big difference to the amount of waste that your household creates so make conscious decisions as to which stores get your business.

What to do instead:

Make your purchases at stores that encourage eco-friendly and socially-conscious habits.

Image: Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash

Where to buy:

  • Homegrown social enterprise Unpackt carries food products and daily necessities that you can pack in your own reusable containers and pay according to weight. Not only do you cut down on plastic bags, you also reduce food wastage as you only buy the amount you need.
  • Get grains, seeds, flours, wheat, locally-brewed kombucha, nut butters, and more by weight at The Source Cluny Court.
  • There are more than 35 homegrown eco-friendly brands at The Green Collective, which also organises regular workshops on composting, recycling, and even making your own soaps and lip balm.
  • Online, Neis Haus sells reusable and eco-friendly products like silicone food containers, cotton lunch bags, and beeswax food wraps.

Go Zero Waste Now

In a nutshell: ditch the plastic and make the switch to a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. Let’s do our part to help make this world a better one for our children.

#PlasticFreeJuly #zerowastesg

Header & Featured image: Alena Koval from Pexels

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