Many people are finally waking up to the reality that the world does not possess an endless supply of resources! Globally we are seeing a greener pivot among resource hungry sectors such as manufacturing and fashion, which two of the biggest consumers of natural resources and generators of waste in the world today.
That’s all well and good, but how can you, as an individual, make a difference? Here are 5 relatively simple ways to play your part in minimising the enormous drain on global resources whilst saving yourself money. You might feel a little out of your element at the start but don’t be perturbed, you have already overcome the hardest obstacle, deciding to make a change – Hooray!
Tip 1 : Use less paper and make concerted effort to recycle more
As our working roles and technology evolve with time, we find ourselves operating much more in the digital realm. If we don’t unplug ourselves from the endless digital stream once in a while it can be detrimental to our health, but managed properly we can use this technology to replace tasks that were previously time consuming and paper intensive, such as, sending communications, taking notes and managing calendar appointments.
Recycling paper that we use is another fast and simple road to becoming green. If you think walking down to that big blue bin in the basement is a waste of time remember this – In the US, each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 1400 litres of oil, 2.2 cubic meters of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy and over 26,000 litres of water. When you think about the little red dot that we call home, can we really afford not to recycle?
Tip 2 : Bring your own reusable bag
You’ve seen them everywhere, those canvas bags sporting many different colours, prints and encouraging messages. Not only will they permanently replace the need for plastic shopping bags, but you can use them for other things like bringing your lunch to work or storing items that you need to take out with you. If you’re not a fan of canvas, there are plenty of reusable plastic bags out there that you can fold up and keep in a handy place like your bag or your car so that they are always ready for use. Don’t forget every small change you make has a huge impact over time.
Tip 3: Reduce your water use
Another great way to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle is to cut down on your water usage. Taking shorter showers or installing water efficient shower heads are two easy ways to start. Investing in a low-flow shower head will be worth it when you compare your next water bill to the last one and can see the savings.
On the topic of water, breaking the bad habit of buying bottled water is a must! Purchase a water purifier or boil and store your drinking water to be enjoyed in a reusable drink bottle. Either way you can’t go wrong! In addition to cost savings, you won’t need to drag a bunch of heavy bottles home anymore and as a bonus you will help in reducing the relentless demand for single use plastic that inevitably find its way into our oceans where it does significant damage.
Tip 4 : Buy second hand or borrow
We are all working hard in the hope of being able to live the life we choose at some point in the future. However, our relentless spending on things like the latest tech and fashion trends, results in 60% of all household spending being on non-essential items. This shocking stat should make us stop and think about our consumer habits, not only for our financial betterment, but to reduce the footprint created by all these so called “must have” items.
It’s so tempting to buy a new expensive item from a glitzy and glamourous store, but there are many things we throw away that can easily be enjoyed by someone else, for instance, Books, DVD’s and a raft of second hand goods like fashion clothing and accessories. Buying a pre-owned item can not only reduce landfill but it will save your money for more meaningful experiences in life, like travel, education and pursuit of hobbies.
Tip 5: Energy efficient bulbs
Perhaps the simplest of all our green tips. Now, we are not saying to rush out and change all the bulbs in your home, but the next time a light bulb blows, why not replace it with a more ecofriendly and energy efficient one. For instance, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) can last up to 5 times longer than a normal bulb and over time use 25-35% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs.
Another added benefit is they are normally brighter so you may end up switching on less lights to get the same lighting coverage. They typically come in a tubular or helical (spiral) type bulbs. Be sure to dispose of spend bulbs carefully as they contain traces of mercury and do not belong in landfill. You can recycle these bulbs with designated recyclers such as Ikea, Global Lamp Recyclers or ask just your local lighting store if they accept them.
Whether you live in Singapore or anywhere else in the world, it’s imperative to remember that small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world! Living a greener life does not have to be hard. The above 5 tips are things that can easily be incorporated into your life with minimal fuss, and with the added incentive of saving money, it becomes a win-win for us and the environment. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your journey to a greener life today!