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Green Is The New Black

ICYMI: Journeying to Zero Waste Singapore – the Realities of Living a Plastic Free Life

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Couldn’t attend our film screening and panel discussion on living a zero waste life? Fret not! Here’s what you missed.

Straits Clan was abuzz with fiery ideas and the burning passion of our four panelists last Wednesday night, when Florence Tay (of Unpackt), Michael Broadhead (of EarthLife & EarthFest), Robin Rheume (of Journey to Zero Waste Singapore) and Vivian Liew (of Philanthropy Works) took the stage to help us uncover the realities of living a zero waste life and going plastic free.


The screening of Plastic Paradise- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch gave us a whole lot to think about. Most notably, we became enlightened to the effects of BPA plastic: Did you know that it can be absorbed into your skin through simple, everyday actions such as holding onto a receipt?


Florence was visibly moved and further determined to increase her environmentalism efforts after watching the film. She shared how most consumers of media these days are affected by “slacktivism”, and addressed the gap between online social media campaigns and real-world change. She believes that

“Understanding the waste management system in Singapore will make the biggest difference”.

Michael, on the other hand, was more affected by the film’s emphasis on the contents of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Did you know that 46% of the patch is made of fishing nets alone? This further deepened Michael’s belief that in order to exact change in the world of sustainability, it is and “will be more effective to pass on seafood than to pass on straws”. He also argued that reducing our use of plastics and essentially everything consumable would be much more efficient and that

“Recycling should always be the last resort”.

Robin expressed her concern over the recent #beatplasticpollution campaign and shared that she did not think it had made much of an impact. She believes that people have jumped on the #endplasticstraws bandwagon simply because

“It’s the easiest thing in our control- it’s symbolic, and means people care”.

She also expressed the hope that people would go further with their efforts to become more environmentally conscious and wished for more transparency in Singapore’s recycling processes.

Last but not least, Vivian presented the case that as citizens, we need to make our voices heard and our views be known to the government, in order to successfully implement change. She firmly believes that

“The only way forward is to cut plastic at the source”.

Here are some #littlegreensteps that our speakers recommend you take to start living a greener life today:

  1. Buy quality, and buy less.
  2. Take the Zero Waste Challenge and share it with others.
  3. Choose more plant-based whole foods as often as you can – the production chains produce far
    less waste than most animal foods.
  4. Advocate for change by volunteering your time, donating your money, or changing operations in
    your workplace.
  5. Go round your house and keep only two bins in the kitchen. 1 for waste, 1 for recyclable
  6. Relook at what single-use items you use daily in your life, note them down and then look for more sustainable, reusable alternatives.
  7. Spread the love by sharing the information you have gained.
  8. Refuse all styrofoam.
  9. Take reusable bags with you when you go grocery shopping.
  10. Bring your recycling to a Tzu Chi recycling day.
  11. Organise a plogging event with friends.


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A little sparrow who is convinced that every tiny step you take is capable of creating a big, massive change. She's "Teacher Mini" to those who know her best and simply crazy to everyone else; Her life goals include planting an oak tree and driving a cement truck, and she hopes that one day, people will believe her when she says that you can see stars hanging out in Singapore's skies.