Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle

Life in plastic isn’t fantastic. In conjunction with Earth Day, we’ve got tips and tricks to help you level up in your sustainability game, for eco-warriors and environmental rookies alike.

We all know just how serious climate change is, especially with the seemingly endless reports of natural disasters happening all over the world, from the massive flooding across Malaysia in late December 2021, to Tonga’s underwater volcanic eruption in mid-January this year.

If this constant stream of climate-related news has motivated you to live a more sustainable lifestyle, you're not alone. A study by the Institute of Policy Studies last year found that Singaporeans have become more environmentally conscious, and a majority of those surveyed prioritised environmental conservation over economic growth.

Perhaps for many of us, the biggest barrier to living sustainably would be the perceived inconvenience it might bring, but it’s actually not as difficult as you might expect. If you’re just starting out on this journey, or are looking for new ways be more environmentally-conscious, we’ve got some simple tips and tricks for you to level up your sustainability game, complete with our honest reviews about them.

Beginner — if you’re just starting to think about sustainability

It’s not easy jumping into something new, much less something as big as sustainability, but the trick is to think about it as forming new habits. Here are some small ways you can get into the habit of using less disposable plastics:

1. Skip the plastic

We might not even realise how much plastic we use even just getting lunch from the neighbourhood coffeeshop. Saying no to plastic can be as simple as adding your chicken rice chilli directly into your takeaway pack instead of getting it in one of those tiny bags, grabbing a canned drink from the fridge so that you don't have to ask for ice (and subsequently, a straw), or using a soup spoon instead of disposable sauce trays to hold your condiments. They can hold a lot more than you think, and sit perfectly on your tray or table.

In Singapore, only 4% of all plastic waste is recycled. Soup spoons aren’t just good for drinking soup—they’re great for holding sauces too.

At home, an item that we often use in the kitchen is single-use plastic cling wrap. Beeswax wraps, as its name suggests, are wraps made with beeswax from the honeycombs of bees that have been lauded as an eco-friendly alternative. You can find them on the shelves at stores like Scoop Wholefoods, or consider learning how to make your own in our DIY Beeswax Wrap Workshop.

Level of convenience: 3/5. It’s definitely tough saying no to plastic bags when getting hot, soupy foods to go, so to level up your game, consider bringing along your own paper or tote bag!

Scoop Wholefoods — Raffles City Shopping Centre, B1-27. Open 10:30am to 9pm Sunday to Thursday, 10:30am to 10pm Friday and Saturday.

Whether or not you have kids, plastic takeaway containers make great storage options for most things, especially craft materials as they’re transparent and can be washed easily.

2. Reuse your takeaway containers

Using your own lunchbox is best when it comes to getting lunch or dinner to go, but before heading out to purchase a brand new one, take a look in your pantry first. Most of us would have built up quite the stash of plastic takeaway containers from all those food deliveries and past takeaways, so why not use those containers instead? Plus, they're most likely microwave-safe too. Alternatively, you can give these containers a new life by using them for other purposes, like crafts or storage. If you're planning to have a crafty day at home with your kids, stock up on supplies at Art Friend or Spotlight at Plaza Singapura first, and put those takeaway boxes at home to good use after.

Level of convenience: 4/5. The only real effort required here is washing the containers after a greasy meal.

Art Friend — Plaza Singapura, B1-10 and 13. Open 10:30am to 9pm daily.

Spotlight — Plaza Singapura, 05-11 to 19; Westgate, 03-34 to 37, 03-44 to 45. Both outlets open 11am to 9pm daily.

Declutter your wardrobe and make a cute new tote for your-self at the same time!

3. Turn your old t-shirts into tote bags

If you use reusable bags, chances are you own more than one of them. After all, it's so easy to justify buying more when they come in so many different shapes, sizes, and prints. But why not take things up a notch and try making some out of your old t-shirts? Sounds intimidating, but we promise it's super simple—it requires no sewing, and only takes about five minutes according to this tutorial.

Speaking of old clothes, throwing them away when they’re torn and tattered is the most convenient option, but it isn’t the most environmentally friendly choice. Whether or not you have prior sewing experience, come dabble in some simple making and mending techniques using good old hand sewing. You’ll be surprised that it’s actually sew easy! Learn some basic hand sewing stitches, fix a torn hem, or reattach missing buttons at our Repair SEWcial workshop and learn how to make your clothes last longer! If our workshop inspires you, swing by BERNINA to pick up some proper sewing supplies or sign up for one of their fun sewing workshops.

Level of convenience: 5/5. A super fun DIY activity perfect for all ages!

BERNINA — Funan, 03-K03. Open 11am to 8pm daily.

Intermediate — if you’re comfortable with the basics, and want to try other alternatives

So you’ve already checked off all of the basics, and are getting comfortable with the bare minimum? Level up by making more environmentally-friendly choices in other aspects of your daily life.

Here are some of our recommendations:

Handmade bar soaps often look like little works of art, so you’ll want a snazzy soap dish to match.
(C and R) Images courtesy of L'Occitane and Akemiuchi.

1. Switch to bar soaps and shampoos

A single bar of soap from Venus Beauty is cheaper, and can last longer than your average bottle of body or hand wash. Shampoo bars, though pricier, are typically made with natural ingredients, which are great for your hair and scalp.

Like liquid soaps and shampoos, there’s a bar for every skin and hair type out there. For instance, L’Occitane has solid shampoos for oily hair, damaged hair, and sensitive scalps. And no, they're not a breeding ground for bacteria—just rinse them before use, and leave them out to dry on a soap dish when you’re done. P.S. Akemiuchi has some really sleek ones!

Alternatively, if you want to learn how to go green in the bathroom, learn how to make your own bar soap at our Melt & Pour Soap Making Workshop! In this workshop, you can choose to use upcycled coffee grounds, or add dried chrysanthemum flowers to your soap for a light, floral scent, and use milk cartons as soap moulds!

Level of convenience: 4/5. Showers take a little longer now that we have to lather up these bars, but we’re not complaining.

Venus Beauty — Bedok Mall, B2-54 to 55; Junction 8, 02-47; Lot One, 04-07 to 08. All outlets open 10am to 10pm daily.

L’Occitane — Multiple outlets.

Akemiuchi — Plaza Singapura, 05-08 to 09. Open 11am to 10pm daily.


2. Try out reusable pads and menstrual cups

Reusable pads are often made from cotton or bamboo fibres, which are known for being super soft, breathable, and gentle on the skin. As for menstrual cups, there are many different shapes and sizes out there, so there’s bound to be one that fits you like a glove. Plus, you can wear them for just about any activity, including swimming, because they’ll stay put and provide leak-free protection.

Whether you’d like to try out cloth pads or menstrual cups, The Green Collective has everything you need to get started, from cleaning solutions to menstrual cup wipes.

Unlike disposable pads and tampons, menstrual cups and reusable pads come in a wide variety of colours. Images courtesy of The Green Collective.

Level of convenience: 2/5. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you find the perfect fit, there's no turning back (many girls swear by menstrual cups for their comfort and convenience!).

The Green Collective — Funan, 02-18. Open 12pm to 9pm daily.

Using a handkerchief sure feels nos-talgic. Image courtesy of Muji.

3. Bring hankies back

Like tissues, they’re lightweight and super easy to pop into your purse or pocket, and you really only need a couple of them because they can be washed and reused over and over again. Plus, depending on the material, they can dry pretty quickly too. (We love the simple, cotton ones from Muji!)

Level of convenience: 3/5. Sadly, we can’t chope seats with a handkerchief.

Muji — Bugis Junction, B1-10F; Plaza Singapura, 01-10 to 17; Raffles City Shopping Centre, 02-20 and 22. All outlets open 11am to 8pm daily, except Plaza Singapura, which open 11am to 9pm daily.


Advanced — if you really want to step outside of your comfort zone and commit to a sustainable lifestyle

If the tips we’ve mentioned are already longstanding habits for you, then what you need now is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and try things that require more time and effort. Here are our recommendations:

1. Grow your own edibles

If you didn’t already pick up home gardening over the pandemic, then this would be a good get into it. Of course, you might not be able to grow enough for you to swear off supermarket veggies forever, but it’s a start! Plus, tending to plants is known to be very therapeutic—sustainable for both the earth and your mind.

For starters, NTUC FairPrice is a great one-stop shop for all you need to get into home gardening—they’ve got planters of different sizes, soil, and seeds of all kinds.

Level of convenience: 3/5. Quite a bit of space and equipment is needed to start, but once you get past the initial stage of planting and potting, the process is quite the breeze.

NTUC FairPrice — Lot One, B1-03, open 7am to 11pm daily; Tampines Mall, B1-12, open 8am to 11pm daily.

Empty egg cartons make great plant-ers too!
You can technically use any container for composting, but The Green Collective’s one comes with a spout on the bottom for easy drainage. Image courtesy of The Green Collective.

2. Try composting

For the uninitiated, home composting is the process of decomposing household waste (usually food) to make compost. Compost can then be used to fertilise your plants (great if you have a home garden!). When food decomposes anaerobically in a landfill, a large amount of greenhouse gases like methane are released, whereas in a controlled environment like a compost bin from The Green Collective, food decomposes aerobically instead, releasing far less harmful gases.

In Singapore, food waste is one of our biggest waste streams, so composting what we can would really help the environment. If you’re worried about your compost smelling, you can use natural ingredients like pandan leaves and citrus fruit peels to mask any odours.

If you’d like to learn more about upcycling your food, join us in our virtual DIY Eco-Enzyme Workshop to learn how to turn orange peels into natural, multi-purpose eco-enzyme cleaners. Talk about saving the earth and money!

Level of convenience: 4/5. It’s like any other rubbish bin, just for food.

The Green Collective — Funan, 02-18. Open 12pm to 9pm daily.

3. Switch to reusable coffee machine capsules

If you can’t do without your daily cuppa, consider switching to using reusable coffee pods from Scoop Wholefoods (which is generally a zero-waste packaging store!). It might not be as convenient to use, especially when you’ve just rolled out of bed, but in the long run, you’ll definitely generate significantly less waste.

If beer is your beverage of choice, then you definitely won’t want to miss our From Bread To Beer — A Sustainable CRUST Beer Tasting Workshop. The CRUST Group is a team of food waste fighters who are driving the upcycled food movement locally by turning surplus ingredients and food waste like bread and fruit peels into artisanal beverages, including beers. In this session, the CRUST team will lead participants on a guided tasting of six different CRUST beers, and also share more about the process of sustainable brewing. As alcoholic beverages will be consumed, participants must be at least 18 years of age.

Reusable coffee pods are typically made to last with food-grade stainless steel, and come in a variety of shapes to fit any and every coffee machine out there. Image courtesy of SealPod (stocked at Scoop Wholefoods).

Level of convenience: 3/5. Gets a little messy, but what’s a little inconvenience for Mother Earth, right?

Scoop Wholefoods — Raffles City Shopping Centre, B1-27. Open 10:30am to 9pm Sunday to Thursday, 10:30am to 10pm Friday and Saturday.


With so many ways to level up your sustainability game, the best way to keep yourself accountable is to grab a friend or two and try out some of these tips together. Better yet, why not rally your colleagues and take part in the Let’s Go Eco! Challenge from 16 April to 1 May 2022, to stand a chance to win attractive prizes worth up to $5,000! The challenge is simple—participate in at least three eco activities across participating CapitaLand malls and workspace properties, and collect at least three stamps to take part in our lucky draw. The more activities you participate in, the bigger the prizes you stand to win. For more information, click here.

The Let’s Go, Eco! Challenge is an initiative under CapitaLand's sustainability festival for shoppers and workspace tenants, Let’s Get Down To Earth, which runs from 16 March to 1 May 2022. From eco challenges to upcycling workshops, Let’s Get Down to Earth welcomes the community to embrace a sustainable lifestyle, adopt green habits, and do our part to make a positive impact on our environment.

For more information on Let’s Get Down To Earth, click here.

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