Easier Than You Think: Sustainable Living in Singapore

Climate change is nothing new, but the latest report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) certainly is. Not going to lie: it’s bad. According to the report, human activity is threatening the existence of over a million plant and animal species at an unprecedented rate.

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You can read more about the report here, but in the meantime, what can we do to help? Tackling climate change can feel like trying to move a mountain, but on an individual scale, there are little lifestyle changes we can make. And they aren’t hard at all! In fact, I think these will even bring extra convenience into your life. Here are three aspects in which you can make the switch!

1. Reuse, reuse, reuse— BYO ( Bring Your Own)!

Single-use plastics are super convenient, but are they super necessary? That depends, but they are certainly super harmful: they can take up to 1000 years to decompose, and in the meantime choke up wildlife and pollute our Earth. 🙁 It helps to have a set of reusable items for your everyday needs, and it is a lot less troublesome than you think with these handy (and chic!) options. Of course, you can always also use whatever you already have instead of buying, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little boost.

Stojo

We all know: when you reuse something, less waste is generated. In a long list of reusable options, Stojo cups are pretty high on top. They come in a huge variety of colours, from bolder hues to muted pastels. More than just attractive in design, these cups are SUPER functional. Essentially, they are collapsible coffee-style cups that are super travel-friendly and take up minimal space in your bag. They are leak-proof and easily disassembled, making for uncomplicated maintenance.

The larger Stojo Biggie has a volume of 475ml, which is enough to hold most drink portions served at commercial outlets. Most medium-sized bubble teas are 500ml, but I often just ask for less drink. It also works to request for less ice, as that will significantly lessen the overall volume of the beverage!

You can learn more about the Stojo here. Locally, you can find it on Shopee or Lazada, but I would recommend checking out @thesustainabilityproject_ for Stojo “Imperfects”. “Imperfects” are Stojos with slight defects like small stains or discoloration, but are still entirely functional, for a lower price. The Stojo pictured above is a discoloured Stojo, but it’s still a wonderful pretty pink!

Check out stojo.co.

 

Metal Straws

Metal straws are no new fad, having really taken off in 2018. Although it can feel like such an insignificant difference in the grand scheme of things, it is more impactful than you think! For a bubble tea fiend like me, I drink cups on cups full— that’s 4 plastic straws a week, 16 a month, 192 a year! Single-use plastic is the worst of all, with the justified bad rep of ending up as harmful litter, especially for wildlife. So if you’re going to be using it often anyway, why not invest in something reusable?

 

Bring Your Own Containers

If you’d like to take BYO to the next level, why not start carrying a lunchbox with you? Even if you aren’t going to be packing your own meals, you can get your food in your own lunchbox rather than paying for a disposable takeaway container! You definitely don’t need to get fancy with this and can repurpose glass jars, existing plastic containers or tupperware you might have already.

If you don’t already have a container though, the good old tingkat is a good option. With multiple tiers, you can get soup separately so your noodles/rice don’t get soggy, pack multiple meals or a snack, or separate the elements of your meal.

Pictured is the small two-tiered tingkat set from @mitchmatchh, $25, available at Naiise outlets, JEM and Robinsons The Heeren. 

 

2. Switch up your lifestyle: eco-friendly shopping

Of course, we all have to eat! But conventional supermarkets are plastic galore. Even products you wouldn’t expect, like wet wipes and tissues, contain plastic. Luckily, with the eco-trend taking off, some brands are doing something about it.

UnPackt

UnPackt is a home-grown zero-waste grocery and lifestyle store where you can get naked groceries, and it comes with the additional benefit of being able to buy exactly what you need! How it works is simple, you bring your own containers which are weighed before you shop. Once they’re filled with what you need, the containers are re-weighed and prices charged accordingly.

They’ve lots of yummy options, from healthy snacks like almonds, to baking essentials like cocoa powder, and food staples like pasta. Recently, they also introduced their fresh nut butters, churned and dispensed in-house— they’re delicious as spreads or to top off fruit bowls. UnPackt also sells a range of lifestyle items like organic bar soaps, a foldable bottle and reusable cutlery and straws.

Check out @unpackt.sg.

Scoop Wholefoods Singapore

Scoop Wholefoods is a family-run business from Australia, with a supermarket concept that focuses on a. health and b. the sustainability of the planet. They work with local producers and responsible suppliers in order to achieve zero-waste, sustainable stores.

The recently opened outlet at Tanglin Mall is similar to UnPackt in its purchasing model, with loads of bulk bins to complement BYO  shopping containers. It is for fitness fanatics, chefs, homemakers—anyone! But most of all, people looking to shop guilt-free without single-use packaging.

Fresh kombucha on tap

Scoop Wholefoods has a huge range of products, including soaps and household items, groceries and health foods. From bins of flavourful spices to delicious treats such as chocolate-covered freeze-dried strawberries, your reusable shopping bag is sure to leave loaded.

They stock lots of gluten-free, organic, Australian-grown produce in store so that what you get is deliciously fresh and natural. Their best-seller, worth noting, is their sun-dried Australian mangoes! Completely free of preservatives and additives, it is a perfect snack.

Check out @scoopwholefoods_sg. 

 

Cloversoft

Unbleached Bamboo Organic Antibacterial Wipes 15 Sheets, $1.20

It also helps to be conscious of what you buy, both for yourself as well as the environment! Cloversoft makes their products with unbleached bamboo pulp, for a skin-safe and eco-friendly alternative to conventional wet wipes made from plastic, and tissues made with trees. It has a smaller carbon footprint as it skips the chemicals released from bleaching and the reliance on plastic.

Unbleached Bamboo Toilet Tissues, $7.55; Unbleached Bamboo Facial Tissues, $6.35

They have a huge range of household products, from their Speckless Swipe™ Mop Refill Dual Pads to their Unbleached Bamboo Organic Antibacterial Wipes and Unbleached Bamboo Facial Tissues. Best of all, they are not more expensive than any other household brands you might find, so it’ll be an easy and seamless switchover.

Check out cloversoft.com.sg.

 

3. Conscious consumption 

You don’t have to do a 360 on your diet in order to be more eco-friendly! There are many brands offering initiatives that allow you to consume more consciously and responsibly, whether it be by skipping disposables or in the products they produce.

Mr Bean

Did you know? If you bring your own cup/container, you get ten cents off your order at Mr Bean! I’ve tried and tested this and it’s true, although some staff might forget sometimes. It is really simple too, most of us carry water bottles anyway, so you can just pass yours to the staff! Pictured above is some plain soy milk I took away in my trusty, slightly beat-up bottle— if it works, it works! This way, you reduce single-use plastic consumption, and save some coin while you’re at it.

My favourite thing to get from Mr Bean is their pearly taro ($2.80), a sweet, creamy, pretty purple drink with a good taro flavour and chewy pearls. They have an extensive menu though, so you can have your pick! And if you’re wondering, nope,  #notspons by Mr Bean. I just REALLY love soy milk.

Check out mrbean.com.sg.

Less Meat/Meat Alternatives

In short, meat consumption has an environmental impact in the areas of water footprint, water pollution, land use, deforestation, and to some extent, the emission of greenhouse gases.

Of course, completely altering your diet a la going vegetarian or vegan isn’t for everyone, whether it’s due to preference, convenience, dietary needs, etc. However, it’s definitely worthwhile to try out some meat alternatives or meatless meals, especially when there are more and more delicious alternatives popping up! Here is one of my favourite meat alternatives: Quorn.

Meal prepared with Quorn Filet, $6

Quorn is a brand well-known for their meat alternatives, made instead from mycoprotein, grown from a natural fungus. It consumes less water and land use than raising certain livestock, and the end product is rich in protein. From filets to nuggets to meatballs, Quorn has quite a sizeable range of meat alternatives. I personally enjoy their products, they have a satisfying, meaty bite to them, and a good flavour, although it is distinct from real meat.

Quorn X Ichiban Bento Boxes and Snacks, from $2.50 to $13.80

But don’t take just my word for it! Popular Singaporean YouTuber Night Owl Cinematics reviewed Quorn products on their Food King series in their vegan taste test video. You can check out the blog on it here. Spoiler alert: Quorn fared well. In a more recent taste test, they also reviewed the new Quorn X Ichiban bentos.

Check out quorn.sg.