From The Straits Times    |

how to save money and go green eco friendly at home at work singapore

Image: Corbis

#1 Turn off the power when not in use

This one is more easily implemented at home, as certain offices have the lights on all the time or don’t allow you to switch off power sockets. When you aren’t using an appliance, remember to turn off the power at the socket. It’s a super basic step, but one that not a lot of people actually remember to do. An easy option is to get a multi-appliance power bar that lets you turn off power to several appliances with just one switch. You’ll save money on your electricity bills in the long run and also be using less energy.

#2 Use bamboo products

Instead of using regular tissues and face wipes, consider switching to certain brands that use bamboo instead. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant-based source and the most environmentally sustainable to boot! If you’ve never heard of or seen bamboo products, take a look at the brand NooTrees, owned by a Singapore-based company, which makes a whole range of products from wet wipes to tissue packets that are fairly inexpensive. Really, you might not even be able to tell the difference between regular tissues and bamboo ones. The bamboo they use is also hypoallergenic, which means it’s gentle on your skin.

#3 Reuse paper

Of course, digitising your correspondences and transactions is key, but unless you work for a company that’s making a real effort to go paperless, you’ve probably got stacks of paper lying about the office. When looking for a notepad to jot down rough ideas, try using the back of an existing document you no longer need instead of throwing it away. I like taking a stack of papers and cutting them into A5 or A6 size, clipping it together with one of those binder clips and using that as a notepad. If you’ve used both sides, chuck it in the recycling bin instead of throwing it away.

#4 Keep your refrigerator out of direct sunlight

While this might not be true for all refrigerators, it stands to reason that placing something which is meant to chill things in direct sunlight is counterproductive. Keeping your refrigerator in a cool and shaded spot ensures that the cooling element doesn’t have to fight the heat of the sun in order to stay cold. The extra energy required to stay cold in a hot environment also means higher electricity bills!

#5 Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda

This tip is not only eco-friendly but also a huge space saver too. Using various mixtures of vinegar and baking soda can make for a safe and effective way to clean various things in your house, allowing you to get rid of the chemical cleaners that clutter your storage. You can find recipes online that tell you how much of each ingredient to combine, and the non-toxic duo can clean everything from clogged sinks to bathroom tiles, and even carpets too.

#6 Use public transport

Even if it’s just for a week, try using public transport instead of a car or taxi to get to work. It’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly by far. Sure, it means waking up earlier and possibly feeling like a sardine in a tin can on the bus or train, but it’s important if you care about reducing your carbon footprint. On the car ownership front, if you can afford it, there are cars powered by electricity that also entitle you to a rebate of up to $30,000 from the government (yay, savings!), depending on the car model.

#7 Choose energy-efficient appliances

Major household appliances and certain devices come with energy ratings on them that are a guide to how energy-efficient they are. Always go for higher energy ratings when you can, as those require less energy to run effectively and will save you money in the long run.

#8 Grow plants

A (real) plant on your desk doesn’t just help you relax and destress, it also acts as a natural air purifier, especially when you work in a stuffy office. You save money on an expensive air purifier, and have something calming to look at and tend to, too. Just be sure to pick a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require regular watering or direct sunlight so that it won’t perish over the weekend.