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 one of the most common type of waste and about 1.26 million tonnes of paper waste was generated in 2013. 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 from paper production, such as less energy and water consumption, less pollution, and less destruction of 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 adjust your page and printer settings to minimise the number of pages before printing, for example, reducing the margins for your page or printing 2 pages on a piece of paper. You can also explore the use of software such as GreenPrint to reduce the printing of unwanted pages and images.
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.
Agy is a local eco designer and have been refashioning clothing and fabric. She also conducts talks and workshops on upcycling and wearable technology.
Singapore Makers is the community platform for Makers in Singapore and also features a list of Makerspaces in Singapore where people can work on making stuff and DIY projects.
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 its Facebook Group or Yahoo! Groups. Another similar Facebook Group is the Singapore Neighbourhood Freecycle.
Pass It On is a Central CDC initiative that allows the public to donate unwanted items (home appliances, home furniture, medical aids, mobility aids, and learning aids) 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 or to Others
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 Points 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 good condition) such as activity mats, blankets, clothing (for newborns to teens), craft material (paint, construction paper, crayons, coloured pencils, etc), educational toys, story books and educational books (for toddlers to primary reading level), school bags for children, and tote bags.
Singapore Really Really Free Market is a temporary market where everything is free. Anyone with stuff to give away are welcome to set up a stall.
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.