How many disposable forks, spoons and chopsticks do you throw away each year? Let’s assume that a person throws away a pair of disposable utensils each week, which means that 104 utensils are disposed annually and if everyone in Singapore does the same, this result in the disposal of about 500,000,000 utensils in Singapore each year.
If you are using disposable utensils, you are wasting oil, cutting trees, burning waste and causing global warming. You can stop this today. Start by using your own reusable forks, spoons and chopsticks when you eat out. Bring Your Own Utensils.
To help you BYOU, we are offering reusable utensils for sale and you can choose from the different designs here.
Do you want to wrap your Christmas gift in an eco-friendly way? Furoshiki is a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth which is used in a creative and stylish way to wrap gifts and things. Watch how you can wrap your Christmas gifts Furoshiki-style.
The wrapping cloth can be reused or can be part of the gift too. You can use a Furoshiki cloth or any suitable scarf, tablecloth or used fabric. This idea is from the RecycleNow website.
In Singapore, paper is the most common type of waste and about 1.26 million tonnes of paper waste was generated in 2008. We need to eliminate the excessive use of paper and try to reduce paper waste where possible.
Cutting down on our use of paper will lead to a smaller environmental impact during paper production such as less energy and water consumption, less pollution, and less destruction of old forests and their biodiversity.
There are many ways to reduce the use of paper in the office and at home. Here’s a few examples:
- Avoid Printing Emails and Web Pages
- Use Email Instead of Fax
- Print and Photocopy on Both Sides of the Paper
- Switch to Electronic Invoicing
- Reuse Old Envelopes for Internal Mail
- Go Paperless with Electronic Bills and Statements
- Avoid Printing ATM Receipts
- Reduce Junk Mail
- Submit Your Annual Income Tax Return Online
- Use Cloth for Cleaning Instead of Paper Towels
- Read Newspapers and Magazines Online
1. Avoid Printing Emails and Web Pages
Avoid printing emails and web pages unnecessarily. Instead, archive your emails and bookmark your web pages for easy reference. If you need to print web pages often, you can use the free GreenPrint software to remove unwanted pages before printing. Or adjust your page and printer settings to minimise the number of pages before printing.
Have you come across an email signature with a tree logo and the words ”Please consider the environment before printing this email”? This is a good way to remind the email recipient to think first before printing. Learn more about this signature and how to add it to your email.
2. Use Email Instead of Fax
Use email instead of fax for sending documents. Just attach the document as a word or pdf file in your email. Or you can scan the document and attach it in your email. If you really need to use the fax, avoid using a cover page. Read more
Instead of throwing away old and unwanted materials and items, why not use your creativity to turn these waste into useful items and stylish decorations or art. Start a DIY (do-it-yourself) project to reuse your waste material and items. Here’s some local inspiration:
Didier Ng is a local designer who reuses waste material and objects, and turns them into original lifestyle and fashion products like lamps, furniture, bags, wallets and accessories. Each piece of her work is unique and shows that there is no such thing as waste. Some of the waste that she reuses include plastic bottles, rubber tyres, used banners and rice bags.
Maki Squarepatch turns old and used fabric materials into interesting and cute clothing, bags, toys and accessories.
There’s a TV show on Channel U called Go Green that shows you how to reuse waste materials to make useful and stylish items.
Web Resources on DIY and Crafts
More online resources on how to DIY and make crafts:
An example of how to make necklaces from old magazines and newspaper:
An example of how to make a tote bag from old clothing:
If you have old or unwanted items that are still in good condition, consider giving them to someone or donating them to charity. You can give it away through the following ways:
1. Give Away Online
The Singapore Freecycle Network is part of the global Freecycle movement that allows anyone to give away or receive items for free on Yahoo! Groups.
Pass It On is a Central CDC initiative that allows the public to donate unwanted household items in good working condition to Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs).
YouSwop is an online community that allows people to exchange items for something they need for free.
2. Give to Charity
The Salvation Army operates Family Thrift Stores that receives donations-in-kind from the public and companies, and resells them to support social programmes. You can find a list of the locations of Family Thrift Stores and donation bins at the Salvation Army website.
The Tzu Chi Recycling Stations and the monthly Recycling Day collects items like clothes, electrical appliances, school bags, leather, belts, shoes, soft toys, CDs, etc.
Blessings in a Bag is a non-profit project that partners with communities, orphanages, schools, and homes across Asia to provide for the needs of underprivileged, abused and medically-ill children. They accept donations for items (in decent condition and not stained, torn or dirty) such as children’s workbooks, educational toys and games, baby and children’s clothes, children’s story books, and recyclable tote bags.
You can also visit the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) website and search the eMatch service for donation needs by non-profit organisations.
3. Use the Recycling Programme
Old clothing and soft toys or electrical items can be placed in the recycling bags or bins under the National Recycling Programme. These items are usually sold by the recycling collectors. Contact your recycling collector to check what used items can be placed inside the recycling bag or bin.