4 Tips On How To Lead A More Sustainable Lifestyle In 2021
Adopt an environmentally conscious mindset and develop sustainable living habits
It is undeniable that 2020 has been a tumultuous year, laden with challenges faced both individually and globally. It has given us a lot of time to do some self-introspection on how we can better ourselves, our relationships and of course our connection with the environment.
Global warming, its effects and climate change have been a daunting phenomenon over the past two centuries. With more research and data collected in the mid-20th century by climate scientists, there has been more focus on how we can adopt more sustainable habits.
So, let us welcome 2021 by minimizing our carbon footprint!
1. Energy efficiency
Electrical energy, in particular, is the bloodline of our increasingly digitalised world. Most of us cannot imagine a functional day without it (as reflected in our SP bills, unfortunately!). Simply switching off our electronic products (e.g. Desktop/ Television etc.) is not enough as the tiny unassuming power sockets actually consume power even when the electronic products are not in use. According to a video tip on the SP Utilities app, the standby power of household electronic products accounts for roughly 10% of household power usage. If possible, take the time to turn off the power plugs for your appliances to reduce electricity consumption.
Another great tip is to set your air-conditioner temperature to 25°C. More energy is required to cool a room down to lower temperature and 25°C is a sweet spot for a comfortable draft. If you want to kick your efficiency up a notch, set your air-conditioner to fan mode. Your compressor and your bills will thank you for it.
2. Water wisdom
It has been ingrained in us from an incredibly young age to use water wisely. Campaigns in primary school taught us to use a cup to rinse our mouths after brushing our teeth, and not leave the tap running.
Even though almost three quarters of our earth is covered in water, only 3% of our water is freshwater, from which only 1.2% of it is suitable for drinking. The remaining 97% of the Earth’s water is found in the oceans, which is too salty for drinking, growing crops, and most industrial uses. Our water is therefore a precious and alarmingly diminishing resource, hence it is necessary for us to conserve it as much as possible.
In the kitchen, wash and peel your vegetables in a large basin whenever possible to avoid use of running water throughout the entire process. Water used to rinse your rice can also be reused for watering plants and washing dishes. You can even install water tap thimbles (a button-like accessory) that helps provide a stronger water stream without increasing the water flow.
Back in the bathroom, our love for cooling showers under the humid conditions in Singapore will have to be replaced by shorter showers. Although it may seem insignificant, it is important to repair leaky toilets. When doing laundry, try to get a full load with eco-friendly settings to further reduce unnecessary use of water.
Water is the elixir of life, make every drop count and it all starts with you.
3. Going zero-waste
As a consumer-centric society, we are taught to have materialistic aspirations. This is reflected in our shopping habits. Do you really need that extra pair of cute socks when you have a drawer full? (with some still unused!) It is time to trim your textile waste. According to National Environment Agency, in 2019 Singapore generated 168,000 tonnes of textile/leather waste where only 4% (6,000 tonnes) have been recycled. Instead of throwing out threads, donate your clothes and even bedsheets or have a garage sale. Now with online selling platforms like Carousell, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, there are several more positive fates for our pre-loved items instead of being added to another pile of waste.
When it comes to upgrading your wardrobe, before deciding on spending your money on new clothes, try exchanging your clothes for newer ones on online swapping platforms like The Fashion Pulpit. If you prefer to have a constantly fresh wardrobe, you may try rental stores like Style Theory.
Pay attention to the brands that you are supporting as well so as to not encourage businesses that are exploiting the environment. Look out for brands that pride themselves on their material sustainability and ethical trade.
Be a socially conscious consumer!
4. Vary your diet and explore plant-based options
Over the past couple of years, being a vegetarian or vegan has been a growing trend. Many think it is just a fad for those millennial-yogic types, or just a new fashionable nutrition plan. It has been proven with statistics that there is truth in the health-benefits of a plant-based diet. It is also true that it has impacted the climate positively.
A plant-rich diet requires less resources like water, fuel and land. More sustainable land-use practices and the restoration of ecosystems will help decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases from food production, in turn minimising the stress on our planet.
Plant-based products are now more accessible and convenient than ever as they can be found at our local supermarkets like NTUC FairPrice. Plant-based options are also increasingly available in restaurants, allowing us more opportunities to care for the Earth as we eat. We are not saying to give up on your intake of meat and dairy entirely, but to make the right choices and vary your diet occasionally.
Perhaps have your morning coffee with oat milk instead?
With 2021 upon us, let us take the time to care a little more for the health of the planet that we live in. She is our home after all and we are the keepers of its survival. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on the latest trends.