10 Simple Ways to Cool the Earth

You already know that global warming is serious and that we collectively need to do our part to cool it. 

1. Pack your own water.

Rather than buying a plastic bottle every time you need a sip, pack your own H2O. Sturdy, reusable bottles last and are easy to clean. You’ll save money while you spare the earth, and you won’t need to find a place to recycle your disposable plastic water bottles.

2. Switch light bulbs.

Leonardo DeCaprio encourages everyone to replace standard household and office light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. You’ll pay more up front, but will save about $60 for the full life of the bulb. Why not join in?

3. Skip the solo drive.

At least once a week, ditch the lone commute. Ride your bike, carpool, take the MRT or tele-commute. Find a carpool buddy within your own company, encourage your HR department to look into innovative programs such as ridesharing.

4. Kick the idle off.

Waiting for your carpool buddy outside the house? Cut the engine. When you turn your car off, you reduce the release of carbon dioxide. You save fuel too. Remove just 10 minutes of idling, and avoid putting 550 pounds of carbon dioxide in the air yearly.

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5. Carry a portable coffee mug.

How many times a day do you dash to the coffee shop and bring a paper cup back to your office? Invest in a ceramic or stainless steel mug to reuse every day. Lots of coffee shops sell them. Starbucks even offers you a discount if you use your own mug! They’re easy to carry and easy to clean.

6. Keep the plastic off your clothes.

Add two easy steps to your dry cleaning routine: (1) bring a garment bag to the cleaners; (2) insert your own hangers into the bag. Have the cleaner put your clean clothes on your own hangers in the garment bag instead of using plastic covers. Pop your clothes straight into the closet when you get home, save the dry cleaner money and spare the earth.

7. Reduce packaging.

While you’re losing the plastic on your clothes, limit other packaging as well. Sometimes you can find cereal in just a plastic bag, rather than cardboard and plastic. Purchase in bulk. Buy from wet markets using your own bags. Use concentrated items when it comes to laundry detergent and cleaners. Along with your own grocery bags, bring back those small plastic veggie bags for re-use too. Move beyond just tearing off a new bag at the store for your lone zucchini. Some things can just sit on top of other food.

8. Buy recycled paper towels.

When you buy paper towels for the office or home, why not grab the recycled option? Also opt for recycled toilet paper, tissues and napkins. The average person uses 6 napkins a day. If everyone started by cutting out just one of those, or using a 100% recycled one instead, it would save about a billion pounds of paper waste a year.

9. Don’t trash your cell phone.

Or other electronics. Prevent landfills from turning into seas of gadgets. Mobile phones alone pile up tons of waste and leak toxins such as mercury and lead into the soil. Sell your equipment on eBay, donate or recycle it. One entrepreneur says, “I’m amazed at how easy it is to sell old electronics on eBay. I sold a slide projector and computers… all stuff I had outgrown.” You can also donate your items to non-profits. Or simply pass on something to someone else.

10. Bring your own grocery bags.

Do grocery bags build up in your home? They do in other households too. Singaporeans use millions of plastic bags per year, most don’t get recycled. Bring a canvas shopping bag instead or reuse the bags you already have. You can also pick up canvas bags at Carrefour when you make a donation. Form a new habit. Using your own bags is easy!

By now you can see that you don’t have to sell all of your belongings and live in a tent to help preserve the environment. Pick one change you’re committed to making and begin practicing it. Whether it’s packing your own water bottle, bringing a canvas bag to the market or passing your cell phone on to the next user, each step you take does make a difference. Take action today so that we can savor the earth for generations to come.