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Mr. Nick Alchin

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What is Sustainability to Us?

by Winnie Wu, Gwenda Gu, Pranav Harish

Food Consumption and Packaging

Buy ORGANIC products from grocery stores!

The rise of pesticides is the main problem of purchasing non-organic foods. Surface water runs off from non organic farms that have been using pesticides, and this water then finds its way into streams and lakes, polluting our water supplies. The quality of the soil is at risk at well, minimising the life span and prosperity of future crops. Sustainable methods of agriculture are found to use 23% to 56% less fossil fuel energy than modern farming methods. 

Here is a link to a list of affordable organic grocery stores in Singapore. There are also lots of organic products at Fairprice, which might be easier and more convenient for your helper to purchase in daily lives. Fairprice has introduced its own organic brand called Pasar Organic in 2008, which has varieties of Asian vegetables that are suitable for your family’s diet. In addition, Fairprice Finest has a Just Organic section which carries over 800 organic products, so it could be a good place to buy groceries if there is one near your neighbourhood. Below is a list of prices of organic food in the most common supermarkets in Singapore, and the prices are not as incredibly high as most of the people think, so you could take this into consideration.

In terms of food packaging, there are locations and organisations in the country that do sell unpackaged, organically grown and locally produced food; for example, Avo & Co. does delivery of organic groceries right to your doorstep. 

Another solution would be to visit waste free outlets in Singapore. Here is a list of shops and stores in the country that pride themselves on using absolutely zero waste in the selling of their products. 

Alternatively, buying foods at any one of the numerous wet markets in the country is a much more sustainable solution. Provided below is a list of all the best wet markets here in Singapore, as well as a map of wet markets in the southeast. 

In terms of food waste, there is an organisation in Singapore known as TRIA packaging that has put in place a program called bio24, which is biodegradable foodware; they aim to create food waste as well as foodware into fertiliser in a matter of 24 hours. In their words, it is “a food waste recycling programme for the fast-paced city”. Here is a link for more information on that, and here is another link for information on Singapore’s waste statistics.

Problems of food waste in Singapore:

  • the carbon footprint of the amount of food produced that is not eaten is estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases
  • uneaten, produced food occupies almost 30% of the world’s agricultural area
  • when the food is disposed of in a landfill, it rots and expels methane into the atmosphere, a gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide

 

Here are of some of the clientele of this organization, if you plan on eating out these are some of the restaurants that do use this biodegradable food ware. Our school and Sodexo do already use this product, which you can find more information about on the PDF linked up below. Hopefully this system can also be implemented in your household, when eating meat where the food waste can be thrown away with the food ware as well. 

Travel Tips

In this website, there is a list of airlines ranked  according to the sustainable policy of aviation. Due to you travelling to Europe often, we would suggest booking Lufthansa Airways. It ranks 4/4 in terms of the four pillars of sustainable aviation; they use LSG Sky Chef’s environmental management system for recycling waste, have invested 6.6 million euros into integrating biofuels for aircrafts, has cultivated a partnership with myClimate organization to create a carbon offsetting option and has a 1 billion euro investment in a fleet of low emission aircrafts, which reduces average CO2 emissions by 50%. 

Planes, like cars and other automobiles do rely on the combustion of the fossil fuels to power themselves. There are numerous CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere because of this, thus further contributing to the greenhouse effect and the progressive warming of the Earth; heat is blocked from escaping the atmosphere and temperatures begin to rise. The thrust power required to push an airplane into the sky is immense, thus resulting in tonnes of fuel being used to do so. A research study done at the University of Sydney shows that about “8 percent of global greenhouse emissions are from travelling”. 

Since you travel to England quite often, we have provided a graph of the airlines and organisations that work with the Aviation UK, dedicated to making flying more sustainable in the region. British Airways is a major part of this operation, and it can be seen that as the number of people flying has increased over the years, the levels of CO2 emissions have either gone down or have been maintained at roughly the same level.

Another way you can contribute in our school community is the Ladakh GC’s offsetting program. Here is a Trees for Travellers Calculator, where you can calculate the amount you need to donate to plant the number of trees that will need to be planted and maintained in order to offset your carbon emissions through your flight time. For example, a two way trip to London will result in 11 trees needing to be planted. The price per tree is $5. Here is more information about where you can donate the money to, and some context by Mr. Nathan Hunt, Director of Sustainability at our school. 

You also can pay attention to green tags while you are traveling that to contribute the clean power. It can pause you from expanding your carbon footprint.

Here is the website of list for self-drive road trip within South East Asia. We will suggest you to go to Malaysia because it is the closest country within the list. Moreover, Malaysia has the enormous land which there are lots of places you can visit. According to the website, self-drive from Kuala Lumpur to the East Coast could be a good choice because you will meet the Genting Highlands with lots of fun facilities and beaches.

Public Transportations

As can be seen above, the private car sector of transportation in Singapore contributes to 35% of total land transport carbon emissions.

Problems of private car transport in Singapore:

  • According to the NCSS, private cars contribute to 35% of the total emissions of transport vehicles in Singapore
  • The average car emits about six tons of carbon dioxide per year
  • Nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide are expelled into the air, which speed up the greenhouse effect

Since you mentioned in the interview that you live in Seletar Hill, below is a map showing all the bus stops in that area. When planning your trips, you could take a look at the map and choose to go with bus if possible, because it is comparatively more eco-friendly and cost-effective. Here’s the link to the map if you want to check which buses are available at each bus stop.

If you prefer more as taking car as the main transport, then we will suggest, as a long term plan, for you to change car into electric type or fuel-efficient used.

Here is the website for top eight of most sustainable cars in the market. They are in fuel-efficient used and they are able to make you travel further by using the fewer gas produce and less emissions.

Here is the website for list of sustainable eco-friendly electric car. However, in Singapore there is no Tesla- not like other country government that encourage much people by buying electric cars in order to save more money. Here is the website details of why electric cars are not popular in Singapore. There is an organization in Singapore known as Blue SG, which allows you to rent and charge an electric car from one of its many stations that are located all over the island. Here is a link for more information on that. 

Despite electric car does not receive much support by Singapore government, but it is still a valuable choice for the environment. Moreover, we will suggest if you are thinking to change your car in to fuel-efficient type. Here is the list will provides some good example of sustainable cars that they are now available in the market.

Laundry

Doing the laundry has a huge impact on the planet, creating massive carbon footprint. Between 75 and 80 percent of our clothing’s lifecycle impact comes from washing and drying, according to reports by Proctor (pdf) and Marks & Spencer, because it takes so much energy to heat the wash water and run the dry cycle. So there’s huge potential to reduce your personal energy and water use, and therefore your ecological footprint, by simply greening your laundry habits.

Here is the website of the benefit to use the ENERGY STAR qualified energy efficient clothes washer. It use 25 percent less energy and 33 percent less water to compare with other washing machine. But it is not all about save pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, it also helps to save money. Use the washer with IMEF(Integrated Modified Energy Factor) and IWF(Integrated water factor) that will also help with the energy efficiency. Here is the website give the more specific information of these two factors.

We also encourage you to line-dry the clothes as dryers use so much energy. In a tropical country like Singapore, the hot weather and sufficient sunshine can easily make your clothes dry and clean. Moreover, clothes last longer when you line-dry because there’s less wear and tear than when you use the dryer.

We do remember you saying that your helper tends to wash clothes in the machine, even if the load may not be full. We think that by advising her to only use the machine for a full load, since you do not have a problem with a reusing a shirt the next day, there will be a lot of benefit in terms of water wastage and electricity/power usage. You will be getting the most out of your appliance if you are able to wash as many clothes as is possible at one time. 

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Pranav Harish

Pranav Harish

Co - Founder, sUStainABLE

Li Wen (Winnie) Wu

Li Wen (Winnie) Wu

Co - Founder, sUStainABLE

Gwenda Gu

Gwenda Gu

Co - Founder, sUStainABLE