Sustainable Packing Tips to Kickstart your Next Vacation

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Sustainable Packing Tips to Kickstart your Next Vacation

We might have just celebrated the Lunar New Year, but Singaporeans are already looking forward to the next long weekend (psst, the next one is Good Friday).

With 6 more long weekends to go till the end of 2020, it is the perfect chance to take advantage of it and take that short trip you have been dreaming of. The following packing tips may come in handy to ensure that you stay on top of your packing game, while practicing sustainable living habits.

Roll instead of fold

When packing your suitcase, the goal is to maximise the space within your luggage as much as possible. By rolling your clothes instead of folding them, you will not only free up extra luggage space, but also protect your clothes from wrinkles.

Opting for non-toxic sunscreen

Sunscreen may be the most important factor in ensuring our skin is protected, however they are contributing to the damage to coral reefs. The chemicals from sunscreen have been proven to damage coral reefs – which are essential to ocean ecosystems. You may want to avoid sunscreens with Oxybenzone as it makes the corals bleach quicker, eventually turning white and dying.

Choose mineral-based sunscreens instead of chemical-based sunscreens. They reflect rays and work as a shield as opposed to the chemical sunscreens that our body absorbs. Common ingredients to lookout for in mineral-based sunscreens include Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. The particles of these two ingredients sit on top of the skin and block harmful UV rays. These ingredients are thus less harmful to corals and are not linked to coral bleaching.

Go digital with your documents

With the evolution of the internet and the ability to stay connected wherever, you can cut down on printed tickets and choose to download digital documents on your smartphone or laptop. The next time you are preparing for your trip, remember to download your destination maps and choose the e-ticket option.

Raise the bar

Travel-sized toiletries have always been the more convenient option when looking to pack for a holiday. However, they are known to be wasteful in terms of packaging, requiring five times more in terms of energy to be produced. Bringing along bar shampoo, conditioner, and soap is a great way to save space, money, and the environment (while also preventing any accidental spillages).

Bonus: bars last a lot longer than liquids, and they are way lighter!

Compostable Toothbrush

Eradicating unnecessary plastic can start with that one item you use every single day. Bamboo can be grown quickly and are fully biodegradable and antibacterial. The nature of the product allows it to be easily disassembled for proper disposal. Although the bristles are non-biodegradable, the handle can be up-cycled or composted at home, reducing the amount of waste generated.

Small Changes, Big Impacts

Making small changes to your travel habits today can have big impacts in the future. Include this as one of your new year resolutions this year for all your upcoming trips alongside with a few other easy swaps you can make as part of a Sustainable 2020.

8 Spring Cleaning Tips for the New Year

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8 Spring Cleaning Tips for the New Year

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, and tradition says that one of the most important priorities you have to focus on when it comes to bringing good fortune into your life is to be organized and clean.

Cleaning your entire home can be time-consuming, but this can be done by dedicating a single weekend to orchestrate a major cleaning session, or in various pockets of time—aiming to complete the tasks one step at a time. In fact, spring cleaning can be a fun family activity which doubles up as bonding time, as parents can also involve the children in the spring cleaning as well to allow them to take ownership of the space they live in.

Either way, it will be all worth it when you look up and see a clean and tidy environment for you and your family. To help you kick start your cleaning spree, here are 8 tips to help you organise your spring cleaning list.

1. Clear the decorations

With every festive holiday, we love to decorate our houses to bask in the festivity. From the Christmas tree by the living room to the Chinese couplets hanging by the door for prosperity and good luck, Singaporeans love dressing up their homes. However, once the holiday ends, we may find the decorations to be there a tat longer than they were meant to be.

Before the year gets busy, set some time to clear the decorations and make space for a clean and airy space for yourself and your family. Don’t wait till the next holiday to see the previous festive decorations still there

2. Use your old toothbrushes

Before you throw out your old toothbrushes, do remember that they can also serve as mini brushes that can help get the grime and dirt out from the smallest corners—so put them with your cleaning supplies.

You may find it exceptionally useful in cleaning every nook and cranny or your bathroom taps and between the grime between the kitchen tiles.

3. Clean your mattress and under it

On average, we spend 7 hours a day sleeping. This makes our mattress one of the most utilised furniture in our homes so thorough care should go into it to ensure we get a restful sleep in a clean space.

Watch out for the space under your bed and the gap between the headboard and the mattress. These areas are where we tend to overlook when spring cleaning. Take it a step further by opting to vacuum your bed as well. You will be surprised by the amount of dust and linen collected on it that may have negative impacts on your health should it be overlooked.

4. That’s got to go

The amount of stuff that we accumulate each year never fails to scare us at the end of the year when we spring clean. In 2016 alone, 150,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste was generated in Singapore, of which only seven per cent was recycled.

Instead, set aside bins to make the decluttering easier by categorising them into:

  • Keep
  • Donate/Sell
  • Recycle
  • Throw

Following which, do a stock take on your possessions and clear out what you do not need. You may even want to mull over your shopping habits over the year and work on taking steps towards a more conscious consumption. Not only will it prevent clutter at home, but also allows you to play a part to reduce unnecessary consumption.

5. Make your own homemade cleansers

Not only can you make them out of the ingredients right from your pantry, homemade cleansers also informs you of what actually goes into it to ensure the safety for you and your family.

Making your own is not all that tough. Find out how you can go natural with homemade cleaning cleansers and make some of your own.

6. Make a plan

Cleaning your home in a single day is an almost impossible task unless you have all hands on deck to help you out. A spring-cleaning checklist is necessary to ensure that all chores are covered, and the house is clean (and an organiser can come in handy!).

Your plan should include all the areas you are targeting to clean, the methods to use, and the tools needed. It should also allocate time for the tasks and resource delegation should you have some help.

7. Harness the goodness from the sun

Fight the dust mites on your bedding and pillows by using the sun. This is a great way to freshen all kinds of cushion, pillows, mattresses and comforters to get rid of all the dust mites and any lingering sweat odors. Do ensure the covers are taken off and regularly flip it after an hour on each side.

8. Leave the floor to the last

Cleaning of floors should come last after you have cleaned everything else including walls. Nobody wants dirt and dust all over vacuumed and mopped floor. By starting from top to bottom, you avoid making a mess on areas you have already cleaned.

Sustainable Resolutions for 2020
There is no better way to start the year with a clean space to ensure a clean mind. Here are some other ways you can make 2020 your year through these resolutions! Not only are you working towards a better you, but also to a better Earth for the future of your loved ones and yourself.

6 Resolutions for a Sustainable 2020

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6 Resolutions for a Sustainable 2020

Before we jump on the bandwagon of setting our New Year resolutions for 2020, let us reflect on the past year and ask ourselves—how many of these goals have we actually kept, and how many of them have we just resigned to the let’s try again next year category?

Well, it’s not too late to get back on track and achieving your resolutions for the year. It’s just about having SMART goals—that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound—rather than generic resolutions.

Here are 6 SMART eco-friendly goals that we can all make to embark on a more sustainable lifestyle:

1) Cultivate your green fingers and try your hand at urban gardening

The benefits that urban gardening bring about is limited to not only educating people to be appreciative of food sources but to also cultivate community bonding and the increased use of green spaces. You can try growing your own herbs and food in the comfort of your own home. Start off with some of the commonly grown plants such as basil and mint. But if you find that too daunting, you can seek out a community garden to be part of. Joining a community garden will allow you to practice sustainable living by growing your own harvest, but to also bond and learn from other urban gardeners within the neighbourhood.

2020 SMART goal: Grow a basil plant and use it for your meals

2) Swap driving for public transport

Last year, statistics from the Land Transport Authority showed a decrease in the total number of vehicles in Singapore to 957,006 – the lowest since 2016. By opting to take public transport more frequently instead of driving your own car, you can play your part in reducing harmful carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Additionally, you would also be contributing to a more efficient transport system by reducing the number of vehicles and congestion on the road. With an expanding MRT system, getting anywhere in Singapore via public transport has never been so convenient, and will continue to get more convenient in the next few years!

2020 SMART goal: Take public transport instead of driving once a week

3) Repair your own appliances instead of throwing them away

It may seem more convenient to purchase a new item when one of your household appliances breaks down. However, it can be much more cost-effective, and environmentally friendly to try and fix it instead of readily throwing it away. This also helps reduce e-waste, which can lead to harmful effects on our environment.

Not sure how to fix an appliance? Bring it to one of the monthly sessions by hosted by our ChangeMakersSG partner, Repair Kopitiam, at any of their three locations in Ang Mo Kio, Jurong or Tampines, where their repair coaches can demonstrate and teach you some simple skills to breathe new life into your household appliances.

2020 SMART goal: Repair 2 household appliances in 2020, instead of throwing them away

4) Pass on your old clothes and purchase second-hand pieces

Make it a point to buy less (or not at all!) new clothes this year. Instead, consider purchasing second-hand items from retailers such as our ChangeMakerSG partner, REFASH, which provides a marketplace for women to sell clothes that no longer fit, and purchase second-hand pieces (some even have their original tags on) from others. Similarly, pass on your old clothes instead of throwing them away to reduce textile wastage.

2020 SMART goal: Reduce purchases from retailers by 50% by June

5) Turn off all vampire plugs

Did you know? Leaving that microwave oven or television on standby draws large amount of electricity. A simple action of making it a habit to turn them off at the source can save not only your electricity bills but the Earth too.

2020 SMART goal: Upon leaving the office or your home, ensure all your appliances are switched off at the main plug

6) Switch to a green energy supplier

Last but not least, take the leap this year to switch to an electricity supplier that can provide a greener option to help you cut down your carbon footprint in 2020. At Geneco, we help our customers achieve this with two of our plans – “Get It Green”, which provides a carbon neutral option to offset the impact of our customer’s electricity usage, and “Get Sunny”, a clean energy option where we harness the goodness from our sun.

From now till 29 February, apply our promo code HUAT38 when you sign up for either of the two plans to enjoy a $38 rebate. If you are an existing customer, share this promotion with your friends and get them to come on board too and you will be rewarded for your referrals! You will receive $20 rebate for each friend that successfully signs up with your contact number as the referral code. In addition, participate in our CNY Special Referral Bonus Programme and earn up to $2,020 in bonus rebates when you refer more friends.

2020 SMART goal: Switch to Geneco’s Get It Green or Get Sunny plans in 2020!