Six Tips to Kickstart Your Sustainable Lifestyle

Six Tips to Kickstart Your Sustainable Lifestyle

Following up on our article about microplastics in food, here are six steps you can take to reduce your plastic consumption and make the move towards a sustainable lifestyle.

Following up on our article about microplastics in food, here are six steps you can take to reduce your plastic consumption and make the move towards a sustainable lifestyle.

1. Don’t Be a Sucker for Straws

According to a report by AlphaBeta, the Final Straw and the Cyan Project, people in Singapore use 2.2 million straws per day. Putting that into perspective, laid end-to-end those straws would circle Singapore’s coastline twice. That’s a shocking amount of plastic waste that could make its way into our oceans and even our food chain.

Thankfully a number of businesses have volunteered to take part in WWF’s PACT initiative. You too can play your part by refusing plastic straws. 

2.  Bring Your Own

Forego those single-use disposable containers and bring your own reusable one (BYO). The BYO movement has been gathering steam in Singapore over recent years as both businesses and consumers realise we can’t continue our current wasteful ways. 

There’s no better time to hop on-board the BYO train. Increasingly F&B outlets, like Starbucks and Plain Vanilla Bakery, are offering discounts and other rewards as an incentive for bringing your own reusable container. 

While at first glance the discounts and rewards may not seem significant, they do add up over time. Saving 50 cents on a daily coffee becomes $182 a year, almost the price of a roundtrip ticket to Bangkok. 

Of course the real prize is the knowledge that you’re cutting down on your plastic and paper consumption, helping to save the planet, and ultimately yourself. 

3. Choose Your Cuppa with Care 

You may be surprised to learn that many brands of tea bags contain a small amount of plastic. Although tea bags are mostly made from paper, they are often heat-sealed with an oil-based plastic. As we pointed out in our last article on plastics, some brands’ tea bags are completely plastic, found to release billions of microplastics per cup. 

Luckily there are options for a plastic-free cup of tea. Using loose-leaf tea with a metal tea infuser or tea strainer will guarantee you avoid any unforeseen contaminants due to the tea bag production process. Some producers are eco-minded and offer plastic-free tea bags.

4. Kick Your Plastic Habit

Instead of buying bottled water switch to a metal or glass water container. Doing so will help you avoid the microplastics found in bottled water – higher than in tap water according to the WHO –  and save you money. 

In an audit carried out by Break Free From Plastic, Coca Cola has been named the world’s largest plastics polluter. Nestlé and Pepsico are also high on the list.

Consider switching to cans instead of buying plastic bottles. According to a National Environment Agency report, just 4% of plastic waste was recycled in Singapore last year. On the other hand, 99% of metals were recycled. 

Just be sure to cut open the pull ring before recycling so wildlife is safe from being trapped on the rings if a can is improperly disposed of.

5. Plastic Audit Your Kitchen

Instead of using plastics in your kitchen, use hardier and more environmentally friendly alternatives. 

For instance, why not ditch those plastic food containers in favour of glass ones? Glass doesn’t stain or warp and can last for many more years than their plastic counterparts. Glass can also be used safely in the oven or microwave, and is 100% recyclable. You can also store water in your fridge in glass bottles or carafes.

Another example is choosing reusable food wraps and bags made from organic materials when packing the kids’ lunches. You could switch from a plastic cutting board to a wooden one. Likewise with kitchen utensils, such as spatulas and rice spoons. 

You’re not expected to dump everything plastic, but when you’re buying new stuff for the kitchen, try to think of the eco-friendly alternatives.

6. Change Your Mindset

WWF’s article ‘Plastic is Not the Villain – We Are’ sums up the problem succinctly: it’s our wasteful model of consumption. In striving for an increasingly convenient lifestyle we’ve lost sight of the long-term cost.

Awareness of the need to reduce our waste has grown and most people are cognisant of the importance of protecting our environment to some degree. We must go a step further, change our mindsets and start taking personal responsibility for our own contributions to the planet’s waste problems. 

Whether it’s bringing your own reusable straw to a restaurant, your own coffee cup to Starbucks or recycling soft drink cans, every little step we take helps reinforce eco-friendly habits and carries us on our journey towards a sustainable future for the Earth. 

Checkout WWF’s and PACT websites for more information on what you can do as an individual or business owner to help. The buck stops with us.

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