Take An Eco-Friendly Cue From... A Funeral Parlour And Swimwear?
We don't need Sir David Attenborough to tell us that "the future of humanity and indeed all life on earth depends on us". It's quite obvious these days that, as the naturalist extraordinaire has also soberingly proclaimed, "time is running out".
On 5 Jun, we celebrate World Environment Day. It started in 1972 from a hope for worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. The slogan for World Environment Day is "Only One Earth", because, well, we do literally only have one Earth - but we don't have to delegate our green efforts to just that single day.
To help us on our journey to healing the world and stopping the ravages of humankind on our beautiful planet, here are some cool eco-initiatives that are already doing their part - and maybe they'll inspire you to start doing yours on a daily basis.
Not that we want to start off on a morbid note, but this is quite amazing: If you die-die want to help the Earth even after you’ve passed on, then this is the spot to be. ECOffins offers eco-friendly coffins that burn in just 2 minutes. In contrast, a typical wooden coffin takes 15 to 30 minutes before the fire burns through the wood and cremates the body. You can also consider Ang Chin Moh Funeral Directors as they provide “green funerals” where everything - from the set-up to the casket and urn - is environmentally-friendly.
At UglyGood, fruit waste is harvested and a process called “waste valorisation” is used to transform it into valuable resources. Cheem hor but tl;dr, they process and extract the components from fruit pulps and peels to make products such as natural cleaning solutions, live feedstock, and orange essential oils.
According to their website, Singapore generates huge amounts of organic waste every year, yet only 16% of our food waste is recycled. This waste is currently disposed of mainly by incineration, generating huge amounts of CO2 and creating numerous landfills.
To date, UglyGood has recycled 40,000kg of waste, avoided 20,000kg of CO2 emissions and helped 6 companies to upcycle.
And as a social enterprise, they also reinvest a majority of their profits in order to forward their mission of waste valorisation and environmental sustainability.
Toni Chan, founder and CEO of August Society makes great looking, comfortable, sustainable swimwear for the whole family. Their pieces are from recycled fabric made from waste plastic, such as PET bottles and recovered ghost-fishing nets. ("Ghost fishing" is a term to describe derelict fishing gear that continues to trap marine life, entangling and potentially killing them in the process.)
Featuring mix-and-match cuts and prints to enable individual expression and a perfect fit, they are also designed with functional sun protection (UPF 50+). The kids collection is unisex (where possible), ensuring they’ll still look great when handed down from brother to sister to friend.
How it works: the premium material used is long-lasting, Italian-made fabric containing XtraLife Lycra that helps retain its shape. It is ultra-chlorine resistant, and sun cream- and oil-resistant. Best part: it will last for years – so your swimsuit will stay out of the landfill for longer.
It Takes Balls
Founded in 2015 by Adeline Loo, It Takes Balls is a knitting business that offers ready-to-wear apparel, knitting workshops and supplies, and DIY kits for environmentally-conscious knitting enthusiasts.
According to their website, the name of the brand simply suggests having the courage to reject mass consumerism. When you DIY, they hope it 1) reminds you to be aware of where products come from, and the effect of their production on the environment; and 2) challenges you and stretches your creativity.
All the materials that It Takes Balls uses and the brand's stocks are also carefully sourced. This includes discarded cut-off fabric from fashion textile factories that would otherwise be delivered to incinerators and landfills.
Thryft was started by students from the National University of Singapore and is a second-hand online bookstore where you can trade in old books for credits to purchase other books on its marketplace.
There is a wide range of books in the store and you can find textbooks, local literature, and also graphic novels. Prices are cheaper because the books are used, so don't expect them to be in pristine condition.
When you choose Thryft, you are supporting meaningful social and environmental causes. Every book that you trade-in or donate is important – even when they don’t make the cut for their webstore. If books do not pass their quality checks, they donate them to non-profit organisations or recycle them responsibly with their recycling partner.
Other than donating 10% of profits from Thryft Singapore’s books to charities, they actively work with non-profit organisations through their "Books For Charity" and "Partners For Change" programmes.
Your Sustainable Store
Your Sustainable Store is a Singapore-based online store founded by Dawn Chen in 2018 that stocks a wide range of curated, stylish and affordable sustainable products. Think: reusable bamboo coffee cups, super useful beeswax wraps, plastic-free silicone storage bags, bamboo toothbrushes and other practical eco-friendly items.
The store hopes that the aesthetically pleasing collection will inspire more to pick up a sustainable lifestyle. They also give back to the community by working with volunteer groups such as Willing Hearts, and donating part of their profits back to charitable organisations.