1. Use Public Transportation
Quite a few Singapore households own cars but if you consider peak hour traffic, congested and expensive parking spots, COEs, high price tag of car-buying, multiple ERP charges, annual maintenance, road tax, traffic fines and rising petrol costs, then owning a car feels less like a luxury and more like a burden. The alternative is easy. Walk and use transportation whether it be buses, trains, other forms of public transportation. After all, God gave us legs, not a set of tires. However, if driving is still imperative, we would suggest organizing a carpool system with colleagues or parents to minimize the impact on the environment.
2. Buy Used
There are numerous parenting forums, message bulletins and websites that showcase excellent ways to trade or buy goods at significantly lower prices. Buying second-hand items can reduce our carbon footprint as there is no supply chain. Collectively, these small contributions can make a huge difference.
Similarly, have you ever been awakened by the yells and honking of ‘karung guni’ man? This wonderful scavenger is on a mission to collect furnishings, papers, and other unwanted goods which would have been otherwise, left on the street or in some other dumping ground. If you would rather try to make a little money from your unwanted goods, a garage sale is the answer. It’s a fun and easy way to get the whole neighbourhood involved while getting rid of unwanted clutter. Just make sure that you don’t end up exchanging clutter.
3. Go Back To Basics
Diapers prices are literally at skyrocketing. It makes you wonder how a simple piece of disposable plastic can fetch such prices? During our mom and grandmother’s time, the cloth-diaper was the mainstay and eco-friendly as they were simply washed after usage. Why not return to cloth diapers or even wet wipes, as my mom loves to do? While we’re at it, let’s replace paper towels with dish towels. All of these “old-fashioned” methods have helped families get during lean times in the past. During these times when our lifestyle is becoming increasingly disposable, we should look to the past for eco-friendly solutions.
4. Squeeze Till The Last Drop
Parents can and should play an important role in teaching our children the value of conservation. Common household items like toothpaste, shower soap and shampoo can be used sparingly. After all, a small squirt goes a long way. Both shower soap and shampoo can be diluted to last longer. Such products contain sodium laureth sulphate, a harsh foaming agent; thus a little dilution won’t affect its efficacy. Even though kids love bubble baths, baths use up a lot of water! Save such luxuries for special occasions. Educate our children and they will grow up to respect the environment.
5. Use Homemade Cleaners
Baking soda and vinegar are effective cleansing tools we can put to good use at home. You can also try lemon juice to get rid of tough grease marks. If you have a garden, use coffee or tea grounds as a fertiliser. The smell is far more pleasant than normal fertiliser and can help reduce your overall trash output.
6. Go Veggie
As inflation rises so does the cost of groceries, especially meat. The livestock industry and meat processing has proven to be a major contributor to environmental waste. Instead of a steady meat diet, why not try bean curd, beans and nuts as protein alternatives? Though it may prove difficult at first, we can teach our children at an early age the importance of a well-balanced diet.
7. No Bulk Portions
For larger families, there is a tendency to cook in bulk and often times we do so excessively. In order to conserve food, eat less and save leftovers for subsequent meals. Furthermore, home-cooked meals have significantly less salt, oil and saturated fat.
8. Visit Local Attractions
Some of the best travel destinations are in our backyard. Teach our children the pleasures of local attractions. In Singapore, the zoo and Night Safari, Bird Park, Botanic Gardens, museums, beaches and parks are popular destinations. Explore new haunts like the Hort Park and Marina Barrage for family picnics. Jet-setting to a faraway destination may be fun and luxurious, but it is the quality time spent with family that creates memorable experiences and leaves a minimal carbon footprint.
9. Stop Impulse Buying
In many households, Spring Cleaning is an annual ritual to rid ourselves of excess, unwanted clutter. It’s human nature to impulsively buy and collect items in the moment. While we would dream of depriving others of that primal satisfaction, we would encourage you to, perhaps, stop and think before buying. Do you really need that 7-minute ab-flexer or triangle sandwich press? Live simply. For every time you get the urge to buy something senseless, put that money into a jar. Spend it on something you really need at the end of the year. We promise you’ll be the happier for it.