It is undeniable that due to pollution, our Earth is dying at an exponential rate. We often assume that this is due to big corporations that continue to trawl the Earth’s finite resources when there’s nothing left to trawl. But a significant contributor to the environmental problems we face now is our everyday decisions as a consumer—we play a vital role in climate change as well.
With an increased consciousness for the environment, companies are creating products to encourage us to live more sustainably. Revolutionary products include the metal straw, freedom cup and, 100% compostable dog waste bags. Although on the surface these products may seem perfect, like all of us, they are not.
Hygiene issues come to mind with these products. You can’t merely rinse the straw after use, while for the freedom cup, you have to sterilise it before use. Dog waste bags are not thick enough for comfort—reviews suggest that it feels like you’re touching the faeces itself.
Nothing is perfect, and neither are these eight products. But they sure do make a significant contribution in lessening waste and occupying landfill space.
In the long-run, switching to sustainable alternatives will help you save money on having to repurchase disposable products. In this piece, I’ll examine eight industry disruptors and weigh their pros, cons and helpful solutions on how you can save the mess that is climate change in small but impactful ways.
As the name suggests, FinalStraw is meant to be the last straw you’ll ever need. What makes FinalStraw different from other reusable straws is that it not only gives you a solution for consuming liquids but also comes with a case and a straw cleaner for ease in storage and cleaning. The FinalStraw is made out of rust-proof stainless steel and platinum-grade silicone, ensuring that the product will last a long time.
Pros: Apart from the case and straw cleaner, FinalStraw comes with a keychain attachment to make sure you’ll never forget to bring your straw out. A detachable drying rack lies inside the case, allowing you to air the straw after cleaning it properly.
Cons: Due to Singapore’s humid weather, the crevices of the straw tend to take an obscene amount of time to dry properly. This is an issue as if the straw isn’t dried correctly as an odour will fester and might cause mould to grow.
Solution: Leave the straw to dry thoroughly in an arid environment like an air-conditioned room, and it should dry in no time.
Stasher is a food storage industry disrupter—an environmentally safe, reusable, resealable, 100% silicone bag. Think ziplock bag but of a higher quality and more longer-lasting. Stasher offers its bags in five different sizes, be it for marinating meats or keeping your valuables dry at the beach—there’s a size for everything.
Pros: You can freeze, cook and store with Stasher bags. Imagine the number of disposable bags you’ll be able to replace with this one bag. You’ll finally be able to measure your environmental impact tangibly.
Cons: If the exterior is exposed to oily substances, the Stasher tends to absorb the oil and would feel very greasy to the touch, making it slightly unsanitary.
Solution: Wipe down the exterior with a wet tissue or wash it with a bit more rigour. As this product is waterproof, the contents inside the bag should not be affected by the soap and water when cleaning the exterior.
When we peruse sustainability, a cotton swab is the last thing we consider frivolous. But unknown to many, cotton swabs are a tremendous source of ocean pollution, especially since it’s largely a one-time use and throw away product. Enter LastSwab. A long-lasting, reusable swab made from thermoplastic elastomers which is a combination of plastic and rubber.
According to the company, you’ll be saving up to 1000 single-use cotton swabs with the use of their range of products. The objective of LastSwab is to reduce the use of single-use objects which would thus lead to less waste harming the environment.
Pros: No need to be afraid of losing such a small item as the LastSwab comes in a convenient carrying case. Even better, the LastSwab comes in two product types—Basic and Beauty, to cater to both your ear cleaning and make-up needs.
Cons: While the beauty of the LastSwab is that it can be washed and reused, this product is not sanitary in a medical setting where a cotton swab is used to apply medications to open wounds or when cleaning blood from a specific area.
Solution: Employ the use of LastSwab strictly for everyday cleaning and make-up related uses.
Bamboo toothbrushes are quickly becoming a staple in many households, not only because they’re naturally antimicrobial, but also because of their eco-friendliness and biodegradability. While a plastic toothbrush sits in a landfill, the best bamboo toothbrushes naturally decompose after it’s been disposed of. Bamboo is also a fast-growing and fuss-free plant that does not require pesticides or fertilisers for cultivation.
Pros: If you have been using traditional toothbrushes (as opposed to an electric one), it won’t be too much of a hassle to switch from plastic to bamboo. It’s also rather affordable and not that far off in price from a regular toothbrush.
Cons: Even though bamboo is the more environmentally friendly option, the bristles of the bamboo toothbrush are still made of nylon. Nylon is an exceptionally strong form of plastic and given the chemical structure of this material, it will take 30 to 40 years to decompose.
Solution: Using bamboo toothbrushes is the lesser of two evils. Compared to a whole plastic toothbrush, you will definitely be cutting down on plastic waste with bamboo.
Composting is the process of turning organic waste into compost, which can then be used as fertiliser for plants. There are many different types of composting bins that range from industrial-sized ones to home compost bins. With the right tools, now, everyone can compost. Seed & Sprout’s compost bin is made out of stainless steel, making it easy to clean and reuse which comes in handy when you’re trying to cultivate composting as a habit.
Pros: If you’re one to be driven by aesthetics, the sleek design of this product will definitely motivate you to use it with its matte off-white finishing and stylish silver hardware. The in-built, reusable charcoal filter eradicates the very prominent issue of lingering odour when composting. You are, after all, waiting for organic matter to decompose.
Cons: You might feel lazy to sort your waste and determine what is compostable.
Solution: Dedicate a specific day of the week to do your composting. In the meantime, you can freeze your organic food waste by putting it in the freezer.
Reusable produce bags are meant to replace the single-use plastic bags given out liberally at supermarkets. Onya Produce Bags are made out of recycled plastic bottles, so you’ll feel good knowing that you’re recycling and reducing your plastic waste at the same time.
Pros: These bags are lightweight yet durable and can hold up to two kilograms of produce. The mesh bags also allow your fruits to breath while refrigerated, which extends the shelf life of your purchase.
Cons: You might lose a bag if you accidentally misplace them. When you lose a bag and buy a new one, you’re inevitably caught in an endless cycle of waste. It defeats the whole point of this exercise then, doesn’t it?
Solution: Make it a habit to store your bags back into the holder pouch after use to ensure that all your bags are always accounted for.
Founded in 2012 by Sarah Kaeck, Bee’s Wrap is the sustainable alternative to disposable plastic cling wrap. Made with a combination of organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, these wraps are reusable, washable, and compostable.
Pros: There are a plethora of uses for Bee’s Wrap. It comes in different sizes, so you can use these wraps to pack anything from small produce like berries or a loaf of bread to increase its shelf life.
Cons: Due to the nature of beeswax, the Wrap is sticky to the touch. The stiffness of the Wrap may also take some time to get used to.
Solution: Over time, using plastic cling wrap will be a thing of the past. This is simply a matter of giving yourself time to get used to sustainable alternative products for the betterment of the Earth.
WithRitty’s reusable cosmetic pads are meant to replace disposable cotton rounds and are made out of a 100% bamboo fibre. Don’t worry, these cotton pads have better integrity than disposable ones that tend to disintegrate after trying to get that waterproof mascara off.
Pros: Be kind to your face and be assured softness from these pads. And of course, for everyday make-up wearers, you’ll be able to lessen the daily use of disposable cotton rounds, contributing less waste to landfills.
Cons: If you don’t do laundry daily, there’s a high chance you might run out of these reusable pads fast.
Solution: These washable pads are an investment; they can be used for an infinite amount of time and they’re relatively sanitary, given bamboo’s antibacterial properties. I suggest you buy these pads in bulk to curb the possibility of running out halfway through the week.
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