5 Small Eco-friendly Things to Buy to Help You Save Money and the Environment

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Most people think that saving the Earth is a lot of hard work. In a country where convenience is a part of our culture, many of us may find it hard to make changes to look after the planet. If you’re not one to feel an intrinsic motivation to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle, then here’s another motivation for you: it can cost less to be an eco-warrior. Check out these five items you can invest in to do good for your wallet, and for the planet.

1. Reusable food container

Source: Ikea

Most food vendors charge an extra 20c for the takeaway container which you throw away at the end of a meal. Assuming you have fives takeaway lunches and five dinners a week, that’s S$2 spent on containers, 10 non-biodegradable containers in the bin, and subsequently in the ground.

Even if you didn’t tabao that frequently, you can see how quickly the numbers add up. A reusable container can cost between S$6.50 and S$20 depending on the brand, capacity and design that you go for. You’ll save so much in the long run even if you also purchased a thermal flask (we found the Efterfragad, a 500ml one for S$14.90 from Ikea) for hot soups and gravy-based dishes.

2) Bamboo toothbrush

People at The Environmental Toothbrush found that just in Australia alone, more than 30 million toothbrushes are used and thrown away each year. Can you imagine the number of plastic toothbrushes in landfills all over the world?

Switch to using bamboo toothbrushes. Bamboo is like a grass – it continues growing even when you cut a part of it off, which makes it a sustainable source. You can purchase a box of 12 toothbrushes for S$48 (from Neishaus.com.sg), which works out to S$4 for one. This is half the price of a fancy Oral B toothbrush, and cleans just as well (as our writer can attest!). While you should change your toothbrush every three months, the company has tested their toothbrush for over eight months with no issues.

3) Stainless steel straws

Alright, so, although you’re never actually paying for straws, we’re making an exception for this one because, according to Ecocycle.org, over 500 million straws are used in just the U.S. every day. That’s 1 billion in two days, 1.5 in three… You get the picture.

Start making it a habit to tell the server in a restaurant or the drinks auntie in a coffeeshop, “I won’t need a straw, thank you.” If you must drink out of a straw, invest in a set of 4 stainless steel straws and a brush cleaner that you can get for S$5.90 from Lazada.sg. They’re easy to carry around and clean, and hopefully we’ll never have to watch another video of scientists pulling a straw out of a turtle’s bloody nose.

4) Bamboo toilet paper

You’ve already heard the spiel on using bamboo – so make the switch with your toilet paper too! Contrary to popular belief, bamboo toilet paper is not more expensive than regular toilet paper from popular brands.

There are three brands of bamboo toilet paper and tissue products in the Singapore market right now, the lowest priced one is Dr Blanc Anti-bacterial Bamboo 3-ply Toilet Paper, available at S$6.45 for 10 rolls at Redmart.com. Their toilet paper is septic-safe, hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial and chlorine-free (chlorine is used to bleach toilet paper). If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, the highly raved about CloverSoft 3 Ply 100% Bamboo Virgin Pulp Toilet Tissue, is available for S$7.25 at Redmart.com too.

Plus, a portion of the company’s proceeds goes towards saving polar bears. What a win-win!

5) Natural sponge cloths

It’s time to ditch the paper towels and switch to these things. If You Care’s natural sponge cloths are made from cellulose, non-GMO unbleached cotton and a natural mineral salt called metabolite.

These nifty wipers are super absorbent (holding 20 times its own weight in water), clean streak-free, are tear and abrasion resistant, and are easy to wring out. They can be machine-washed and are compostable as well. We’ll stop the raving here.

Each sheet can replace up to 15 paper towel rolls, and at S$8.95 for five sheets (from Redmart.com), it’s a no-brainer to make this change.

Shopping tip: While saving the environment, remember to arm yourself with the HSBC Revolution card to give yourself 5x Rewards points on online transactions. Other great cards for online shopping are the DBS Woman’s World Card and UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card.

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