The recent spell of haze which shrouded Singapore demonstrated that Singaporeans are not exempt from man-made pollution.
As we know, pollution knows no political boundaries and with the onset of climate change, it becomes imperative for us to do our part by reducing our carbon footprint.
Even if one is indifferent to the environment, there are pragmatic reasons for us to go green as it would help us save money.
Not convinced? Here are three ways one gets to save money by going green by practising the 3Rs.
First R: Reducing
The first ‘R’ of going green is reducing.
In our daily lives, one cannot escape paying utility bills for water and electricity. A typical Singaporean household would spend about $150 per month on utility bills.
Simply by reducing the use of water and electricity, one can lower our utility bills as well as to reduce our carbon footprint.
Here is how one can go about doing that:
- Take showers instead of bath;
- Switch off electrical appliances at their source when not in use as leaving the plugged in with the electrical mains on would still result in electricity wastage;
- Switch off lights when the room is not required to be lighted up. While this is obvious, what I observe in when I visit my friends and relatives is that the lights in the bedroom will simply be left on even if they have left the room.
- Consider using the fan instead of the air-conditioner when the weather is not too hot. If the air-conditioner is really required, set the temperature to 25 degree Celsius.
Second R: Recycling
Unfortunately, Singapore’s recycling culture has a long way to go before we can be on par with our Japanese and Taiwanese counterparts.
With our landfill at Pulau Semakau running out of space in 2035, recycling is the only waste management solution for recyclables. Admittedly, our recycling infrastructure is not adequate as compared to Japan and Taiwan.
Nonetheless, here are the monetary benefits when one recycles.
In many housing estates, there are weekly initiatives by recycling companies to collect recyclables such as newspapers, bottles and aluminium drink cans. An average household which sorts the recyclables could easily sell them for $2. It is not a huge sum but this could be delegated to school children to inculcate the green mentality and serves as an opportunity for them to earn some pocket money.
Additionally, one can sell usable but unwanted stuff to second hand shops instead of just throwing them away when clearing clutter.
Third R: Reusing
We live in a culture of excesses and many of our things are only used once, only to be thrown away thereafter. This waste will be incinerated and contribute to carbon emissions.
Before throwing things away, one could re-look their usefulness in other areas. Additionally, instead of purchasing new items, consider whether hand-me downs would suffice.
Some practical and cost-saving applications in our daily lives include:
- Consider used items instead of brand new ones especially if the usage life is short. As an example, my wife sources for used safety gates, toys and educational tools online for my baby. The second hand items which she buys are in decent condition but are less than half price compared to brand new ones.
- Turning used glass bottles into storage containers instead of buying them new.
- Buying a quality water bottle and reuse it many times instead of buying bottled water.
In conclusion, it is imperative for each and every one of us to exercise individual social responsibility when it comes to the environment.
In the process of doing so, one stands to benefit by saving money. Hence, let’s adopt a green lifestyle for a cleaner and greener world.