By Camillia Dass
March 31, 2021
We use a lot of single-use plastic and disposables almost unconsciously every day. Here are some sustainable swaps that will cut your carbon footprint down significantly
Additional reporting by Andrea Saadan.
Did you know that the average person produces about 2.6kg of trash in a day? That’s about 744.7kg per year and is not at all sustainable.
In fact, many of us use disposable cutlery, plastic produce bags at supermarkets and plastic wrappers daily without even thinking about it.
If you have been thinking about trying to cut down on your carbon footprint, here are some easy, everyday items that you use that you can swap for reusable versions to help you on your journey.
(Related: 9 Best Sustainable Stores and Grocers in Singapore)
One of the biggest K-beauty tips is to use a sheet mask daily as it does wonders for your skin. In fact, some beauty aficionados may even use a sheet mask twice a day. But considering how these sheet masks aren’t always biodegradable, it does contribute to wastage on our part. So one way to make your beauty routine more eco-friendly is to use clay masks, which can be bought in bulk at sustainable stores. You only need to add all-natural ingredients such as water and raw honey to make a paste and just apply it to the skin for 10 minutes.
At Scoop Wholefoods, you can get a wide variety of eco-friendly and botanical skincare items in their dedicated Soap Room. You can find items like organic body scrubs, bath salt blends as well as clay masks such as Australian green clay, Australian pink clay and French red clay. Try the red clay as it is good for all skin types, however, it is extra useful for oily skin types. It helps to hydrate dry skin while reducing oil secretion and pore size and also removes dirt and impurities. You can use it at least once or twice a week.
Laundry capsules have become increasingly popular in recent times, but these plastic-wrapped items are harmful to the environment for obvious reasons. Generally, liquid detergent uses more water, and it is usually packed in plastic bottles. To have a more sustainable laundry routine, opt for laundry powder that can be purchased in bulk and are refillable. This means shopping at zero waste and eco-friendly grocers where you can bring your own container and purchase only what you need.
The Source Bulk Foods offers plenty of sustainable household needs including laundry liquid and laundry powder. The Australian-made plant and mineral-based Lemon Myrtle Laundry Powder is phosphate-free and biodegradable with its ingredients clearly listed. You can refill your own container and cut down on plastic waste.
Pads and tampons are really common. They are easy to find, cheap and for most women, this is all they have ever known.
However, did you know that pads are around 90 per cent plastic? In fact, considering that a single woman will use anywhere between five and 15 thousand pads or tampons in their lifetime, it is safe to say that it is not at all eco-friendly.
Consider switching pads and tampons for a more sustainable option like a menstrual cup. Menstrual cups are great because they are silicone which means they are better for you. It also means they are flexible and can easily adapt to your individual body shape. In fact, when used properly, you will not even feel the cup inside you. You simply need to change it out every 12 hours and you’re good to go.
With proper care, you can use a menstrual cup for up to 10 years before you have to throw it out.
Freedom Cups is a local brand that creates menstrual cups tailored for Asian women. Their cups are smaller and much easier to work with as compared to typical American brands. Plus, for every cup purchased, Freedom Cups will donate a cup to a woman in need. It’s really the best of both worlds. Opt for the mini size if you have never used a cup before as it will be less intimidating and far easier to use.
(Related: Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastic Waste: What Can We Do About it?)
Ziplock bags are convenient, easy to use and absolutely terrible for the environment. These single-use bags may seem like a great way to bring about food and snack, but they could be doing more damage to the Earth than you would think.
Consider switching to reusable storage options such as silicone zip lock bags that can safely be washed and reused as often as you need to.
Stohr is a local company that produces silicone ziplock bags of every size and colour. We always love being able to bring snacks on the go so consider getting their Little size if you need something compact and convenient that can fit into your bag.
(Related: Heading Back to the Office Soon? 4 Tips to Help You Adjust to the Change)
We live in a fast-paced and capitalist world that is constantly telling us that we need to most expensive and newest items out there. In fact, sales are so common because companies want to push consumers to keep buying things they may not even need.
What then happens is that we build up a large collection of clothing that we may not wear or that is unnecessary and we end up throwing them out when we declutter.
Save the Earth as well as some money by going thrifting for clothes or keep an eye out for shops that allow you to purchase preloved clothes for a fraction of the price or even for the price of an old piece of clothing of your own.
The Fashion Pulpit is a local company that allows you to swap your clothes. Simply bring your pre-loved clothes that you no longer wear or need and you can actually swap them out for a preloved item at the store. It’s totally the perfect way to keep your wardrobe fresh and updated without accumulating clutter.
Cotton pads are a common staple for many. We use them to take off our makeup, to apply toners, to apply ointments and more. However, growing cotton is an extremely laborious process that really damages the earth. Chemicals used to grow cotton can often pollute rivers, damage wildlife and impact our ecosystems.
Growing cotton also requires a large amount of water. For just a kilogram of cotton, you will need 20,000 litres of water. This water is often taken from the ecosystem which can disrupt it greatly.
Today, many companies are coming up with reusable cotton rounds that you can simply use and wash in a load of laundry or with soap and water in the sink. It is easy, better for the environment and a fantastic alternative to single-use cotton pads.
Your Sustainable Store is a fantastic local company that stocks some of the best reusable products from different brands and even Etsy stores. Consider getting Natural Linens Boutique’s organic cotton French Terry facial pads. They are soft and highly absorbent which makes them the perfect addition to your beauty routine.
(Related: 6 Luxurious Cotton Bedlinen Brands for a Good Night’s Sleep)
Plastic sandwhich bags seem to simply form the backbone of our society. In fact, it is very common to go to any shop and to be given bread or pastries in a disposable plastic sandwich bag. We also frequently pack school or work sandwiches in these easy to use bags. However, they create a lot of plastic waste that is only going to continue to fill our already overfilled landfills.
Consider switching to a reusable sandwich bag that you can wash instead. There are many options out there so take a look and find something that works best for you and your family.
Many reusable sandwich bags can be difficult to fold and manoeuvre. We recommend trying Beego Handmade’s reusable snack and sandwich bags. They come in a variety of fun colours and designs and are easy to use. In fact, they have a little flap on the top to make sure you don’t need to origami your way into packing a quick sandwich. They also come with a food-safe medical grade waterproof fabric interior which makes them easy to wash at the sink or even in the washing machine.
(Related: Burberry Has Launched Reusable Face Masks, And is the First Luxury Fashion House to Do So)