In the blink of an eye, we’re a quarter of our way through the year. As we celebrate the month of sustainability with Global Recycling Day, International Forest Day and Earth Hour coming up this March, let us take this opportunity to learn the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, and how it contributes to our fight against global warming.
In a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the panel is calling for more urgent action to mitigate climate change through the reduction of carbon emissions. The message is clear – if carbon emissions are not sufficiently reduced, it would spell catastrophic consequences for the world.
While climate change is a global issue that cannot be undertaken by one party alone, for us as consumers, we can contribute through the everyday lifestyle choices that we make. It is through a collective of such conscious green efforts today that we eventually build a greener future tomorrow.
Here are four simple ways which you can get on onboard with easily to reduce your carbon footprint:
We’re sure that everyone would’ve heard of the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – growing up. But, have we ever thought about how it actually helps our planet? According to a CNA commentary, an average individual in Singapore produced a staggering 334kg of waste in 2019, most of which was sent to our local landfill for incineration. Consequently, an estimated total of 1.58 million tonnes of carbon emissions is released annually from our landfills alone.
By choosing to practice the 3Rs, this will help reduce the amount of trash we produce and the great news is it can be incorporated into every area of our lives easily! Here are some examples of how you may do so and the amount of carbon emissions you’d be saving with each:
Did you know that there are nearly a million vehicles on the roads of Singapore today with the majority of our cars running on petrol or diesel? Collectively, these vehicles release an approximate 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year!
While the government has put in place several schemes and initiatives for cleaner energy vehicles by 2030 under the SG Green Plan to reduce carbon emissions on the roads, we can all do our part today as an individual by considering alternative modes of transport.
For instance, if you’re heading to somewhere relatively near, choose to walk or cycle instead. According to Bloomberg, switching from car to cycling just once a day can help reduce our carbon footprint by up to 67%!
If you’re one who enjoys driving, why not rent with BlueSG, Singapore’s first electric carsharing service! With over 1,000 electric cars across 380 locations, it’s oh-so-convenient for anyone who is looking to have an eco-friendlier day. If you’re a Geneco customer, do also check out the Geneco PowerUp Rewards where you can enjoy a free membership with BlueSG for the first two months!
Taking the public transport is also a great way to reduce our carbon footprint given that an average car uses 9 and 12 times more energy as compared to a bus and train respectively.
Did you know? A mature tree can absorb an estimate of 48,000kg of carbon dioxide per year, helping to reduce the amount of planet-warming emissions from our atmosphere. New research has also shown that with the current worldwide planting programmes, they could potentially remove almost a third of all emissions produced from human activities.
In addition, trees also add to the lush greenery of our Garden City, creating a more sustainable living environment for everyone. As part of our commitment to SG Green Plan 2030, Geneco has joined NParks’ OneMillionTrees movement to build our City in Nature and pledged to plant 250 trees over five years by having our first 50 trees planted at Windsor Nature Park back in April last year on Earth Day.
This year, in celebration of our 4th Anniversary and the milestone of having over 150,000 homes choosing us as their preferred electricity retailer, we want to plant an additional 150 trees to continue powering the change for a greener nation!
If you would like to join us in greening our city and reduce your carbon footprint, head over to our Giving.sg Fundraising Drive where you can donate to help us reach our 150 trees goal. We will be matching dollar-for-dollar and 100% of the donations raised will go towards this movement.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us may have gravitated to the comforts of online entertainment such as Netflix, gaming or even just scrolling through our social media platforms. However, did you know that these online activities contribute to carbon emissions as well?
According to the Carbon Trust, every hour of streaming a video releases carbon emissions that’s almost equivalent to driving 300 metres in a car. With billions of hours of video watched by individuals around the world, this no doubt adds up. As reported by The Guardian, YouTube produces more than 11 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year – equivalent to the amount produced by a city the size of Glasgow or Frankfurt, which would be about a third the size of Singapore. For Netflix, the popular streaming platform clocks an average of six billion hours of streaming globally each month – that works out to 330,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, similar to the amount produced if we were to fly from Singapore to San Francisco more than 60,000 times!
Hence, to reduce your electronic footprint, how about setting your electronic devices aside and indulge in a good book, head out for a picnic, or go outdoors for a run instead? These activities are all eco-friendlier and goes a long way in helping us reduce our carbon footprint!
If you’re wondering whether you can still continue enjoying your online entertainment while being sustainable at the same time – the answer is yes! By signing up with Geneco’s Power Eco Add-on, Singapore’s first-and-only customisable green add-on for an electricity plan, you can choose to offset the carbon emissions produced by the amount of electricity you consume.
Simply select between Carbon Credits (CC) and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) and choose the level of green contribution – 25%/50%/75%/100% – which you are comfortable with! At an affordable rate of just $1 more per month, you can offset up to 3,920kg of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equivalent to 192 rain trees absorbing CO2 in a year!
By making simple changes in our daily lives through the various activities above, we can all make a big difference in reducing our carbon footprint. Remember, each action counts and there is none that is too small.
Together, let’s continue to #PowerTheChange and create a greener world for all who live in it.
Image Credits: Nylon Coffee Roasters
Source: The Sustainability Project
by Alvin Chong
Ocean waste, plastic bottles and used coffee grounds – what do they all have in common? Well, they can all be recycled and made into brand new products! If you’re wondering what these waste materials can be made into – you’re in for a surprise!
As the country marks a year of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 in a few months, more and more businesses are investing in innovative methods to recycle and upcycle our everyday trash. This is especially timely and crucial given that consumerism continues on an upward trend. According to CNA, Singapore’s resource consumption per capita ranks 24th in the world, a sure sign that there is much room for improvement in this area.
In today’s blogpost, we want to spotlight four homegrown companies that are giving waste materials a brand-new lease of life. Read on to find out more!
A proudly Singaporean brand, Align Swim is anchored on the tenets of sustainability; every aspect of the brand’s decisions from production to distribution is made with our environment in mind.
All of their pieces are designed locally, and sent to an ethical factory in Bali, Indonesia to be manufactured. To minimise wastage, the brand is also conscious of not overproducing their swimwear – a thoughtful mindset shift in today’s fast fashion industry.
Each of its swimwear is produced from either Econyl, a form of regenerated nylon made from landfill or ocean waste items such as fishing nets, old carpets and textile scraps, or Repreve, a form of fibre made from recycled materials including plastic bottles.
This not only helps in saving these waste materials from polluting our oceans, but also reduces the energy and resources needed to make virgin materials, lowering our environmental impact and minimising greenhouse gases.
Beyond ensuring the sustainability of its swimwear, Align Swim also extends its eco-friendly initiatives to its mailing materials. All its products are shipped out in 100% compostable mailers or its custom recyclable Align Envelope. What’s more, if you’re looking to gift someone an Align Swim piece, look forward to having it beautifully wrapped in the brand’s custom designed Furoshiki Gift Wrap! The Furoshiki cloth can even be reused in many different ways including as a bag, scarf, or even passed on as a gift wrap for yet another gift.
A social enterprise, Ayer Ayer was born out of the mission to bring together different communities to create art pieces made from recycled microplastics. Not sure what microplastics actually are? Well, these small plastic pieces are actually the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our oceans, broken down from larger plastic waste that may have been disposed into our water bodies. While miniscule in size, these tiny pieces of plastic are harmful to marine life. Studies have shown that microplastics may disrupt these animals’ reproductive systems, cause liver damage and even alter their feeding behaviour.
Collecting and sorting these plastic trash that are washed up on our local shores, Ayer Ayer breathes new life into these materials by re-creating them into beautiful art pieces and furniture such as tables and chairs! These one-of-the-kind pieces can be found as bar tables at rooftop bar Potato Head Singapore, so do go and check them out!
Alternatively, you can also purchase unique art tiles made from plastic trash and use them as home decorative pieces. Ayer Ayer occasionally organises pop up sales of their one-of-a-kind artwork items, which you can keep an eye out for on their Facebook and Instagram!
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Ayer Ayer Project (@ayerayerproject)
A post shared by Ayer Ayer Project (@ayerayerproject)
For those who would prefer a hands-on experience, the brand also organises workshops that share with participants the many different facets of plastics; from production to recycling. To try your hand at making some handcrafted items from post-consumer plastic, check out more information here!
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in world and widely enjoyed across cultures all across the globe. But, have you ever wondered what happens to the used coffee grounds after our cup of joe is brewed?
Currently, most of our spent coffee grounds is disposed into the bin and sent to our landfill for incineration, which contributes to our growing food waste issue. Eventually, these coffee grounds decompose in the landfill and release a great amount greenhouse gases, resulting in a direct impact to our environment.
However, one homegrown company is changing the landscape. With the aim to close the loop in the coffee industry, A1 Environment recovers coffee grounds from various industries including F&B and hospitality, and transforms them into wood-like panels that can be used to make furniture. To date, the company has converted more than 650,000kg of coffee, giving them a new lease of life. With this innovative solution, A1 Environment not only saves these used coffee grounds from the landfill but also reduces the number of trees cut down to make furniture!
As A1 Environment scales up its operations this year, the firm is planning to launch a range of furniture as well as other items such as flowerpots – stay tuned for updates on their Instagram and Facebook pages!
In addition, A1 Environment also uses these spent coffee grounds for food compost in community gardens to encourage other like-minded individuals to make use of these coffee grounds that deserve a second chance. You can get in touch with them to help boost and green up your local community gardens here!
With a myriad of paper recycling services and more than 32 years of paper recycling experience, Tay Paper Recycling has played an instrumental role in diverting much of Singapore’s paper waste from the landfill. It offers the full suite of recycling services from on-site shredding, collecting to sorting, making it a breeze for any company to get onboard as one of their partners. In addition to paper, Tay Paper also recycles plastics, old clothes and e-waste.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Geneco SG (@genecosg)
A post shared by Geneco SG (@genecosg)
Geneco is proud to have partnered with Tay Paper Recycling during our #ChangeBringsProsperity initiative again after last year’s successful collection and recycling of 410kg of red packets! From now till 6 March, simply drop off your used or excess red packets at any of the 24 Used Red Packet Recycling Bins located at any of our partners – CRU, IUIGA, Refash, and Wisma Atria – island-wide. These red packets will then be pulped and made into paper products including tissue, paper towels, and of course, even more paper!
And while you’re doing good for the environment, share with us which Used Red Packet Recycling Bin you will be dropping off your red packets at on our Instagram or Facebook posts to stand a chance to win $28 worth of eCapitaVouchers!
As we look towards embarking on a greener journey this year, we hope that you’d be inspired to support these local companies paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow.
Together, let’s continue to #PowerTheChange and share our prosperity with our future generations.
Every day, Singapore produces approximately 16,120 tonnes of waste – that’s enough to fill about 7 Olympic-sized swimming pools! However, with a low domestic recycling rate of 13%, most of these waste are sent for incineration at our local landfill. Given our limited landmass in Singapore, this is a worrying trend as there is simply not enough space to hold all our trash! Our only landfill – Semakau Landfill – is estimated to be fully utilised by 2035.
As Singapore works towards building a circular economy, how can each of us contribute by increasing our recycling efforts? For starters, let’s focus on recycling one of the most common items – paper.
There are many ways which we can recycle paper. This includes dropping them off at the nearest recycling bin or selling them to our local karang guni – rag and bone man.
However, did you know that you can try paper recycling right at home as well, and customise them into your very own greeting cards or gift tags that’s truly one of its kind. So here’s an easy and fun eco-friendly guide to get you started on making your own recycled paper!
The entire process is simple – no fancy craft tools required. All you need are:
Gather your old scraps of paper and make sure that they’re void of any plastic or staples before tearing them into small pieces about an inch wide and throwing them into your container. Feel free to make the pieces of paper as tiny as possible to get them soaked more easily in the next step.
Should you have some old scraps of thicker paper such as drawing paper or watercolour paper lying around, do also include them into the container as well – this will help in producing a stronger, thicker quality for your final product.
Pro Tip: Experiment with different colour combination paper scraps to produce beautiful handmade paper with a rustic feel. Throwing in different textured paper will also yield a more unique final product!
Thereafter, fill your container of paper scraps with water before leaving them to soak for 24 hours. While the ratio of pulp to water can vary depending on how thick you’d like your sheets to be, the general rule of thumb is to have equal measures of paper pieces and water. The more pulp to water, the thicker your paper will be, so feel free to experiment by changing up the ratio. Do remember to stir the bowl occasionally to prevent the paper pieces from clumping together!
Pro Tip: To produce whiter paper, add about a tablespoon of white vinegar to bleach the pulp mixture
After 24 hours of soaking, you are now ready to start making your first piece of paper! For those of us wondering about the kind of plastic mesh that would work for this – check out an example below! Essentially, any plastic mesh that is hard and sturdy would do the trick.
Slowly dip one side of your plastic mesh into the mixture at a 45-degree angle and flatten it at bottom of the container. Gradually, the paper mâché will start gathering on top of the mesh, covering it from top to bottom. Allow the paper mâché to settle on the mesh as evenly as possible.
Do be patient for this step ad you may end up with sheets of uneven and bumpy paper if the pulp mixture does not settle evenly!
Lift the mesh out of the container with as little disturbance to the pulp mixture as possible. Thereafter, gently use your fingers to even out the borders of the paper mâché on the plastic mesh. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect – it’s part of the process of DIY-ing our own recycled paper!
Once you’re happy with the shape of your paper, you can even add some decorative elements such as dried leaves or dried rose petals to beautify your recycled paper. Feel free to let your creativity run!
Once the borders are more or less even, place the paper mâché side of the plastic mesh down on a non-stick surface, such as a wooden or glass table, before using your cotton cloth to soak as much water as possible from the top. When most of the excess water has been drained, carefully peel off the mesh and allow the paper mâché to dry overnight. If you’re excited to start using your recycled paper as quickly as possible, you can even use a hairdryer to hasten the process.
And that’s it! Once the paper mâché is completely dried, they should be slightly wavy and crisp. You can bind the various pieces together into your very own unique notebook or cut them up into smaller pieces to form a gift tag. You can even use these handmade papers as a Valentine’s Day card, or for other occasions and celebrations throughout the year – the possibilities are endless!
We hope that this easy tutorial will inspire you to recycle your old pieces of paper right at home. This activity is also a great opportunity to educate our little ones on how they can effect a change for our environment through such small but meaningful actions!
And if you find yourself wondering what to do with the stack of red packets you’ve collected this Chinese New Year, you can recycle them too by joining us in our #ChangeBringsProsperity initiative! Simply drop them off at any of our 25 Used Red Packet Recycling Bins located across the island from now till 6 March at Wisma Atria, or any IUIGA, CRU, and our Changemaker – Refash‘s outlets – after you’ve emptied them of course!
These red packets will then be collected by Tay Paper Recycling, where they’ll be pulped and made into other paper products such as tissue, paper towels and more writing paper!
Together, we can all #PowerTheChange by adopting a zero-waste lifestyle and work towards a greener future.
Living in a concrete jungle like Singapore, it may be easy to forget that we share our island with over 40,000 species1 of flora and fauna. These include native blooms such as the Wild Rose Apple and Akar Kepapal, which we’ve featured in our Chinese New Year Red Packets this year in collaboration with the National Parks Board (NParks)’s Garden City Fund, as well as a diversity of animals like owls, crocodiles and of course – our favourite families of otters.
This comes as no surprise since our sunny island used to be a rich and dense tropical jungle. While Singapore has rapidly urbanised since its early days, wild animals can still be spotted today at pockets of nature around our country given continuous conservation efforts.
If you’re up to spot some elusive animals living within our midst, grab your hiking boots for a trip to the wild right here in Singapore! Explore the many green spaces on our little red dot and get ready to be fascinated by the myriad of species that call Singapore home. At the same time, do keep a look out for the many native flowers that we’ve mentioned in our previous blogpost here. These wildlife add to the dynamism of our urban city, and truly makes Singapore unique.
Without further ado, here’s introducing five animals native to Singapore that can’t be missed:
Naturally found in our local wild, with its first sightings in Singapore tracing back to the 1800s2, the Estuarine Crocodile, also known as Saltwater Crocodile, is one of the largest crocodile species in the world and can grow to more than five metres in length3. This majestic creature often camouflages itself by keeping partially submerged in water, with only its eyes, nostrils, and part of its back exposed4, and can be found in coastal areas and wetlands such as our Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve5.
Fun fact: The Estuarine Crocodile has the most powerful bite out of all species of crocodiles, earning them the reputation as a top apex predator4!
Sadly, the Estuarine Crocodile is classified as critically endangered3 both internationally and in Singapore due to the destruction of its habitats, as well as overhunting for its hide to make products such as shoes and handbags. Overseas, its hatchlings are also sometimes sold as pets.
Besides keeping an eye out for these crocodiles, do look out for the wide range of native flora that Sungei Buloh is also home to. These include the bright yellow Sea Hibiscus6 and sweet scented Penaga Laut</strong class=”f-blue”>7 flowers, the latter of which is often used as dye, oil and even medicine. In addition, many native species such as the Mangrove Horseshoe Crab8 and Giant Mudskipper8 are also residents of Sungei Buloh. What’s more, the wetland also counts reptiles such as the King Cobra8 and Malayan Water Monitor8 as part of its dynamic ecosystem.
The Sunda Pangolin, is a scaly mammal that is native to Singapore and the larger Southeast Asian region9. A unique animal unlike any other, the pangolin is covered with brown scales and has long claws as feet10. Found at various areas of Singapore, including Bukit Timah Nature Reserve9, this shy and solitary animal hunts mainly at night and feeds on insects such as ants and termites. For adult pangolins, it can consume up to 70 million insects every year9!
Fun fact: Its tough scales are actually made of compressed hair9! When threatened, the pangolin curls itself up into an armoured ball by wrapping its tail around its body to protect its non-scaly underparts, and may even use its anal gland to produce a foul smell to deter predators9.
Similar to the Estuarine Crocodile, the Sunda Pangolin is listed as critically endangered9 in Singapore due to the mass urbanisation that resulted in widespread habitat loss. Internationally, the low population of these animals can be attributed to over poaching for its meat and scales9. This is further exacerbated by its low fertility rate, resulting in its global population depleting much faster than it can recover9.
Given its elusive nature, it’s your lucky day should you come across a pangolin when visiting Bukit Timah Nature Park! However, fret not should you not be able to spot one as the park is also home to a wide range of other native plants. This includes the Seraya11 that is one of the oldest trees in Singapore, estimated to be at least 150 years old12!
Known affectionately as the Toddy Cat13, the Common Palm Civet is a nocturnal native mammal found in areas such as Bukit Batok Nature Park13. An omnivore, the civet can often be spotted navigating from tree to tree and feeding on fruits, leaves and worms13.
Fun fact: The length of its tail is almost of equal length as its entire body14!
Like other members of the civet family, the Common Palm Civet has a pair of stink glands near the base of its tail, which secretes a foul-smelling liquid when it feels threatened15. Interestingly, however, some have described these secretions as smelling like pandan16!
If you’re a coffee lover, you may have also heard of civet-processed coffee, otherwise known as Kopi Luwak. However, due to increasing global demand for this type of coffee, it has given rise to unethical production practices17, often involving the poor treatment of these civets. Hence, should you come across Kopi Luwak, we’d encourage you to be mindful and say no to such coffee choices!
Besides keeping an eye out for these civets at Bukit Batok Nature Reserve, do also look out for the leafy Tembusu18 trees that are native to Singapore. These large trees can grow up to 25 metres18 in height and is one of the many heritage trees identified in Singapore.
Native to Singapore, wild boars are large pigs that can weigh up to 100kg19. While they are natural omnivores19, these animals feed mainly on a plant-based diet that includes seeds, tubers and young plants19. With a keen sense of smell, these wild boars are foraging animals and are able to dig out underground tubers and seed for food20.
Fun fact: Despite their hefty weight, wild boars are surprisingly strong and fast runners20! They are also especially fertile, in which the females can start reproducing at 18 months19 of age and give birth to up to six piglets a year19!
In addition to spotting these animals at Pasir Ris Nature Park, do also keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful Blue Glassy Tiger butterfly21 that is also native to Singapore and identifiable by its unique bluish-grey wings. The park also features an edible garden21 with species such as lemon grass, tapioca and even the cocoa plant that is definitely worth exploring.
With a dark chocolate head, flank and belly, the White-throated Kingfisher gets its name from its contrasting whitish throat that extends down towards its breast. It’s electric blue wings and back also makes it easily identifiable from afar22. Native to Singapore22 and as one of the more common kingfishers in Southeast Asia22, it is highly adaptable and can be spotted frolicking at Punggol Waterway Park 23, alongside fringes of the reservoir as well as open fields.
Fun fact: the White-throated Kingfisher is one of the bigger kingfisher species found locally and can grow up to 28 centimetres22. Its considerable size allows it to not only feed on insects, but also prey on fish and small animals22.
If you’re heading down to Punggol Waterway Park to spot one of these lovely birds, do also check out Singapore’s first man-made mangrove – My Waterway@Punggol24. This man-made site features a variety of freshwater-tolerant mangroves and houses many native plant species such as the Lumnitzera Iittorea24 and Kandelia candel24. Since establishing this site, it has attracted a spectrum of endangered bird species and flora, allowing them to flourish within the area and contribute to the thriving ecosystem.
We hope the above has pique your interest in heading out to discover and appreciate the whole range of wildlife we have in our country. If you’re curious to learn more about the other animals inhibiting our sunny island, check out one of Sir David Attenborough’s newest Netflix documentary here! Aptly named “Wild City”, this film unveils a whole different dimension of Singapore and takes you through the various unseen natural treasures that we might not even be aware of!
Together, let us remember the importance of a sustainable living environment, and continue to #PowerTheChange by conserving our green spaces and protect our natural heritage, so that we can share this prosperity with future generations.
Today, Singapore is one of the greenest cities in the world, safeguarding more than 7,800 hectares of green spaces. The Garden City we enjoy today is a result of decades of hard work by our forefathers, including our then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Known as the “Chief Gardener of Singapore”, Mr Lee introduced the “Garden City” vision in 19671, just two years after the country gained independence, with the aim to transform Singapore into a vibrant city with abundant lush greenery. This formed the core of our greening journey and the foundation in which our City in Nature2 vision, a key pillar of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, is built upon.
Over the past 50 years, more than a million1 trees have been planted across the island. Through such sustained efforts, our little red dot today boasts over 2,2003 plant species with a myriad of native flora and fauna thriving in these nature spots.
This Chinese New Year, we partnered with the National Parks Board (NParks)’s Garden City Fund to launch four exquisitely designed red packets spotlighting our native flora. With this initiative, we aim to build greater appreciation and conservation awareness among Singaporeans for our local blooms while encouraging the exploration of the abundant nature spaces in Singapore.
Each blossom featured on our red packets this year has its own unique story, and we’re excited to share more about them today while introducing a few of our other native species which you can keep an eye out for during your next hiking adventure!
This beautiful magenta pink flower makes its home along the sandy beaches of Singapore’s Coney Island and thrives on the sunny weather we enjoy in Singapore. Resembling Japan’s famed cherry blossoms when in full bloom, the Rose Myrtle also produces a velvety fruit that serves as sustenance for many bird species, caterpillars, moths, and even humans!
This versatile fruit is used for a range of purposes including sweets such as jams or tarts4 and even medicines4 to treat stomach ache and diarrhoea. In Vietnam, the locals also ferment the fruit to make a type of Vietnamese wine4 known as ruou sim.
Besides the Rose Myrtle, Coney Island is also home to a variety of native flora given its recent habitat enhancement programme that aims to reforest over 50 different native coastal species5. Many of these reintroduced species are nationally critically endangered plants such as the small-leaved Nutmeg5 (Knema globularia), Silver Bush5 (Sophora tormentosa), and Damak-damak Tahun5 (Scolopia macrophylla), a tree which was presumed to be extinct until its rediscovery in 2014!
Till date, Coney Island is the only place in Singapore5 where the Damak-damak species can be found, thanks to sustained efforts to preserve our local natural heritage so do keep a look out when you head down for a day of exploration!
A slow-growing deciduous tree that can reach a whooping height of 30 metres6, the Derum can be found at the heart of Windsor Nature Park – one of Singapore’s newer green spaces. The tree produces a faintly fragrant flora that ranges from eye-catching crimson to an interesting combination of pinkish-yellow.
While not commonly available, the Derum’s durable timber6 can be used in construction and furniture-making. Unfortunately, due to the time needed for the Derum to mature completely, the tree has been classified as a critically endangered7 species in Singapore.
However, if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of this rare gem during your next visit to Windsor, just look out for a pop of reddish leaves against the otherwise uniform green landscape of other trees. A conspicuous feature, the young leaves of the Derum tree are notably reddish7 before maturing into a deep forest green.
What’s more, keep your eyes peeled at Windsor’s Hanguana trail for some rare native plants that are named after Singapore such as the Zingiber singapurense8 and Durio singaporensis8. Over the years, the replanting of over 4008 trees in the park, including a myriad of native species, has helped to enhance the habitat of Windsor. This in turn has helped in attracting and protecting our local fauna including native animals such as our Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica)8 and the Mangrove Snake (Bioga dendrophila)8, which contributes to the biodiversity of the ecosystem.
Another critically endangered9 native plant, the Akar Kekapal is an epiphytic climber that often forms a dense covering on tree branches that they grow on. Resilient9 to a wide range of environmental factors, the plant can be found growing on mangrove trees in Pulau Ubin and even on oil palm in neighbouring Malaysia.
Its flowers9 often grow in umbrella clusters, forming a bouquet-like arrangement of star-shaped cream and pink blossoms that are stunning and fragrant to the senses.
If you’re on a quest to spot as many native plant species as possible, Pulau Ubin is the right place to be! In addition to the unique Akar Kekapal flowers, keep a look out for its abundance of local plants including the Ficus stricta10, a rare species of the strangling fig, and the Jamba (Neuwiedia veratrifolia)10, a yellow orchid that is critically endangered. According to NParks, it estimates that Pulau Ubin has over 78611 native plants, with many of them very rare and not found on mainland Singapore!
As the host to the largest mangrove areas in Singapore, Pulau Ubin is also home to one of the rarest mangrove species in the world – the Eye of the Crocodile10, otherwise known by its scientific name of Bruguiera hainesii. There remains only about 200 of these plants worldwide, with 11 of them found in Singapore.
Finally, the last (but not least) of our four flowers – the Wild Rose Apple an attractive and showy species with unique flora features. Similar to the Akar Kekapal, the Wild Rose Apple is tolerable12 against strong sunlight, high wind and frequent salt spray conditions; and can be found at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Pulau Ubin12. Both its flowers and fruits are edible and serve as food to many bird species.
The Wild Rose Apple is also classified as one of Singapore’s critically endangered12 plants, joining the list of species that NParks is on a mission to conserve.
Besides the Wild Rose Apple, the Central Catchment Nature Reserve is also home to a wide range of native wildlife such as the Keruing13 (Dipterocarpus spp.), Colugo14 and the elusive Raffles’ Banded Langur15. It is believed that there are only 6015 langurs left in Singapore, limited to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve – this means that the chance of spotting one is extremely rare so do keep an eye out for it!
As the largest of nature reserves, the Central Catchment Reserve is also known as the “green lung” of Singapore and is a popular spot for nature lovers!
Fun fact: it also features the only freshwater swamp forest found in Singapore – the Nee Soon Swamp Forest16 – so do head down to check it out!
We hope that these lesser-known facts have intrigued your interest and if you’d like to win yourself these red packets, take part in our social media contest on Facebook and Instagram where you simply have to tell us your favourite local nature park and the reason why.
Two lucky winners will even walk away with a year worth of free electricity with Power Eco Add-on, Singapore’s first and only customisable green add-on for an electricity plan, plus a set of Limited Edition Geneco Red Packets! 50 lucky winners will also get to receive 2 sets of red packets and $28 eCapitaVouchers!
So what are you waiting for? Lace up your walking shoes and explore the various green spaces that Singapore has to offer.
Together, let’s continue to #PowerTheChange and conserve our natural biodiversity, and share our prosperity with our future generations as we build our City in Nature!
As we enter the most wonderful time of the year, it’s time to embark on our holiday ritual of family gathering, feasting and the best part – unwrapping of presents! While the possibilities are endless, we all know how stressful it could be when it comes to shopping for thoughtful and unique gifts for our loved ones.
Instead of purchasing the usual chocolates or coffee mug, how about thinking out of the box with eco-friendly gifts that are meaningful and good for the planet? To spread the green message this #JollyGreen season, we’ve come up with some sustainable gift ideas that are perfect for anyone you may have in mind – whether it’s your other half, your child or even your parents!
A colourful and fun replacement to single-use plastics such as clingwrap and zip lock bags, beeswax wraps are one of the latest trends in reducing waste in our homes. Made from cotton fabric and infused with pure beeswax, organic coconut or jojoba oil and tree resin, these wraps are perfect for covering a bowl of leftovers, wrapping sandwiches or even to hold fresh fruits and vegetables.
Besides having antibacterial properties that help keep our food clean and free of germs, beeswax wraps also locks in the moisture of our food to retain its freshness and flavour. In contrast, plastic wraps typically suffocate our fresh produce leading to condensation and mould forming in the bag. When this happens, it hastens the decomposition of our food and results in food waste.
Available in a myriad of designs and sizes, check out these stylish beeswax wraps at our local green brands such as Your Sustainable Store, Minimakers and The Sustainability Project.
Instead of gifting the typical box of Christmas sweets packed in plastic boxes and wrappers, how about making your own festive spiced in a beautiful glass jar for a thoughtful and delicious gift! Nuts such as almonds, cashews and pecans are highly nutritious and loaded with antioxidants – a great option for your loved ones as a yummy midday snack.
Some of our favourite recipes include Jamie Oliver’s honey-roasted nuts and these maple cinnamon spiced pecans that remind us of our favourite Christmas sweets. These recipes are also a breeze to prepare – great if you’re looking to involve your kids in your Christmas preparations!
What’s more, with these glass jars, you can also encourage your loved ones to reuse them for storing other foods or even repurpose it as a mug or vase. This gift also serves as a great conversation starter to encourage them to visit zero-waste grocery stores and fill up their empty jar with the mouth-watering goodies available. Some of our favourite stores include Scoop Wholefoods, an Aussie-owned supermarket that can be found in multiple locations like Tanglin Mall and Great World City, and Unpackt, a homegrown social enterprise that offers an array of delicious snacks such as its Zesty Maple Glazed Nut Mix.
Have someone in mind who enjoys putting meals together at home? An edible indoor gardening kit might be just the perfect gift for them! Besides bringing a pocket of green into their homes, these nifty gardening sets can also bring a splendid harvest and help your loved ones embark on a more sustainable food journey.
Best of all, these kits are easy to use even for those who have had zero experience in gardening! Available in a variety of options such as Basil, Kang Kong and Chye Sim, these planting sets are a gift that keeps on giving, and in a nutritious way too!
Check them out at our local brands like Root Farm and Super Farmers, where they offer microgreens sets that can easily be grown in small spaces (perfect for HDB dwellers) and only takes a week to harvest!
While the above presents can certainly be meaningful, gifting an experience can also be equally or even more special! In addition to creating lasting memories with your loved ones, gifting an experience is also usually more sustainable as there is no physical gift that requires additional wrapping or packaging, thus eliminating unnecessary paper or plastic waste.
Instead of going to the spa, where products used typically contain chemicals that are bad for the environment, how about transforming your home into a blissful sanctuary and indulging your loved ones in a zero-waste pampering routine? Best of all, you can even join in and get some much-needed TLC as we wrap up the year!
Step 1: Set the Mood
Light a scented candle like this one from Pass It On. These candles are not only made from eco-friendly materials but encourages zero-waste practices by allowing you to repurpose your empty candles into planting pots. They even come with seed paper for you to sprout a modest produce after!
Step 2: Mix your very own concoction of homemade avocadoes hair and face mask
Mix your very own concoction of homemade avocadoes hair and face mask for that au naturel experience. A buttery fruit that is rich in vitamins, avocadoes are extremely nourishing as they not only high levels of minerals that would keep our loved ones’ hair smooth and shiny, but also compounds that help to protect their skin from sun damage – especially useful given that we live in sunny Singapore!
For a hydrating hair mask to lift those dull strands, mash an avocado with two ripe bananas. If you like to bring it up a notch, drip a few drops of rosemary and tea tree oil for that soothing scent. Then, slather the mixture from the tips of your loved ones’ hair and working your way up to their scalp, leaving it on for a good 20 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly.
And for a purifying mask to brighten up your skin, pit half a ripe avocado, add a tablespoon of solid coconut oil, and a teaspoon of honey and water. Gently massage this creamy concoction on their face and leave it on for 15 minutes to absorb all the nutritious goodness. While the avocado moisturises the skin, the honey and coconut oil can help to fight minor acne and inflammation.
Step 3: Rejuvenating body scrub experience
Finally, give them a full rejuvenation with a natural homemade sugar scrub that can easily be put together with ingredients found in your kitchen in less than 10 minutes. Simply combine equal portions of brown sugar and coconut or olive oil, mix them thoroughly and voila; you’re done!
For those of us looking to gift a more luxurious experience, our Changemaker Cultivate Central has the perfect recipe right here that is infused with floral botanicals like Citonella, Lemon balm and Globe Amaranth flowers. The wonderful scents from these herbs also provide mood lifting and stress relieving properties! Give these DIY recipes a try to make your skin feel incredibly soft and hydrated in no time.
If you’re still looking for a great gift for your kids, how about bringing them closer to nature with an outdoor tour with EcoTrail that casts a spotlight on the everyday ecosystems in Singapore? This 1.5 hour-long guided tour includes multiple stations with activities such as chicken feeding, planting organic fruits and vegetables, and even learning about how solar plants and incubators work! Immerse yourself in the beauty of our local nature and relish the fresh air, lush greenery and clear blue skies in this private farmland – it’s a great gift to quench the curious minds of our little ones while showing them the beauty of our Mother Nature.
Alternatively, check out The Sundowner’s rooftop farm experience that is great for adults and children alike. Enjoy an organic farming class where you learn all the secrets of creating a healthy soil for the freshest harvest, come up close and personal with honeybees, and delight in a farm-to-table honey tasting to round it all up! Best of all, take in the beautiful sunset as you enjoy this one-of-a-kind rooftop experience in Singapore. This is one hidden gem that will be the perfect gift for any loved one!
This holiday season, go beyond embarking on your own green journey to encourage your loved ones to take the first step. Be it a physical gift or experiences, what matters is the thought that counts!
Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a merry and #JollyGreen holiday!
Tea is the most popular beverage in the world, placing ahead of other well-loved beverages such as juices, beer and even coffee. This is unsurprising since there is a tea perfect for every occasion – whether an English Breakfast as a perk-me-up in the morning or a calming chamomile as part of your nightly wind down routine.
Besides being as a tasty drink to sip on, tea is also known for offering plenty of health and wellness benefits. According to HealthHub, tea contains high antioxidant levels which helps in high antioxidant levels which helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, studies have also shown that teas can help in boosting our immune system, fight off inflammation and even minimise the likelihood of cancer and stroke.
For those of us weary and stressed from working from home, brewing a quick cup of lavender or mint tea can also introduce a little pocket of zen into our daily routine and serve as a great stress reliever!
However, while you can easily purchase tea blends from stores, high quality tea blends may be relatively costly. Some manufactured blends may even make use of artificial flavourings, which may be bad for our health in the long run.
Instead of buying pre-packaged tea, how about choosing to make your own custom tea blend? By purchasing loose tea leaves and herbs, it not only ensures a fresher and more robust taste but also promises for you to benefit from its higher nutritional value.