Remember Captain Green, the Clean and Green frog, who’s since joined Singa the Courtesy Lion in the graveyard of forgotten mascots? If you said yes to that trick question, you’re old. Because these days, other than a small minority, not many people give two hoots about the frog’s message of environment-friendliness.
But being environmentally-friendly doesn’t have to mean spending tons of money on chic, “sustainable” products. In fact, eco-consciousness can also help you spend a lot less, if you pick your battles wisely. Here are five ways you can do so.
Eat less meat
Eating less meat isn’t just better for your body, it’s better for the environment, too. The meat industry is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and human beings are now eating more meat than before. Singapore’s already unbearable temperatures are rising at twice the global average, and it’s safe to say no one wants to get cooked any more than they already are.
While not everyone can commit to being vegetarian 100% of the time, it’s very easy to simply eat less than meat than you already do.
If you cook at home most of the time, limit your meat consumption to once or twice a week, and you’ll see your grocery bill fall significantly. Even if you eat at hawker centres 7 days a week, it takes little effort to simply pick three veggie dishes instead of your two veg, one meat combo—and it costs less, too.
Buy second hand whenever you can
Thanks to Carousell, you can find virtually any product you could ever hope to buy second hand and at a lower price. People I know have bought digital cameras and tablets for $50. Even if you refuse to use a product that somebody else has gotten their grubby hands on, you can still buy new or almost-new items at a discount.
While nobody’s asking you to buy second-hand socks or underwear, simply reducing the number of items you buy brand new whenever you can stand to reduces the amount of waste generated.
Take public transport and use bicycles and personal mobility devices
Taking the bus and MRT is, as we all know, infinitely cheaper than buying a car or taking taxis and Uber.
Well, if you need another reason to justify your exposure to the crowds and vagaries of the transport system, it’s better for the environment, too. That bus or train will continue to move whether or you not you get on it.
For those who don’t wilt after two seconds under the sun, bicycles and personal mobility devices running on electricity (electric bicycle, hoverboard) or the power of your legs (kick scooter, skateboard) are a less frustrating way to travel than waiting for the bus.
Instead of consuming, consuming and consuming nonstop, try to make and fix things yourself for a change. Everyone has different skills and interests, so you don’t have to force yourself to build all the furniture in your home from scratch if that’s not your thing.
But everyone should at least have basic skills that enable them to cook simple meals and sew a button back on a shirt.
There are many everyday products you can DIY, such as a soaps, cleaning products, pasta sauce and so on. Some people are crafty enough to make their own cloth tote bags, purses or even garments. If you’ve got a green thumb, try growing simple vegetables or herbs on your balcony.
Use your belongings to the end of their lifespan whenever possible
Let’s admit it—Singapore is a throwaway society. People buy and discard stuff at an alarming rate. Just telling yourself you’ll donate your old clothes to the Salvation Army doesn’t cut it. In addition to wasting our own money on never-ending consumption, we create a scary amount of waste each year.
Instead of buying a new iPhone every year or replacing your wallet whenever the designer boutiques produce their next season of leather goods, commit to using all your purchases until they’ve outlived their purposes. If you really liked something enough to spend money on it, you should like it enough to stick with it for more than a few years.