image by Fabio Ricco

I have always tried to be as environmentally conscious around the home as possible. I think my mother has had a huge influence on me in this respect. Way back in the 70s when it wasn't in vogue to be eco-friendly I can remember my mother hooking rubber bands from parcels around a kitchen cabinet knob to be re-used, smoothing out paper bags to be used again and storing plastic bags for later use.

But there were no recycle bins back then and I can remember my father burning off waste in the incinerator down the end of the garden, causing billowing smoke to envelope the sky. Thankfully that practice was outlawed in Sydney and there is a lot more awareness now.

I learnt from my mother not to waste food ('think of all those all those starving Africans', she would say) and to be aware of my surroundings and to tread lightly on the earth. But do I do enough? Here are the small things I consciously do everyday to lessen my impact on the earth. Most of it is common sense and you probably do these things too without thinking.

  • Only put on the washing machine when there is a full load (cold cycle).
  • Dry the clothes outside rather than using the dryer unless it is raining non-stop and the clothes are getting that musty smell.
  • Squash all tetra packs (milk, juice) before putting in recycle bin to reduce volume.
  • Always take my own bags when grocery shopping (I am still amazed at how many people STILL don't do this in Singapore).
  • Turn lights off when not needed.
  • Use the AC only for a couple of hours a day.
  • Have short showers.
  • Don't leave tap running when washing up or brushing teeth.
  • Try to pass on children's clothes or sell in garage sale.
  • Buy second-hand when possible (not so practical here in Singapore).
  • Use public transport whenever possible (but too hot to cycle in Singapore).
  • I wash and reuse the zip-lock bags for the kids' lunches.
  • Buy toilet paper made from 100% pulp (they don't sell recycled toilet paper in my supermarket).
  • Use the back of old envelopes for shopping lists instead of using fresh paper.
  • Buy refills for liquid soaps and detergent.
  • Don't but the newspaper everyday- read it online.

Are there other thing you do around the house that would help me be more environmentally friendly? Any tips, especially for the kids' lunches, as I hate packing their sandwiches in plastic?

One thing I must rectify is my reliance on tissues- a hanky works just as well! I should also use a more natural cleaning product than Jiff and Mr Muscle, or make my own with essential oils. Perhaps that will be my next project!


Unknown said... @ September 26, 2009 at 6:19 PM

Really like your site.. was trying to find places to take my kid..
on the eco-friendly front - we give my son printouts with one side blank to make his drawings, instead of plastic use a tiffin box to pack his lunch, use a magnetic white board stuck on the fridge to make our shopping lists, use fans as much as we can with a fan in every room, walk to nearby places as much as possible and encourage my 2.5 year old as well, reuse old torn clothes to make rags for cleaning. All small things add up I think..
Thanks for the info! :)

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