Monday, April 18, 2011

:: 10 Wonderful Tips for Eco-Living ::

(Taken from here)

photo by Dan4th
by Liana Hamidon
These days, the word “recession” screams through every information source imaginable. Though the economy is set to decline for perhaps this and next year, many are looking for ways to save by cutting back on life’s little “un-necessities”. We need look no farther than our homes.
One of the best ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle – both monetarily and for Mother Earth – is to Go Green. And there’s no better time than to start than now. Here are some tips on how:
1. Use Public Transportation
Quite a few Singapore households own cars but if you consider peak hour traffic, congested and expensive parking spots, COEs, high price tag of car-buying, multiple ERP charges, annual maintenance, road tax, traffic fines and rising petrol costs, then owning a car feels less like a luxury and more like a burden. The alternative is easy. Walk and use transportation whether it be buses, trains, other forms of public transportation. After all, God gave us legs, not a set of tires. However, if driving is still imperative, we would suggest organizing a carpool system with colleagues or parents to minimize the impact on the environment.
2. Buy Used
There are numerous parenting forums, message bulletins and websites that showcase excellent ways to trade or buy goods at significantly lower prices. Buying second-hand items can reduce our carbon footprint as there is no supply chain. Collectively, these small contributions can make a huge difference.
Similarly, have you ever been awakened by the yells and honking of ‘karung guni’ man? This wonderful scavenger is on a mission to collect furnishings, papers, and other unwanted goods which would have been otherwise, left on the street or in some other dumping ground. If you would rather try to make a little money from your unwanted goods, a garage sale is the answer. It’s a fun and easy way to get the whole neighbourhood involved while getting rid of unwanted clutter. Just make sure that you don’t end up exchanging clutter.
3. Go Back To Basics
Diapers prices are literally at skyrocketing. It makes you wonder how a simple piece of disposable plastic can fetch such prices? During our mom and grandmother’s time, the cloth-diaper was the mainstay and eco-friendly as they were simply washed after usage. Why not return to cloth diapers or even wet wipes, as my mom loves to do? While we’re at it, let’s replace paper towels with dish towels. All of these “old-fashioned” methods have helped families get during lean times in the past. During these times when our lifestyle is becoming increasingly disposable, we should look to the past for eco-friendly solutions.
4. Squeeze Till The Last Drop
Parents can and should play an important role in teaching our children the value of conservation. Common household items like toothpaste, shower soap and shampoo can be used sparingly. After all, a small squirt goes a long way. Both shower soap and shampoo can be diluted to last longer. Such products contain sodium laureth sulphate, a harsh foaming agent; thus a little dilution won’t affect its efficacy. Even though kids love bubble baths, baths use up a lot of water! Save such luxuries for special occasions. Educate our children and they will grow up to respect the environment.
5. Use Homemade Cleaners
Baking soda and vinegar are effective cleansing tools we can put to good use at home. You can also try lemon juice to get rid of tough grease marks. If you have a garden, use coffee or tea grounds as a fertiliser. The smell is far more pleasant than normal fertiliser and can help reduce your overall trash output.
6. Go Veggie
As inflation rises so does the cost of groceries, especially meat. The livestock industry and meat processing has proven to be a major contributor to environmental waste. Instead of a steady meat diet, why not try bean curd, beans and nuts as protein alternatives? Though it may prove difficult at first, we can teach our children at an early age the importance of a well-balanced diet.
7. No Bulk Portions
For larger families, there is a tendency to cook in bulk and often times we do so excessively. In order to conserve food, eat less and save leftovers for subsequent meals. Furthermore, home-cooked meals have significantly less salt, oil and saturated fat.
8. Visit Local Attractions
Some of the best travel destinations are in our backyard. Teach our children the pleasures of local attractions. In Singapore, the zoo and Night Safari, Bird Park, Botanic Gardens, museums, beaches and parks are popular destinations. Explore new haunts like the Hort Park and Marina Barrage for family picnics. Jet-setting to a faraway destination may be fun and luxurious, but it is the quality time spent with family that creates memorable experiences and leaves a minimal carbon footprint.
9. Stop Impulse Buying
In many households, Spring Cleaning is an annual ritual to rid ourselves of excess, unwanted clutter. It’s human nature to impulsively buy and collect items in the moment. While we would dream of depriving others of that primal satisfaction, we would encourage you to, perhaps, stop and think before buying. Do you really need that 7-minute ab-flexer or triangle sandwich press? Live simply. For every time you get the urge to buy something senseless, put that money into a jar. Spend it on something you really need at the end of the year. We promise you’ll be the happier for it.
10. Tell us what you would recommend for our last tip. (contributed by Ayesha Kohli)
Get creative with toys. Instead of buying yet another toy made of cheap plastic or expensive wood, look around at what is at home. Old cardboard boxes, paint, twine, coloured paper, empty jam bottles, bottle caps of all sizes. Paint, wrap, embellish and create a whole army of toy characters. Keeps the kids busy and creative and makes recycling a whole lot of fun!

See how easy it is to do our bit in saving the earth? Of course there are many other ways such as;
1- gradually change your light bulbs to energy saving bulbs
2- use less detergent & water (choose 'economy' when selecting ur washing cycle)
3- iron weekly, not daily
4- recycle! recycle! recycle! papers, jam jars, bottles etc..
5- line dry your laundry, not tumble dry
6-spread the word.. be persistent and keep on talking about environmental issues.. eventually your spirit will rub-off to someone..
the list goes on.. bottom line is, there is no way you can do everything and single-handedly save the earth.. so pick a few tips that you think are easy enough to practice and practice them diligently & proudly. Ignore what people say. Keep in mind, you are doing this for your future generations.. your kids, your grandchild.. and most of all, remember "hablimminAllah wa hablimminannas"
buy used: visit bundle shops (like my hubby's shop, the BUNDLE KING and look out for flea markets. It may take more energy but it is definitely more fun!
go back to basics: use cloth diapers & breast feed your child. People used to think that cloth diapers & breast feeding are for poor families. I say screw them! Its very good for the planet and very very good for your child. Why use cow's milk when god has created human milk especially for the new borns? I am also a proud user of cotton pads. No 'whisper' or any branded pads for me.. I choose the cheapest in the market. No, not because I'm a cheapskate but because cheap pads are made of cotton only and the more expensive ones are made with cotton and gels (for better absorption). Way back in the 80s I remember my mother telling me that the gel in pads releases a chemical vapour when wet. And the vapour might be absorbed into our body and might cause ovarian cancer. Wallahualam..
squeeze till the last drop: oh i do! and I recycle the bottles too!
use homemade cleaners: very safe for human, especially children. imagine using chemicals to clean the microwave.. who's to say that the residue of the chemical detergents wont react with heat & might release some sort of harmful gas which then will be absorbed into your food (ok, i may sound paranoid but then again, better be safe than sorry). Instead, squeeze a lemon into a bowl of tap water, throw in the squeezed lemon into the bowl and run the microwave for approximately 10 minutes. then wipe clean the inside. you'll find that the stains are a lot easier to remove and it smell wonderful too!! the rest of the kitchen, use vinegar! 
visit local attractions: as a diver, and a wife to a passionate diver, local is the way to go.. do you know that malaysia in within the 'coral triangle'? which means we have among the most beautiful underwater realm in the world. Our corals and underwater ethereal creatures are ranked among those of Australia's Great Barrier reef, the Blue Hole of Belize and the coral reef of Mauritius and the Maldives. 

stop impulse buying: trust me, I've been there & done that! I used to have 3 credit cards with RM12,000 credit limit on each card. I was earning a lot but unfortunately i was spending a lot too.. i was sucked in the idea of 20th century young exec. Swiping my card wherever i go.. before long, i was buried in debt. with 11 - 12% interest PER MONTH, who wouldnt? (interest for personal loan is around 10 to 13% PER YEAR! ). with the compounding effect, i hit rock bottom. i had no choice but to seek professional help. I went to AKPK and they helped me make a deal with the banks. They managed to get me a pretty good deal. i still have to settle my debt but they converted it to a personal loan. Which means my compounding interest plummeted tremendously. I must say, going to akpk was one of the smartest action i've ever made. I now spend on cash only. i dont spend the money that i dont own. me and hubby both.. if we want to but something expensive, we'll start a piggy bank.. before long, we'll be able to buy things that we want.. its amazing how fast you can accumulate money when u want something bad enough.. so to me, when you dont own credit cards, you think about what you want to buy and therefore u most likely wont be an impulse buyer.

So boys and girls, start saving the environment now! If you cant do anything else, start using recycle paper in your office.. or at least print on both sides of the paper.. Yeah i know it can be a hassle sometimes and why save when its not even your paper? look at it this way, if the environment and the earth is not enough of a motivation for you, do it for yourself and your year-end bonus.. you are actually doing your bit to save some money for your company.. when your company saves money, u are more likely to get bonus at the end of the year.. 

Take care peeps!!


ashiena said...

thank you ingatkan..

betul.. kena selalu ingatkan, bila selalu diingatkan sikit-sikit, orang akan ikut perkara yang baik.
Sekarang, tengah usaha untuk \kən-ˈtri-byət untuk jaga bumi.. insyaAllah..

Faizah said...

ur welcome.. :)

jaga bumi untuk anak2 kita.. walaupun kita mampu buat sikit je untuk environment, kita tetap \kən-ˈtri-byət gak..

terima kasih sudi singgah..

Ardina said...

singgah melawat...
visit me:

or my online shop

a.k.a Sandra Bullock... :)