According to National Climate Change Secretary under the Prime Minister’s Office, the 2019 Biannual Climate Change Public Perception Survey shows that 8 out of 10 Singaporeans are willing to bear the cost & inconveniences to reduce carbon emissions. Yet only 48.3% of Singaporeans know what to do to be environmentally friendly.
While Electric Vehicles (EVs) are part of Singapore’s Green Plan 2030, for those of us who are not planning to buy an EV, there are other practical approaches to adopt for us to play a part in saving the environment. Here are 7 other wallet-friendly and financially savvy ways to go green.
#1 Adopt Electrical Providers That Are Carbon Neutral or Uses Renewable Energy Sources
Using solar panels to power Singapore’s electricity usage would seem to be a viable option for our sunny little island. However, with almost 95% of us living in high-rise buildings, installing our own solar panels may not be a feasible idea.
Fortunately, with the Open Electricity Market, consumers can select electricity retailers who provide power through greener means. Among the 12 retailers, 6 provide electricity through a combination of carbon-neutral generators or renewable sources such as solar. These companies are iSwitch, PacificLight, Sunseap, Geneco, OHM Energy and Sembcorp Power.
According to 2019 Annual Average Monthly Electricity Consumption, the average 4-room HDB household consumes about 359 kWh each month. Based on the average electricity consumption, the largest cost savings a household can enjoy would be almost $20 per month, including GST. Extrapolate the savings to over the year and we would see close to $240 being saved while doing justice for the environment.
|Retailer||Plan Name||Rate (per kWh)||Est. Bill
|iSwitch||“iSwitch2Green” (6mth)||25.10% off regulated tariff||$59.72||$20.01|
|PacificLight||“Sunny Side-Up” (12mth)||17.45 cents
|Geneco||“Get It Green”
|OHM Energy||“Ohm Discount” (12mth)||19.50% off regulated tariff||$64.19||$15.55|
|Sunseap||“SUNSEAP-ONE” (12mth)||16.88 cents
|Sembcorp Power||“Sunshine Plan” (12mth)||19.50 cents
|SP Group||Tariff Rate||22.21 cents
#2 Switching To Energy Efficient Appliances
Due to COVID-19, most households have seen a rise in their electricity bills due to the increased number of hours spent working or studying from home. With the work from home structure still in place for most, it would be a good time to review the household appliances that may be unnecessarily causing bills to grow.
Based on Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO), changing from a 2-tick aircon to a 5-tick aircon would help a household to save about $220 a year while changing from a 1-tick refrigerator to a 3-tick refrigerator would help save about $56 a year (adjusted calculations to factor in current electricity tariff of 22.21cents/kWh, inclusive of GST). Just switching two household appliances can bring you a saving of up to $276 a year.
#3 Use Sharing Platforms To Get (And Give) Stuff For Free
Instead of waiting for the annual Lunar Chinese New Year spring cleaning period to let go of your old items, there are sharing platforms available for people to share any item at any time. This initiative not only reduces waste but also helps users to save costs when they pick up stuff that they would otherwise have to purchase.
OLIO is a platform that enables sharing within the community for food and non-food items.
Another similar platform would be freegood which is mainly available as an app for both Android and iOS.
The estimated cost savings from these platforms can be substantial if you are able to score a piece of well-maintained furniture such as a table or chair. Assuming we can find such a deal within the year, the potential savings could be anywhere near $100 or more.
#4 Buying Pre-Loved Items Such As Clothes And Furniture
As the saying goes, the best things in life do not come free (or easy). While there may be platforms to obtain free items easily, such items are not available readily all the time. Before deciding to splurge on the latest item on the shelf, do consider trying second-hand shopping to see if there is a lower cost alternative out there. Flea Markets used to be a highly popular event for pre-loved items during pre-COVID-19 times. Now even with the restriction on events, Singaporeans can continue the pre-loved consumer trend by visiting the following areas:
|Location/Platform||Pre-loved Items To Find|
|Salvation Army||Clothes, accessories, and furniture|
|Refash||Designer clothes and accessories|
|Society of Saint Vincent De Paul Shops||Clothes and accessories|
|Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore Shops||Clothes and accessories|
|Something Old Something New||Clothes, accessories other second-hand items|
According to Singapore’s 2017/2018 Biannual Household Expenditure Survey, a household spends an average of $123 a month and $1,476 a year on clothes and shoes. Assuming that most pre-loved items are about 30% cheaper, a household can expect to save $221 a year if they switch half of their consumption to pre-loved fashion. A household can potentially save more if they purchase other items such as furniture from these second-hand stores.
#5 Purchase Digital Instead Of Print (Or Wait For National Library Board (NLB))
In the battle of print and digital, the way to go green is to pick the digital side. The print and publication industry has recognised the competition from the digital side, and we can now see most publications offering digital versions of their content. As a conscious green consumer, choosing only the digital package or book would not only help save trees but also saves money too.
Taking the example of The Business Times subscription, the current “All-digital + Print edition” cost $32.90 (without delivery charges) while the “Personal edition” which is digital-only costs $9.90 per month. By choosing the digital edition, we can save up to $23 a month which amounts to $276 a year.
What is even better for your pocket is free access to news. Singaporeans can log into their NLB account for free access to Business Times and other newspapers. In addition to the free daily digital print-format newspapers, readers can access previous papers up till the past week.
#6 Use Your Own Tumbler and Lunchbox For Takeaways To Reduce Disposables
In 2019, a total of 200,000 tonnes of disposables generated from Singapore’s consumer consumption, which includes food takeaway containers, utensils and plastic bags. With the rise in takeaways not abating any time soon as we continue to work from home, switching to using our own containers and tumblers would not only be better for the environment but our wallets.
Assuming a standard charge of 20 cents for takeaway, and 5 meals a week would be a takeaway, by using containers for a year we would have saved about $53.
#7 Use Food Composting For Fertilisers Instead Of Purchasing
Lastly, with the rise in demand for home gardening as we make our homes more green and alive with plants, we may be spending more to maintain our garden with fertilisers. However, these fertilisers can be replaced with home-made natural food compost which will cost nothing and help us play a part in reducing waste. NParks has a guide on how to make compost from common food waste. Making our own homemade compost also has the additional benefit of giving us the bragging rights to call any fruits and vegetables we grow, organic produce.
Assuming that we are budding HDB flat plant owners, the estimated cost savings a year by being a good plant parent while saving the earth would be about the cost of a bottle of fertiliser from NTUC at $9.90.
Taking stock of the 7 approaches mentioned above, a household can save about $1,176 if we choose to simply adopt the measures for about a year.
|#1 Adopt Electrical Providers That Are Carbon Neutral or Uses Renewable Energy Sources||~$240|
|#2 Switching To Energy Efficient Appliances||~$276|
|#3 Use Sharing Platforms To Get (And Give) Stuff For Free||~$100|
|#4 Buying Pre-Loved Items Such As Clothes And Furniture||~$221|
|#5 Purchase Digital Instead Of Print (Or Wait For NLB)||~$276|
|#6 Use Your Own Tumbler and Lunchbox For Takeaways To Reduce Disposables||~$53|
|#7 Use Food Composting As Fertilisers Instead Of Purchasing Chemical Ones||~$10|