With Singapore deepening efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, there has never been a better time for us to develop green and sustainable shopping habits.

Here are some tips to help you shop more sustainably:

1. Do something drastic, cut the plastic

 

Producing plastic bags drains our planet’s oil supplies and they also take many years to decompose. When they do, toxic substances are released into the soil. Even worse, when plastic bags are burned, they release a toxic substance into the air causing ambient air pollution.

There are many ways to reduce plastic waste when it comes to shopping:

 

  • Bring your own bag (BYOB). This helps reduce plastic pollution and saves nonrenewable resources. There are also many other benefits – for instance, cloth totes are a lot sturdier than plastic bags.
  • Buy things in bulk, where possible. This ensures that packaging waste is kept to a minimum. Supermarkets often stock different-sized options for laundry detergents, soaps, cereals and other items. When you buy these items in bulk, they can be repackaged using recycled containers and used one portion at a time. Since buying in bulk lasts longer, this has the added benefit of not having to go to the grocery store as often, saving on your commute!

 

2. Choose well, buy less

 

Do we really use everything we buy? Buying more than needed can increase waste costs, use more precious resources and worsen climate change.

There are a few simple steps you could take to mitigate this problem:

 

  • Make a list of all the items you need before you go shopping. By sticking to your list, you would be buying only what you need and will not be wasting or throwing out unused items.
  • Plan your meals. Don’t overbuy ingredients, only to see them go to waste when you are unable to use them, or when they go past their expiry dates
  • Borrow or swap. Feel like you need a wardrobe refresh? Consider borrowing or swapping with your friends or siblings – it could be a fun activity and will be easy on your wallet and the environment. 


3. Next stop, thrift shop

 

Thrift shopping allows buyers to get more value for their money by reusing pre-loved items,

 

  • Shop from thrift stores. This not only helps to save the environment; it also helps to save money. “Thrift” for items like clothes, furniture or electrical appliances at second-hand stores – you can usually score a good bargain!

 

Visit the links below for places to donate or buy second-hand items:

 

  • Repurposing your old clothing. This works especially well for clothes that have sentimental value – such as a baby’s first outfit, or a dress you wore on your 21st birthday. Instead of throwing them away, get creative with a DIY project and turn your old clothes into pillow cases, floor mats and blankets. It helps you stay connected to clothes that hold memories you have made while wearing them.


Any of these tips can get you started on building sustainable shopping habits. There are plenty of other ways you can be a conscious consumer too.

 

Click here to learn more about the Singapore Green Plan 2030 which aims to advance Singapore’s national agenda on sustainable development.