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Learn to Say 'NO'

Learn to Say 'NO'

By Chu Hui Ying If you wish to live a zero-waste lifestyle, you can begin simply by learning to say ‘NO’ and refusing items that do not necessarily bring any more practicality to your everyday life. Here are some everyday items that you can start to eliminate in your life right now. Just say ‘NO’ to them! 1. Plastic Drinking Straws, Covers and Stirrers There may be times when you need a drinking straw, for example, to poke through the plastic sheet to get to your bubble tea. However, if you have the chance to refuse straws in restaurants, coffee shops or hawker centres, remember to do so. Make it a habit to remind the servers not to put the plastic straw in your drink. Plastic covers for cups are usually found in fast-food restaurants. If you are dining in the restaurant, putting a plastic cover over your drink is redundant and slows down the process of food getting to your reach. Remember to refuse the straws too. Plastic stirrers do not do their job as good as metal spoons. The plastic stirrer’s stem is weak and hardly useful in stirring the content within. Forget stirrers, be cool and just swirl. There are also alternatives to the above mentioned plastic items:

  1. Use a stainless steel straw

  2. Bring your own tumbler if you are going to take away your beverage

  3. Bring your own small spoon 2. Plastic Bags According to the Singapore Environment Council, consumers in Singapore used approximately 3 billion plastic bags in 2011. If we do not do something about it, soon we will become a plastic bag island. Here is a frequent sight in bakeries: cashiers carefully packing breads individually into plastic bags and then putting them into another plastic bag. The double-bag packing is also done for single bread purchases. It is time-consuming and wasteful! If you are going to eat your food straightaway, refuse the second layer of plastic bag. Bring your own reusable bag and refuse plastic bags when you go out to shop and never say, “Extra plastic bag!” 3. Disposable Napkins and Wet Tissues Refuse disposable napkins and wet tissues when dining at restaurants. They cost another 30 to 40 cents per person in the restaurant. You can simply wash with water and they cannot charge you for that. 4. Flyers The distribution of flyers often chokes up rubbish bins around the vicinity and sometimes even causing a mess on the floor. People often do not need these flyers and just throw them away. You should politely decline the flyer if someone is trying to pass you one. If you are curious about the content and take one, but find them unhelpful to you, you should return it to the distributor or recycle it. 5. Junk Mail Are you frustrated of having to deal with junk mail? It’s easy; just opt out of unaddressed junk mail by SingPost. You can also remind your insurance agents that you do not wish to receive festive cards and brochures as they are usually unnecessary. 6. Bubble Wrap When you make purchases online, you can ask retailers if they can use alternatives to bubble wrap, such as newspapers. 7. Birthday Candles Refuse birthday candles. This also means that you will not be reminded of your age and will not have melted candles on your cake. You should also refuse the plastic “Happy Birthday” words and have it written on your cake instead. If you are celebrating at home, refuse the plastic knife and use your own knife. 8. Pizza Saver

The pizza saver is the small white plastic stand that holds your pizza together during delivery. But is it necessary to use a non-biodegradable object to maintain the visual appeal of your food before eating? Does it even maintain any visual appeal at all? When you call for pizza delivery, remember to refuse the pizza saver. It is easy to reduce waste. All we have to do is to take the initiative to speak up, make our stand and refuse things that are forced into our lives without our permission. Be a pro-active consumer today. Image credit: Pizza Funghi mit Pizzahalter by 4028mdk09

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