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How to be sustainable during the Covid-19 pandemic?

In view of the COVID-19 circuit breaker measures, Singaporeans are encouraged to stay at home and only head out for essential services. As the majority of us are telecommuting and non-essential industries closed temporarily, we will be spending more time at home. This also means more online shopping and food deliveries! You’ve probably read the news that the demand for disposable food containers soared or our domestic and trade premises generated 73,000 tonnes of waste in April 2020 (that’s the est. weight of 12,000 elephants!), 11% more than in March! So, if you have been diligently keeping and reusing your bubble wraps and disposable food containers or opting out of disposable cutlery, well done!

But truth to be told, it can be difficult to reduce our waste especially during this critical period, where safety and hygiene are of utmost importance. Demand for products such as disposable wipes, hand sanitisers, and masks is at a record high. Unfortunately, they’re also being thrown out in huge volumes (eg. In hospitals). Even though these add on to our waste, it is unavoidable as they are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Photo from Frost & Sullivan

Which is why we have to put in more effort to reduce, reuse and recycle (whenever possible)!

Here are some tips from us which you can practise on a daily basis (which can also be done post COVID-19):

  • Bring your own clean & dry container(s) when you takeaway your food or drinks! Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing also encourages Singaporeans to use their own clean container(s) to help reduce the amount of packaging used and be more environmentally sustainable. Imagine the amount of packaging you'll save just by bringing your own reusable container(s)!

  • As mentioned earlier, you can also keep the bubble wrap from your parcels and return them to sellers (eg. Oasis Skin does this too!) or reuse them for your own future deliveries.

  • For food deliveries, refusing disposable cutlery and napkins and reusing your disposable containers is also another way to reduce waste. For example, you can upcycle your disposable containers together with your children (plenty of ideas of Pinterest); it will be a fun activity and great opportunity to teach your children about waste!

  • Many people tend to dispose of items they no longer need when cleaning up their home. Instead of throwing them away, give these products a second chance by recycling them (items must be clean and dry!) or donating them (please ensure that your items are of good condition before donating them).

  • Bring your own bag when out for grocery shopping or look for grocery suppliers offering more sustainable delivery packaging (eg. The Bare Essentials)

We understand that it can be difficult to live sustainably during this pandemic however, we should help to reduce waste in every way possible! Remember, every effort counts! 👍

Fact of the week: During the first two weeks of circuit breaker, the average levels of air pollutants in Singapore fell! According to NEA, air pollutants such as PM10, PM2.5, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulphur Dioxide decreased (as compared to 2019), resulting in better air quality and even meeting WHO’s air quality guidelines. This shows that we can reduce air pollution quickly if we reduce the burning of fossil fuels in a sustained and sustainable way!

Disclaimer: While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog post has been obtained from reliable sources, CREUSE is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Please take all steps necessary to ascertain that the information you receive from CREUSE is correct and has been verified. Do check the references by clicking on the hyperlinks provided and double-check all information with independent sources. Please remember that anyone can share their views and advice on CREUSE.

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