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2019 was definitely a tumultuous year of ups and downs for the environment. It’s high time to rethink our habits and include saving the planet in our goals. Here are some easy ways you can help save the Earth this year

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Always carry your own shopping bag

Plastic bags might be convenient, however, this one-time convenience is costly to the environment, particularly to our oceans. According to a recent study, an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. Did you know that it takes up to 400 years to decompose in a landfill?

So if you’re planning a trip to the market, always opt to bring a reusable shopping bag. They are a great alternative to plastic. Simply stash one in your bag and you’re good to go.

(Related: By 2021, Prada’s Iconic Nylon Bags Will Be Made Only With Recycled Plastic)

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Bring reusable water bottle

At this very minute, millions of plastic bottles are being sold around the world. Every hour, two and a half million are thrown away and may end up in our oceans, causing the deaths of many marine animals.

Make a significant difference today through getting yourself a reusable water bottle and start avoiding plastic bottles. This easy switch helps you and the environment.

(Related: Hyatt Hotels To Reduce Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles By 2021)

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Ditch straws and other plastic-wares

The rise of switching from plastic straws to wooden or metal straws or none at all has been apparent in recent years. Like other plastic items—such as bags and bottles—plastic utensils can take centuries to naturally break down. Billions of these one-time-use cutleries are thrown away each year, making it among the “most deadly” items to sea turtles, birds, and other animals.

One of the easiest and most logical solutions to help solve the plastic crisis is bringing your own cutlery. 

(Related: Say No To Plastic With Tiffany's Posh Reusable Straws)

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Always switch it up by renting outfits

Although fashion brands take initiative into limiting their carbon footprint, it is still deemed as one of the biggest contributors to pollution due to the volume of waste produced by factories. How do you fulfil the desire to wear new pieces of clothing yet have a good relationship with sustainability? By renting, of course. There are several rental services available in Singapore such as Style Theory, Covetella and The Treasure Collective, where you can rent various clothing items from gowns to designer bags through a subscription. You won't have to repeat outfits and at the same time, you'll contribute to a more circular fashion industry by renting. 

(Related: 7 Eco-Friendly And Sustainable Fashion Brands Redefining Luxury)


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Vary your diet and explore plant-based options

Vegetarian diets have grown popular over the years as a way to try and reduce one’s carbon footprint. Cutting down your consumption of red meat also lessens the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (which takes up roughly 51 per cent of emissions) are caused by animal agriculture.

You don’t have to completely cut meat out of your diet to make a difference. You can actually start small by taking part in Meatless Mondays, an initiative that encourages people to ditch meat once a week, or you can opt to replace at least one meal a day with plant-based options.

(Related: 12 Non-Vegetarian Restaurants Serving Delicious Plant-Based Dishes)



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Make a compost pile

For 2020, it’s time to avoid throwing away your food waste, whether it’s an entire sandwich or a half-eaten pizza slice. Our food waste goes into a landfill, creating methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. In other words, it contributes to climate change.

International school UWCSEA encourages its students in Singapore to keep their organic waste. From the skins of fruits to the remains of a salad bowl, the uneaten produce has so much potential so the students are asked to use it as compost for the school's gardens. Start a compost pile in your own backyard and use it to fertilise your plants so you won’t have to buy chemical fertilisers that are harmful for the environment.

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Sustainable grocery shopping

Sustainable grocery shopping is so much easier now thanks to the growing number of zero-waste stores that have popped up around Singapore. These stores provide a wide range of goods, from organic produce to alternatives for single-use plastic cutlery. Customers are usually encouraged to bring their own containers to buy in bulk as opposed to purchasing excess amounts which eventually will go to waste. This way, the use of disposable plastic containers are limited and there is a reduction of food waste when consumers buy only what they need.

(Related: Where To Go For Eco-Friendly Products In Singapore)