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30 simple acts of green
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Feeling the weather getting hotter each year? Well, 2022 is set to be one of the hottest years in history, with experts forecasting average global temperature to be 1.09°C above pre-industrial levels. And if you think we're already seeing a lot more floods, forest fires, droughts than before, well, you can expect more.
"We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it." — Barack Obama
Mother Earth is calling for help. Now, what are you doing to combat climate change?
Since 1970, people all over the world come together to celebrate Earth Day on 22 April. This month, BYKURAHOME will be sharing 30 simple acts of green.
You may already be practising some - great. If not, some are really easy and will only take you a second, like turning off the lights as you walk out of the room. We invite you to try these tips out and make a positive, lasting impact.
1. Line dry your laundry
Conserve energy and save on your utility bills when you line dry your clothes! And there's nothing quite like the smell of freshly-washed, sun-dried laundry. Plus, the UV light from the sun actually helps to kill bacteria on your clothes!
2. Use reusable bags.
While a plastic grocery bag has an average 'working life' of just 12 minutes, it takes up to 1,000 years for it to break down. And here's the thing: approximately 5 trillion plastic bags are used globally each year! You can save up to 307 bags just by switching to a reusable bag
3. Use cloth napkins instead of single-use tissue paper.
Tissue paper cannot be recycled because they are usually soiled after use. Because we go through so many disposable tissues throughout the day, it would definitely be better on both the planet and your wallet if we switch to cloth napkins!
4. Use reusable silicone bags instead of single-use plastic bags.
Yes, we know how useful single-use plastic bags can be, but the downsides outweigh the pros! Because these plastic bags are usually thin and often stained with food, they are not ideal for recycling. Most end up in landfills, taking thousands of years to break down.
Mojo Silicone Bags make a great sustainable alternative for your food storage needs. Made of 100% food-grade platinum silicone, this highly versatile reusable food bag can be used for storage, freezing and even cooking (sous vide).
5. Take public transport. Or just walk.
If your destination is not too far, why not consider taking a walk instead? Not only does it help reduce your carbon footprint, it also reduces air and noise pollution. Walking has also been proven to boost our mood and improve our health!
6. Use environmentally-friendly household cleaners.
Do you know that 96% of your typical household cleaners are made up of water, and a large part of what you pay goes to the transportation of the plastic bottle and liquid?
We recently discovered SimplyGood, an eco-friendly home care brand that offers safe and natural cleaning tablets that are 300x lighter and 200x smaller. Imagine all the carbon footprint you’ll be saving!
7. Turn off lights when not in use.
Saving the Earth cannot get simpler than this. This one small change can amount to big savings (both money and energy) over time.
8. Grow your own mini edible garden.
Do you know growing microgreens are more sustainable than vegetables grown to maturity as the latter often use pesticides and chemicals, and are transported for hundreds of miles to market?
If you’re worried about time or space constraints, or your lack of green fingers, fret not. Super Farmers' microgreens can be easily grown in tiny spaces with little light, and are ready for harvesting in just 10 days. No pesticides or chemicals are needed as they use good-grade compost mix and viable seeds from local farms. Their microgreens are also super nutritious, containing up to 42 times more nutrients than their fully-grown versions!
9. Wash laundry on full load.
Instead of washing small loads of clothes, wash laundry on full load to save water. Also, use cold water as often as possible to conserve energy.
10. Buy clothes from sustainable fashion brands, or buy second-hand.
Is your wardrobe brimming with clothes, yet you feel like you have nothing to wear?
Solution: Create a wardrobe filled with lasting essentials where you can mix and match around easily. Opt for conscious clothing brands like Esse, which merges timeless designs with a traceable supply chain that champions environmental and social responsibility.
11. Opt for paperless bills and statements.
The process of sending paper statements require printing, fulfillment, and postage for every single recipient, only to be read for a matter of seconds before being discarded. You can transition to paperless statements and help reduce the usage of paper.
12. Ditch the bottle. Switch to soap and shampoo bars.
Do you know that the carbon footprint of bottled liquid soaps is 25 percent higher than bar soaps per wash? We also tend to use more liquid soap each time when we shower as compared to a soap bar.
We love that OASIS: Beauty Kitchen cooks up quality soap and shampoo bars fresh every week, using real ingredients that offer a multitude of benefits. Plus, their bars come with zero fillers and chemicals!
13. Reduce shower time.
According to Harvard University, we use 20 gallons of water for an average 8-min shower? Try cutting your shower time to just 5 min and you'll be saving almost half the water. Not only that, you'll also be saving the electricity used to heat up those water!
14. Use a menstrual cup.
An average person goes through more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products in a lifetime. That’s a lot of waste in the landfill, and a lot of money!
The Period Co., a local eco-friendly business, aims to help women have happier, healthier and greener periods by offering a range of reusable menstrual products that are better for the planet, they’re also great for your body and wallet! We love the Saalt Menstrual Cup that they are carrying! Do you know menstrual cups can hold more blood than other methods, and you can save up to 95% as compared to pads in a decade?
15. Choose energy efficient appliances.
Technological advancements and government regulations have resulted in smarter and more energy-efficient home appliances.
In Singapore, Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme (MELS) was introduced in 2008 to help consumers understand and compare appliances' energy consumption. The more efficient an appliance, the more ticks there are on its label.
16. Buy local produce.
Imported produce results in higher carbon footprint. Colossal amounts of energy are required to fuel ships and planes, which also leave behind them a trail of greenhouse gases as they traverse the globe.
The solution? Go local. Examples of food farmed locally include fish, eggs, and vegetables. When shopping for local produce, be sure to keep a lookout for products with the SG Fresh Produce Logo conferred by the Singapore Food Authority.
Kühlbarra's barramundi is farmed locally in the southern waters of Singapore. With their farm just 45 minutes away from shore, their fish are all processed, packed and delivered fresh to our doorsteps within hours. Hooray to fresher seafood with a lower carbon footprint!
17. Use a reusable water bottle.
Fact: 1.2 million plastic bottles are used every minute, and about 91% of them are not being recycled. This is killing our oceans, and piling up on our land. If that's not enough to get you to use a reusable water bottle, get this.
A recent study shows that more than 90% of the bottled water brands in the research conducted contained traces of microplastics.
18. Choose responsibly-sourced toilet paper.
Going to the toilet? Opt for bamboo toilet paper instead! As the world’s fastest growing plant, bamboo is highly renewable and sustainable. Bamboo toilet tissue is also 100% biodegradable, and it decomposes much faster than any other types of toilet tissue.
We recommend Cloversoft's Unbleached Bamboo Toilet Tissues, which is unbleached, non-toxic and anti-bacterial - safe for even infants and those with sensitive skin!
19. Start a home compost bin.
Don't let your (food and garden) waste go to waste! By composting, not only do you reduce your carbon footprint, you are literally turning trash into rich, nutrient-rich soil for your plants. Here's a good guide to start composting at home.
20. Bring your own food containers when buying takeaways.
Do you know that only 9% of all the plastic produced get recycled? Today, we produce about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste a year - almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population! If this continues, there'd be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. There are so many things we can do to mitigate plastic pollution - starting from something as simple as bringing your own food containers.
Lejos Silicone Collapsible Lunch Box makes packing and carrying lunches and snacks on-the-go light, easy and convenient. Unlike traditional food containers which take up plenty of space in your cabinets, this reusable lunch box collapses to just 3cm for compact storage. Simply slip one inside your bag and you're good to go!
21. Harvest and reuse rainwater.
Rainwater is essentially... free. Why not collect the rainwater that falls on your property and use them for gardening, toilet flushing, or even car washing? A little goes a long way, and you'll be saving a lot on the bills!
22. Reduce food waste. Buy excess or ugly produce.
Beauty is more than skin deep, especially when it comes to food. Do you know that a whopping 20% of perfectly edible fresh produce is being discarded just because they are in excess or simply, ugly?
Thankfully, UglyFood has been helping to eliminate food waste since it was founded in 2017, by selling excess or ugly produce, and sustainably sourced goods. You can help too, by not judging food by its appearance!
23. Opt for plant-based food.
According to the UN Climate Change Report, an astonishing 23% of the greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture. This is estimated to be more than all of the world's transportation systems added together.
If going vegan is too much for you, try going meatless at least once a week. Not only is it better for the planet, a plant-based diet is also better for your health.
24. Use reusable silicone baking mat instead of parchment paper.
If would think baking paper is just... paper, therefore it is recyclable right? The answer is no. They are usually treated with acid during production and coasted with a layer of silicone to make it heat-resistant. Add stains from your baking and roasting to the equation, this makes baking paper unsuitable for recycling, composting and reusing.
Make the switch to silicone baking mat instead. Not only are they reusable, its nonstick surface makes it easy to wash too. The Paco Silicone Baking Mat can also double up as kneading mat and placemat!
25. Choose products with minimal packaging.
When shopping for products, make a conscious effort to choose those with less or no packaging, or recycled and sustainable packaging. By doing so, you're encouraging more companies to go green!
26. Recycle household waste.
Singapore's recycling rate has hit a 10-year low at 13% in 2020 despite generating more household waste. More can be done in a few simple steps.
The first step to reducing household waste would be to minimize what you have to dispose in the first place. Switch out disposables for reusables. Upcycle and repurpose whatever you can. Have a recycling bin next to your trash bin to keep it visible and accessible. Make sure the items are clean and not contaminated with food or liquids. Not sure what can be recycled? Check out this website here.
27. Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
Do you know that by unplugging unused appliances,, you can save 5% to 10% of your electricity bill? Even when you switch off appliances, they are still on standby and drawing electricity. Key culprits include computers, televisions etc. While there are some appliances like refrigerators that cannot be turned off, remember to opt for energy-efficient versions!
28. Join a community cleanup.
The next time you are looking for an activity to do with your partner, family or friends, how about considering a community cleanup? This is a good chance for you to get outdoors, spend quality time with your loved ones, and care for your environment! Here are the different cleanups you can sign up for in Singapore.
29. Buy only what you need. Shop at bulk stores instead.
There are so many benefits when it comes to shopping at bulk stores. Not only are you saving money by paying only for what you need, you're also reducing food waste and packaging waste. Remember to make a checklist of what you are getting before making your trip, and bring along the bags and containers you need!
30. Share your story, encourage each other.
Lastly, inspire others by your actions!
Feeling inspired? Pick one act of green to do a day, and when you're ready, try another. And don't just stop there. Sustainability is a journey, not a goal. But we promise you, by the end of the month, you'll feel good about yourself, and you'll be making a difference.