August 2013 - page 144

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environmental topics. If you
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Waste is a huge problem, especially in places with
limited space like Singapore. Only 60 percent of
solid waste is recyclable, while the rest gets buried
in landfills. Located 8km south of Singapore, the
350-hectare Semakau Landfill is our
facility. What can we do to prevent it running out
of space? Here are three suggestions: upcycle,
share and rent.
Waste Not,
Want Not
Up We Go
Critics have argued that recycling might be more damaging to the
environment than producing something from scratch using new raw
materials. They point out that the cost and energy used to collect and
transport recycled material sometimes outweighs the environmental
So, what’s the alternative? In recent years, upcycling has become
the latest buzzword: using discarded materials to make new and
completely different products.
Stocked online at
, German
turns the sturdy, waterproof but extremely light fabric
of airline life vests into functional everyday
products like laptop bags. Upcyclette also
, and
Vuerich B
, a range of strong, flexible
sunglasses handmade from the plied
maple wood of skateboards. And
because these upcycled products use
materials that can vary in colour and
pattern, each piece is unique.
It’s a familiar concept in Moscow, Melbourne, Paris, London and other
major cities. Now New York has introduced a bike-sharing system
to encourage the use of environmentally friendly forms of transport
and reduce the need for motorised vehicles. In Singapore,
has launched the concept in two locations. Bike-sharing
is especially useful when your final destination is just two or three
stops from the MRT station; you don’t need to take a bus, so you
reduce your carbon footprint. Consider bike-sharing, or even car
sharing, as a green way of commuting.
Rent, Don’t Buy
As societies become more affluent, people can be caught up
in consumerist behaviour without realising that it’s affecting the
environment and depleting our natural resources.
Fenni Wang, co-founder of
Rent Tycoons
an online peer-to-peer rental service, hopes to change the mindset
of these consumers. She started the website with her partner, Swito
Yuber, to encourage green behaviour and reduce consumption by
renting instead of buying items that might only be used for only
a short period of time. According to Fenni, renting or sharing is
“collaborative consumption”; its positive effects include minimising
waste and reducing personal expenditure.
Another plus is that owners of idle resources can rent them out,
while earning a bit of extra cash too.
bag made
from old
fire hoses
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