Ever wondered why Singapore today seems a lot hotter than it was when you were little? Well, it’s not your imagination. Not only is Singapore indeed getting hotter, temperatures are also rising at twice the global average.
Climate change is one of the “gravest challenges facing mankind”, as described by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during National Day Rally 2019, and concrete measures have been put in place to prevent Singapore from being flooded by rising sea levels.
That’s a scary thought!
Perhaps, other than building dams, what Singapore can do is to slow down rapid urbanisation and control the usage of air-conditioning.
But there are immediate things that we can do at an individual level.
Here are 10 actions that not only help you save the environment; they also save you money at the same time!
1. Eat on the spot instead of da baoing
Each time you da bao a meal so you can eat in your home just two minutes away from the hawker centre, you generate waste in the form of plastic bags, plastic cutlery and styrofoam boxes. Eating on the spot is also cheaper as you don’t have to pay extra for the packaging.
2. Eat less meat
Cooking at home is a great way to save money, but if you want to save even more, simply cut down on the amount of meat you eat. Going from eating meat daily to just once a week not only saves you a significant amount of money, it’s also better for your health and the environment, since meat consumption contributes to global warming.
If you can’t even do that, then simply cut down on the amount of beef you eat. The environmental impact of rearing cattle for beef is much more damaging than any other kind of livestock. Considering how beef is so expensive, treating the consumption of it as an occasional indulgence will also help you save money.
3. Use energy saving bulbs
Unless you plan to rely on candlelight or the glow of your smartphone at night, lightbulbs are an obvious necessity. But you can still consume less electricity by choosing energy-efficient lighting options like LED lights.
4. Grow herbs at home
Buying dried or fresh herbs is much more expensive in the long run than simply growing a pot of them at home. For those who would barely be able to keep a cockroach alive, rest assured–you don’t have to grow your herbs from scratch. It’s much easier to simply buy seedlings or grown plants. Even if you eventually kill your plant, you should get to use a good amount of it in your cooking before that happens.
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5. Sleep with the fan on, not the aircon
Yes, we all know how unbearably hot Singapore is. But sleeping with the fan rather than the air con on is not only a lot cheaper, it could also be better for your health, since air conditioning has been linked to sinus problems and nasal congestion.
6. Make your own cleaning products
Industrial cleaning products harm the environment by creating toxic waste and polluting the air you and your family breathe. You can replace some of the cleaning products in your home simply by using bicarbonate soda, lemon and white vinegar.
7. Use water saving devices
Use a water-saving shower head or fit on the device that comes with PUB’s free water saving kit so you use less water each time you take a shower. You can also make your toilet consume less water with each flush simply by placing a filled plastic bottle in your water tank.
8. Finish all your leftovers
Singaporean households waste an average of $170 worth of food and beverages a year. Avoid throwing food away by making meal plans and putting in the effort to use everything in your fridge before it expires. Have a few go-to recipes you can use at the end of a grocery cycle, such as a stir fry where you throw anything and everything into the pan. If you have leftovers at dinner, pack them for lunch the next day.
9. Get rid of unwanted belongings by selling them on Carousell or donating them
Singapore is a throw-away nation, where people constantly buy new things and then throw them away without a second thought. Instead of chucking unwanted belongings down the rubbish chute, find them a new home and make a bit of spare cash at the same time by selling them on an online platform like Carousell. Alternatively, you could donate them to charities like The Salvation Army or give them away for free on Singapore’s Freecycle Network.
10. Buy less!
Rampant consumerism creates waste and clutter. Simply consuming less means you’ll have less stuff to offload on Carousell and less crap to organise in your closet, and also more money in your wallet. It’s a win-win solution for you and the Earth.
If you really need to buy something, try poking around in Carousell first as you may be able to find things that are way cheaper but yet in a good condition. Clothes, furniture, books are items you don’t always need to buy first-hand. You will be promoting the circular economy while saving money at the same time.
Do you partake in any environmentally-friendly practices? Share them with us in the comments!