Top 5 zero-waste New Year Resolutions

Some New Year Resolutions are predestined to fail before they’re even begun...

That’s why we’ve compiled our top 5 resolutions for a sustainable year that you’re guaranteed to feel proud of from day 1.

Starting from the bottom, at number 5 in our best new year green resolutions is...

That is, if you’ve bought a glass straw to keep in your bag. Guys, retractable plastic and silicone straws fit in your pocket. And yes they come wide enough for bubble tea. If you haven’t already despite all of last year’s campaigns, it’s time to finally say no to the straw. Oh, and they’re on their way to being banned worldwide anyways (even McDonald's and Starbucks have made a pact) so you might as well get used to it before you’re forced to, and the sooner you do, the better for the environment. And talking of ditching, if you occasionally still get your coffee in a disposable cup, at least say no to the bag. Never reused, alongside the plastic straw it’s the most futile piece of plastic Singapore is decidedly addicted to. Small and lightweight, it’s also no good to recycle and easily lost in nature... and if you’re having coffee in, ask for a real mug where possible or refuse the plastic lid.

4. "All the shine of a thousand spotlights" will be more than enough!

Leave the lyrics to the success of "The Greatest Showman", no one can sing it without embarrassing themselves anyways. When I was a kid my grandad would ask “do you think it’s Versailles here?” when we left the lights on across the house. Probably the easiest habit to adopt, turning off lights when leaving a room and sockets to small appliances when not in use saves a bundle of electricity. Don’t leave appliances to charge when you’re away all day - they don’t need so long and spend most of the day plugged in for no reason, moreover damaging the battery. When you go on holiday, turn off the main switches if you have them to everything but the fridge. If you can, switch your bulbs to halogen lights or the far more energy-efficient compact fluorescent light and light emitting diode light bulbs. Just how much energy you save by turning off your lights depends on the type of bulbs with the least energy efficient bulbs being incandescent lights; 90% of the energy they use is given off as heat so only about 10 percent results in light! Need we remind you it will save you a fair bit of money also?

3. Purify your home water

Did you know mineral water also contained micro plastics these days? So you might as well invest in a countertop water purifier for under $150, easily snapped onto your faucet or remain freestanding, gravity-fed filters. While the filter at the tap means you don't have to refill the container, the gravity-fed filter provides water in case of emergencies such as water or power shortages. Replacement filters aren't required before months or even years and no tools are needed. Over time, it will save you not just plastic bottles but a lot of money from drinking straight from the tap. If that’s a bit pricey, consider getting a water pitcher with a good quality filter; but don’t be stingy, the price reflects the quality of the filter. And you may want to read the fine print, as they typically reduce only a few contaminants (such as chlorine), in addition to the water sitting in plastic for an extended period of time which increases the chances of it picking up chemicals from the pitcher itself. They improve taste and odour more than they actually improve the quality...

2. Learn to say "no (thank you)"

This will actually serve you in many other aspects of life, but if nothing else, it will help you cut down on waste considerably. "Do you need a bag? Would you like a straw?" are common questions when shopping, eating and drinking out, and you can train yourself to hear them and not respond on auto-pilot. Other situations where you might want to refuse would be at events and corporate parties, which typically give out goody bags filled with the stuff you have already or won't use, such as cheesy branded notepads and magnets, or most popularly disposable ball point pens, of which, according to the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), Americans alone throw away 1.6 billion every single year! That is a huge amount of metal and plastic sent to landfill and incineration. Many are even disposed of before they fail to work, simply because people accumulate them in the home and don't know what to do with them. If this is you, remember that there are organisations that collect pens that still work to send to schools where resources are minimal.

And what's at the top of our list?


Say goodbye to bottled and plastic cup served drinks

We hear you already; the gym addict is thinking of the rash of Gatorade, your bestie swears by Diet Coke and literally every friend and colleague you have gets the daily bubble tea fix (and have likely been raving about the soon to open third outlet of Tiger Sugar at Paragon Mall). Well guess what? We never said to give them up - just make them yourself (with electrolyte tablets, teas, fresh juices) or fill up at a station. Get yourself a reusable water bottle, one with a wide top that unscrews and no integrated straw (the less parts the easier to clean and sanitise). Instead get a wide glass straw and pop it inside for when you want a bubble tea. Plastic cups and bottles contain toxins, even if BPA free, which are released into the contents, especially when exposed to certain temperatures. By using a glass or metal bottle, you eliminate drinking something that has been sitting in plastic for a long time. Trust us, we’ve tested it and even McDonald‘s couldn’t refuse us a soda refill.

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