Make Your Home A Better Place Now

This weekend’s post is about reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfill. Discover organizations such as TerraCycle and the RED Group as well as learn how you could recycle the “non-recyclables”.

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I learned how to protect the environment through school and my parents. We recycle newspapers, magazines and we limit our use of plastic bags by storing reusable bags in the car. Our actions demonstrate that we care for the environment but I don’t think we’re doing much to save the environment at all.

Although my parents use recycling bags when running errands, they often come back from the wet market with more plastic bags. My mom collects glass jars and plastic containers and recycle them in the city but she throws away plastic packaging when she unpacks the groceries. Now do you think I’d do better than my parents? Unfortunately, no. Sometimes I accept plastic bags from vendors because I use them to line my trash bin. I also throw away plastic packaging when I unpack my groceries.

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My mom uses a tiffin carrier to store me and my brother’s breakfast. Source: Project Bly

A few months ago, I finally decided to do what I can to change my current habits in order to make my home a better place. The three categories I need to work on is recycling beauty products, oral care products and soft plastics the right way.

Think about how you’d normally dispose beauty, body care and oral care products? Do you put them into the regular recycling bin? If so, you need to stop doing that! According to the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority (NAWMA), we can only put the following items into the yellow recycling bin:

  • newspapers, paper, magazines
  • cardboard
  • glass bottles and jars
  • plastic containers (soft drinks, milk, ice cream, margarine and yogurt)
  • aluminium
  • steel cans

Why is that you say? Because the type of plastic used to create the tubes and containers for beauty, body care and oral care products are different. Hence, you need to recycle them through a different channel. If you live in Australia, you could do that through TerraCycle. TerraCycle collaborates with major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers and small business in 20 different countries to recycle coffee capsules, pens, plastic gloves and more. TerraCycle offers free recycling programs and solutions to make recycling a part of our lifestyle. All you have to do is sign up (it’s free), start collecting (from home, office or school), download the free shipping labels and send your waste to be recycled (you can opt to drop them off). Members are rewarded with TerraCycle points which they can redeem for cash and donate to a non-profit organization or school of their choice. I signed up for the Beauty Products Recycling Program a few months ago and I’ve collected up to 10 products to date. TerraCycle can expect a huge box of goodies once I’m ready to move out!

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Tom Szaky was 19 years old when he first got the idea for TerraCycle. The Princeton freshman wanted to eliminate waste by making quality fertilizer from food waste. Szaky went through a hard time and was close to giving up until he met Suman Sinha, TerraCycle’s first investor. Read the rest of the story here.

If you’re not sure what to do with the plastic packaging you get from the supermarkets, don’t fret. You can recycle them through the REDcycle program. RED Group is a Melbourne based consulting and recycling organisation that developed and implemented the program that allows consumers to recycle soft plastic such as bread bag, pasta and rice bags, old green bags, cereal box liners, just to name a few. Over the years, RED Group has teamed up with Coles, Woolworths and other Australia’s well-loved brands to make recycling easier for consumers.

Although major supermarkets in Australia do take part in this green initiative, I feel that they could’ve done a better job. We know that consumers and manufacturers use a stupid amount of plastic everyday (if you don’t, look it up) so I assume major supermarkets would have a REDcycle bin in all of their outlets. But it turns out that I have to go to specific places to drop off the soft plastics I’ve collected. What’s even more frustrating is that the Woolworths I shop at is located in one of the busiest areas in the city and yet there’s not a single REDcycle bin in sight. If they don’t make recycling convenient for consumers, how are we supposed to reduce the amount of plastic packaging that goes out to the landfill?

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TerraCycle’s main office: the desks are separated with items like old records and cork boards. Source: Dishmag.com
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Office Lobby: the furniture, chairs and table are made from secondhand materials. Source: Dishmag.com
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The upcycled “carden”. Source: Dishmag.com

Usually I’d vent about it and then move on. But this time I decided to write to Woolworths. I explained the situation and noted down the benefits of having a REDcycle bin at QV centre. They wrote back saying that they’re aware of the situation and is in the process of rolling out the REDcycle program to the rest of the outlets. I’m so glad to hear that.

Take a moment to reflect on your current lifestyle habits. Do you consider yourself an environmentally friendly person or you don’t really care? If you’re in the latter category, why do you think that? Consuming is a big part of our lives and it’s worth taking the initiative to reduce unnecessary waste. Make your home a better place now and be mindful when you consume.

 

You can make a difference.

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What’s [Unusually] Hot? #072017

Lately, Australians are loving the Harry Potter costumes while the U.S. and U.K. citizens have fountain pens and tumble dryers on their minds. What else is in the top 10 list for these 3 countries?

Hello lovely people! August is here and Spring is fast approaching. I have a feeling that my running shoes will hit the roads more often in the following weeks!

The last time I wrote up a trend report was three months ago and I thought it’s about time to discover what consumers are loving lately.

Australia

1. Harry Potter Costumes

Coincidentally, my friends are I are planning to do a Harry Potter marathon soon. Should we be wearing the costumes while we’re at it? Maybe. 

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Source: The Sun

2. Discontinued iPods 

My brother found one on the street years ago and I still have mine kept away in a box somewhere in my hometown. I wonder how much I’ll get back if I sell them now…

3. Rick & Morty Merchandise

Not a fan (I can’t stand Morty’s voice) but my boyfriend loves this series. 

4. Air plants

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Source: Pinterest

5. Google Home

An air freshener-looking assistant anyone? Hey Google, play me Atomic Blonde’s soundtrack. Oh and put that on repeat until I tell you otherwise. 

6. Seiko 5

An oldie from 1963 is making a comeback. I actually quite like the design.

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7. Magnetic Eyelashes

For those of you who struggle with glue, magnets could be your friend. 

8. Vinyl Records

If you use vinyl records to decorate your bedroom wall, it’s time to take them down.

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Source: Analog Jazz

9. Bose headphones

10. Wedding dresses

What type of dress do you like? Long sleeve, sheer and unconventional designs are my go-to.

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Source: Praise Wedding

United States

1. Fountain Pen

2. Polaris Slingshot

I have no idea these exist but they sure look cool.

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Source: Ultimate Motorcycling

3. MacBook

4. OMEGA Speedmaster

“The Omega Speedmaster wasn’t the first watch in space, but the first worn on the moon, on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin on July 21st 1969. Neil Armstrong had left his Speedmaster in the Lunar Module as a back-up for the onboard timekeeping system.” Ablogtowatch.com

5. JBL

6. Pinball machine

7. Brandy Melville

This brand is an interesting one. It doesn’t have an ABOUT US section and most of its Instagram posts only have #brandyusa in the caption. Despite that, Brandy Melville has a strong following of 3.9m and I bet they are stylish young women who enjoys everyday life and live in basics.

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Rose Bodysuit $28
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Robbie Dress $38

8. Pencil case

When I was in primary school, all I wanted was to change up my pencil case and school bag every once in a while. Of course my mum would tell me I don’t need them. Can anyone relate?

9. Vintage Pyrex

I’m pretty sure my future kitchen would look something like this…

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10. Star Wars Black Series

United Kingdom

1. Tumble Dryer

Top on the list! How unusual.

2. Board games

3. Philips One Blade

4. Fleetwood Mac

I checked this band out on Spotify and realized I’ve heard Everywhere over the radio when I was younger.

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5. Miitopia

“Miitopia starts off with a familiar story: A heroic Mii is called upon by the citizens of the vast kingdom to save the land. With a party of three other Miis, the character journeys from town to town, battling enemies, unlocking treasure chests and taking down bosses throughout their quest.”

6. Star Wars bobble head

7. Passchendaele

For those of you who aren’t clued-up, here’s a summary of the Third Battle of Ypres (July 31 – November 6, 1917). 

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Soldiers during the First World War’s battle of Passchendaele. Credit: PA

When the British commander Sir Douglas Haig received a warning about a German blockade, he decided to lead his men into the Belgian coast to destroy the German submarine bases there. Days into the attack, Ypres suffered the heaviest rain for 30 years causing tanks to immobilize, rifles to clog up and turn shelters into swamps. As if things couldn’t get worst, the constant shelling during the war smashed the drainage systems, leading to the deaths of countless men and animals as they drown in the quagmire. 

8. Golf clubs iron set

9. Adidas NMD_XR1

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10. Huel

Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food ​that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need, plus at least 100% of the European Union’s “Daily Recommended Amounts” of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals​. Huel is 100% vegan (better for the environment and animals), super convenient, high in protein (148g per 2000 calories) and fibre (35g), contains just 4.6 grams of sugar per 2000 calories (no added sugar), requires minimal packaging and has a shelf-life of 12 months (so zero food waste).

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Source: Foodbev Media

If you want to try this, I recommend that you do some research and listen to what others have to say before you commit. 

 

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Watch What You Throw P. 1

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Source: http://www.wastelandmovie.com

We tend to think that our actions have little impact on the environment. But I beg to differ.

Malaysia produces about 30,000 tonnes of waste every day and only 5% are recycled. Institutions in Malaysia sometimes run programs or seminars to educate students about the impact recycling and provide tips on how to get started. My family reuses plastic bags, glass jars and plastic containers. We also recycle our newspapers and magazines. Some of us try to do our part but it is not enough. Growing up in Malaysia, I realized that:

  1. A lot of Malaysians still don’t know about the benefits of recycling (especially the older generation).
  2. Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of recycling bins around the city to make it easier for communities to recycle.
  3. Finally, I have a feeling that most people think that engaging in recycling activities won’t make a difference on the environment. Cameron Brick, a PhD candidate in Social Psychology from the University of California, points out that people look at the big problem and often decide that there’s nothing they could do that would create enough change to be worth the effort.

Well-run recycling programs cost less to operate than waste collection, land-filling, and incineration. National Recycling Coalition

In my opinion, an action, no matter how big or small, can create an impact. Every day, people around the world buy, consume and produce waste. If we all take responsibility towards our environment (or at least try to), do you think that will have an impact? Yes!

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Source: http://www.momjunction.com

Now, I’m not saying that the Malaysian government isn’t making an effort. In fact, I found out that the waste segregation law was recently implemented in K.L., Putrajaya and several other states with the goal to increase the recycling rate to 22% by 2020. Residents living in these states are required to separate waste into categories or they will be fined RM 50 for the first offence, RM 100 for the second and RM 500 for the third. For subsequent offences, court action will be taken. These punishments are certainly harsh but Malaysia still has a long way to go as most foreign countries have recycling rates between 50-60%.

Considering that the average person recycles (or composts) 1.5 pounds of municipal solid waste (MSW) every day, it can add up. Every ton of recycled MSW saves 2.27 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. How Stuff Works

One thing I really like about living in Melbourne is that recycling bins are easily and readily accessible. Unlike in Malaysia, most residents here have their own recycle bin. The Victorian government makes an effort to encourage recycling through a rewards program called GreenMoney. Although it was initially trialed in Southbank and Docklands, it has since been implemented to all City of Melbourne residents after its huge success. GreenMoney allows communities to gain points through recycling, which can then be used to redeem vouchers or get discounts on food, beauty products and more. When more people join the program (those living in the same building), more points will be gathered collectively. This encourages us to actively influence others to practice the habit of recycling.

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Source: melbourne.greenmoney.com.au

Besides that, GreenMoney sends out monthly newsletters (through e-mails of course) to alert its members of challenges and programs that keep the community engaged. Last month, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) hosted a free screening for the documentary called Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story. Of course I had to check it out. I love documentaries!

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story documents filmmakers Jen Rustemeyer’s and Grant Baldwin’s journey on uncovering just how much food is wasted across the supply chain (and why). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 133 billion pounds of food is wasted each year in the United States alone. The staggering amount inspired Jen and Grant to take on the challenge to survive on discarded food for six months.

“Those date labels -especially the “best before” date – it’s really all about peak freshness, it has absolutely nothing to do with safety.” Rustemeyer

How do you think they will fare? I highly recommend that you watch the documentary to discover for yourself.

Documentary Just Eat It, part of the local Film Series by the South Cariboo Sustainablity Society in 100 Mile House
Source: iris.theaureview.com

Happy Monday and stay tuned for Watch What You Throw P. 2!