Cleaning up on your eco- and eating habits can also help clean up our oceans and our environment. Here are five ways to do so!
1. Practice Meatless Mondays
TLDR: No need to go cold turkey, just do it once a week!
To give a sense of scale, the direct emissions from cattle and dairy cows alone are greater than emissions from any single country other than China.
Source: McKinsey & Company
If everyone went vegetarian for just one day, the U.S would save 100 billion gallons of water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide. Eating less meat can also improve your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some protein alternatives include beans, quinoa, tofu, mushrooms, chickpeas and nuts.
2. Support and buy local produce
TLDR: Not only does it reduce carbon footprint, local produce is also fresher and more nutrient-dense.
Local produce retains more nutrients as it is allowed to reach its peak before sale. When sourced overseas, produce is often harvested prematurely to retain its freshness before it reaches the stores.
In Singapore, NTUC Finest provides the most variety of local produce. Below are some local brands that provide a variety of vegetables:
- Sky Greens: Nai Bai
- Yili Vegetation and Trading: Xiao Bai Cai, Chye Sim Hua, Sharp Spinach, Kang Kong
- Kok Fah Technology: Xiao Bai Cai, Baby Kai Lan, Baby Cai Xin, Baby Spinach, Red Spinach,
- Oh Chin Huat Farm: Dill, Rosemary, Sweet Basil, Mint, Italian Parsley Thyme
- Green Nature Ecological Technology : Dou Miao, Alfafa Sprouts, Radish Sprout, Wasabi Sprout
- Chiam Joo Seng Towgay Growers: Rootless bean sprouts, Soya Bean Sprouts
- Seng Choon: Fresh eggs and quail eggs
- Chew’s: Eggs
- Jurong Frog Farm: Frog Meat
3. Bring your own cutlery in the office
TLDR: Avoid the lunch crowd and avoid the takeaway fee by bringing your own.
It is common to takeaway for lunch to avoid the lunch crowd, perhaps even more so with COVID-19. It’s a good idea to keep a set of takeaway lunch boxes, cutlery and other reusables needed in the office. That way, you have no more excuse for single-use! If you’re concerned about the safety of reusables during the pandemic, Greenpeace shares that “over 125 health experts from 19 countries signed onto a statement assuring retailers and consumers that reusables are safe during COVID-19, pushing back on claims by the plastic industry. The health experts — joined by Greenpeace USA and UPSTREAM, both members of the Break Free From Plastic movement — emphasize that disposable products are not inherently safer than reusables and that reusable systems can be utilized safely during the pandemic by employing basic hygiene.” (Source: Greenpeace.org)
4. Patronise food delivery services that use sustainable packaging
TLDR: Reduce your environmental impact by patronising brands who help you to do so.
Deliveroo has partnered with BioPak, a sustainable food packaging company offering compostable packaging made from plants and recycled paper. Options include delivery bags made of recycled paper, paper takeaway containers, napkins and straws, all of which are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to have originated from responsibly managed forests. Though sustainable packaging still requires commercial composting facilities, it is still better than using virgin plastic.
5. Skip plastic straws, drink stirrers, and cup lids
TLDR: Cut the unnecessary single-plastic use
For those in Singapore who may have participated in the East Coast Beach Cleanup, you’d notice that straws are amongst one of the most commonly found items - its impact is not miniscule! Please refuse them when you can, and better yet - bring your own.
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