7 easy ways to go plastic free on World Environment Day (and every other day)
Little things make big things happen
Every 5 June, we pay homage to the place we all – unequivocally – call home. The term of endearment we've termed our world (Mother Earth) is apt because she's teeming with life, but lately our planet has also been teeming with something more unnatural: plastic. Of course, this isn't news. But the fight is far from over, and Singapore has a long way to go when it comes to reducing plastic bag usage and snapping out of a single-use plastic culture.
The good news? It starts with you. You can still do your bit for the environment simply by making a few small changes to your everyday life. Try these nifty tips below.
1. Recycle used coffee capsules
Coffee fixes don't always have to come with unnecessary waste – not when recycling has become as easy as it is with Nespresso's efforts to simplify their customers' process of returning used capsules. All you have to do in the morning after brewing yourself a cuppa is pop your coffee capsule in one of Nespresso's recycling bags instead of the bin. Dropping them off couldn't be more convenient; Nespresso touchpoints are aplenty, as they have boutiques located at high-traffic locations like ION and VivoCity, among other accessible places. And if you're a hermit, their Recycling@Home option ensures you don't even have to leave your house to be environmentally conscious. Just hand your capsule-filled bags to the deliveryman the next time you receive a fresh new batch of grounded goodness from them through an order on their website or the Nespresso app.
2. Give up snacks with plastic food packaging
We know – that's basically all of them. But therein also lies part of the problem: for as much as we love our chips and granola bars, they do contribute significantly to our plastic-use problem, if their immense popularity is any indication. The good news is, there are quite a number of easy-to-make snacks you can create that barely take any time at all. In fact, we have an insider recipe for some glorious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies; who said you can't help save the earth and stay healthy at the same time? Adding another half-hour to your Sunday meal prep to cook up some snacks for the week is a small price to pay for the amount of good it'll do, both for yourself and for the nature we all want to protect.
3. Take your own bags when you go shopping
One of the easiest ways to be environmentally friendly is to cut down on your use of plastic bags. We recommend picking up a few reusable bags from Baggu, which fold down to nothing and come in a range of fun, fashionable colours and designs. The standard Baggu is durable, lightweight, and can hold two to three times more than a traditional grocery bag.
4. Invest in a reusable coffee cup
Think about how much coffee you drink every day. Now, think about how many cups you throw in the bin. By investing in a reusable coffee cup like KeepCup or Stokke, you can help stop sending more rubbish to landfill while still getting your daily caffeine fix. And we promise, even your local kopi uncle won’t mind filling it up.
5. Swap one bottle in your bathroom for a solid product
We send 80 billion plastic bottles to landfill annually from shampoo and conditioner alone. Ditching even just one bottled product in your routine for a solid alternative will save roughly six bottles per year. One of the easiest places to start is with a solid shampoo like the ones from Ethique (the world’s first zero-plastic beauty brand). Solid products last two to five times longer than bottled ones — they save water waste and there’s nothing left over to throw away.
6. Say no to the straw
Do you use a straw when you’re at home? No, we didn’t think so. But if you’re particularly fond of sipping from a straw when you’re out and about, grab a reusable stainless steel, glass or bamboo one instead. Neis Haus has plenty of great eco-friendly options — including ones for smoothies and bubble teas.
7. Stop using plastic wrap
Instead of using cling film to cover your food, try storing leftovers in a glass or ceramic container with a lid. Or, check out Bee’s Wrap, a sustainable and reusable alternative to plastic wrap. Instead of throwing it out once you’re done, simply wash it with gentle soap and cool water then let it air-dry ready to use again.
About Gracie Stewart
A born and bred Kiwi, Gracie Stewart has spent the last six years living over three continents and writing for publications such as Vogue India, Vogue Arabia, OliviaPalermo.com, Emirates Woman and Style.com. When she's not busy writing about 101 ways to banish spots and get glowing, Gracie loves travelling or researching new places to visit. She is also particularly passionate about saving our oceans and spends half her life underwater.