From ground-up community initiatives like the Bring Your Own (BYO) Campaign to a government-mandated carbon tax to reduce greenhouse emissions, there has been a lot of efforts in going green. More and more Singaporeans are championing the green movement, trying to live environmentally-friendly lifestyles.
Contrary to popular belief, taking the effort to make your life greener does not require a gargantuan effort on your part; a little at a time will make a big difference.
Here are 4 simple, everyday choices that will help you live more eco-consciously, and save some money while you’re at it.
#1 Investing in More Energy/Power/Resource-Efficient Home Appliances
Choosing high-quality, sustainable products for your households can gear you in the direction of greener living.
Swap your old, burned-out light bulbs for more energy-efficient bulbs. While LED bulbs cost more, they last up to 3 times longer than fluorescent bulbs. In the long run, you can also save on your electricity bill using energy-efficient LED bulbs over fluorescent ones.
“Phantom power” is the power draw even when your plugged-in appliances are not in use and it can really add to your electricity bill over time. This can add up to $100 a year, depending on how many gadgets you have. Gadgets like your TV, computers and routers are the biggest culprits. To remedy this, use a power strip to plug your gadgets to and turn them off when they are not in use.
Energy-efficient home appliances may come with a higher initial price tag, but can really help you save on your utility bills in the long run. Look out the energy ratings on when you are looking to purchase your home appliances. Ratings with four or five ticks, according to the National Environment Agency’s guidelines, are considered more energy-efficient.
Replacing your regular shower head with a low-flow shower head can reduce your water usage by up to 60 percent. Note the energy efficiency ratings for water-consuming appliances as well: Class A, A+ or A++ are the most resource-efficient.
#2 Line Drying Your Clothes
With busy lives, who has time for housework? Appliances like washing machines and dryers have made our lives so much easier, freeing up more time for other things.
Second to air-conditioners, clothes dryers cost the most money to run in the household. While a little more time consuming, line-drying your clothes will help you save on your utility bills. Clothes can dry relatively quickly in Singapore, given the warm weather and (mostly) year-round sunny days.
#3 Taking a Step Back from Hyper-Consumerism
With clothes, knickknacks and consumer goods available to us at temptingly affordable prices, we have come to take these things for granted. Our throwaway culture has real implications for the environment, accumulating an inordinate amount of waste.
For example, we discard clothes that no longer fit us or no longer suit our tastes, and look to purchase new clothing, though the old ones are still very much usable.
The truth is, there are a lot of things we don’t really need to keep buying. The next time you intend to make a purchase, take some time to evaluate if you really need to buy it. There are certain items or services that may make more financial sense for you if you buy it second-hand, rent, or even to subscribe on a needs basis.
Conversely, if you’re looking to buy or sell pre-loved items, Carousell is a great peer-to-peer online marketplace platform to transact. An old favourite, Cash Converters also allow you to buy and sell second-hand items. Selling your pre-loved items can not only reduce your consumer footprint and clutter at home, but also earns you some cash.
#4 Bring Your Own Containers and Bags
Disposable containers and plastic bags are central to our lifestyles of convenience and takeouts. Single-use disposables include straws, coffee stirrers, cups, plastic bottles and most food packaging. They are only used once before they are thrown away.
Only 10 percent of plastic items are recycled, and only a few countries have the technology and knowhow to do it. In addition, plastics contaminated with food cannot be recycled. This results in a majority of Singapore’s single-use disposables ending up in a landfill.
Investing in your own containers and reusable grocery bags can save you some money, as well as the environment in the long run. Save yourself the 20 cents takeaway fee by bringing your own container to your neighbourhood hawker centre, and carry a water bottle around to reduce the need of purchasing bottled mineral water.
The Bring Your Own (BYO) Campaign is a movement dedicated to reducing plastic disposable use. It encourages people to bring their own containers and reusable carriers by having vendors provide incentives in the form of discounts or free add-ons.
It boils down to the little things in our daily lives – recycling whenever possible, reducing water and energy use, even carpooling and biking as alternative modes of transport. In picking up eco-friendly habits in your lifestyle, you can find creative ways to help the environment and save money while you are at it.