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As I wait in line for dabao (picked up) my food, my eyes fell on the S$0.20 surcharge on the takeaway container.
Curious about how takeaway costs add up, I did some quick calculations.
As it turns out, if you eat two meals every day for a year, that’s almost S$150! Now I know why I still can’t afford my own Netflix subscription.
And that doesn’t include the detrimental environmental costs of using and disposing of me at least 730 single-use containers in one year of my “dabao lifestyle”.
While I can’t avoid all the consumables and their costs without a major overhaul, I am motivated to find simpler alternative ways to recover my losses and do my part to fight climate change.
Here are some no-fuss and pocket-friendly climate measures I’ve tried and 10/10 would recommend:
No effort: Small house habits that add up
Start in familiar territory: your home.
From the comfort of your home, there are many small, and consequently overlooked, ways to save money and be eco-friendly.
For example, turning off electronic equipment when not in use, not leaving the faucet on or using a fan instead of air conditioning whenever possible.
You can even go a step further by using water-efficient and energy-efficient household appliances that save money in the long run and are more climate friendly.
Like takeaway containers, these little habits matter.
No effort: Reduce avoidable food waste
Food waste is one of the main drivers of climate change and for a food-loving country, a staggering amount of it goes to waste.
One effortless way to reduce food waste and save money is to buy groceries at the supermarket during your next grocery shopping trip.
These items are usually close to expiration or find slight imperfections, but they are perfectly worth consuming. FYI, the price is also much cheaper.
They can be easily found if you keep an eye on the label or the reduced part becomes clear.
No effort: Support local farmers
While we’re on the topic of food, let’s talk about local produce.
When you buy local produce, you get fresher ingredients while supporting local farmers.
Domestically grown food travels a much shorter distance from the local farm to you. Therefore, local produce lowers the carbon footprint and reduces food waste from spoilage or spoilage in transit.
Easily available in most major supermarkets, local produce bears the bright red “SG Fresh Produce” logo.
Effortless: Creative reuse of plastic packaging
Eliminating plastic packaging is simply not possible.
The least that can be done is to avoid donating unnecessary plastic waste.
This can be done with a little creativity. For example, the reuse of plastic packaging.
For example, reusing instant noodle packs to pack or store midday snacks instead of sandwich bags.
Some plastic packaging even has a zip and can be reused as a Ziploc bag to store dry goods, or clothes after a workout.
Low effort: Repairing household appliances
Home appliances don’t work like they used to? Consider having it repaired with Repair Kopitiam before recycling or throwing it away.
Fix Kopitiam is a monthly initiative with a friendly community that repairs your household appliances and clothes for free, saving them from the fire pits of incineration plants.
Friendly teachers, free repairs and waste reduction, need I say more?
Sessions take place on the last Sunday of each month at Tampines, Jurong East, Pasir Ris, and Choa Chu Kang. All you have to do is register for a slot before heading down.
The little effort required to travel to the location, the tools behind it, is definitely worth your while.
Climate Action Week has arrived
You don’t have to go to great lengths to do your part in the fight against climate change.
Like the example above, the collective effort of small actions, though imperfect, will add up.
And it’s never too late to start.
Organized by the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment, Climate Action Week is your chance to find out more about climate change and how you can do your part.
This year, Climate Action Week ran from July 12 to July 18, and involved more than 60 partners who organized more than 120 activities.
The public can look forward to a series of initial initiatives such as workshops, webinars, games and activities. You may be able to find lesser or no-effort climate action from this initiative!
Some examples are the game-based workshop on recycling by Environmental Statement and the opportunity to question climate scientists from the Singapore Earth Observatory.
In addition, prizes can be won when you track your climate action with the app susGain. SusGain is also committed to planting trees with every action tracked.
Find out more about Climate Action Week here.
Top image and all images by Fiona Tan, unless otherwise stated. The author of this article, sponsored by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, regularly visits the reduced-to-clean sections of supermarkets in search of bargains.