7 Ways That Being Part Of Singapore’s Green Plan Will Help You Save Money
STORY: Chris Toh
28 May 2021
If you’ve not thought about going green before, maybe the new Green Plan for 2030 can kickstart your journey. There are some tips in there that will not only curb the effects of climate change, but also save you enough cash to buy that new Xbox.
Try out these simple steps.
1. BYO lunchbox, drinks container and utensils when you da bao
The idea: Less need for plastic, styrofoam and paper packaging means stalls don’t have to buy so much of it, so they too will save money (and hopefully, they’ll pass on those savings to you).
How you save: You’ll have to invest in a water-tight lunchbox (preferably BPA-free), but you’ll earn it back in a month or two. Most stalls charge you an extra 20 to 30 cents when you da bao. Assuming you da bao twice every day, you can potentially save up to 60 cents each day – or $219 a year!
2. Take public transport instead of owning a car
The idea: According to 2019 stats, we have more than 600,000 cars on the road. Fewer cars driven means less exhaust pollution.
How you save: If you buy a new car, you potentially need to spend around $16,000 a year – this includes the price of the car (a cheap one), annual parking, fuel and insurance. If you calculate a daily spend of two $2 bus rides, two $2 MRT rides – and we’ll throw in $20 for rainy-day car rides – you’ll only spend $8,760 a year.
Alternatively, if you want to save even more – ride a bicycle. The PCN is constantly upgraded and as long as you observe all necessary safety measures, you can get to where you need to be without fuss and get fit too!
3. Use electricity and water wisely
The idea: Using less electricity or water eases the strain on our energy resources.
How you save: Look for “energy saver” stickers on appliances: the more ticks the sticker has, the less electricity it consumes, and the less you pay. According to the Energy Efficiency Programme Office, if you change from a 2-tick aircon to a 5-tick aircon, you can save about $220 a year.
You can also choose an electricity provider that uses carbon-neutral generators or renewable sources. Examples include iSwitch, PacificLight, Sunseap and OHM Energy. This could save you around $15 per month, or $180 per year.
Observe other useful habits, too. Set your aircon thermostat to 25 deg C (that’s more than enough to cool you down on hot days). Turn off the tap when you are soaping; and unplug your appliances when you’re not using them or switch off the power socket. All this will help reduce your monthly power bills.
4. Eat greens to go green
The idea: A 2020 study published in The Lancet Planetary Health found that replacing meat with plant-based foods cut the greenhouse gas emissions of people’s diets by up to 50%.
How you save: Guess what, fresh veg is a lot cheaper than meat: 300g of chicken breast at NTUC can cost $3, while 220g of xiao bai cai costs 90 cents. Tip: If you’re a regular at the wet market, the vendors do give you a little something extra sometimes.
5. Marie Kondo your life
The idea: Yes, she was right: the less you feel you need, the less you’ll buy, the more you’ll save.
How you save: See above. Oh wait, you’ve already bought all that stuff? Sell your pre-loved items if you can, and make back some of what you’ve spent.
6. Go paperless
The idea: Less paper used equals fewer trees killed equals fewer greenhouse gases equals a cooler planet (in every sense of the word).
How you save: Digital newspaper subscriptions cost a fraction of what you’d have to pay for the physical paper.
E-books (average price $9.99 for a novel) or audiobooks ($13 for a monthly subscription) also cost less than a physical book, which averages of $22. If you only buy one book a month, you can save up to $144 a year.
Alternatively, consider borrowing from the library instead of buying. You also get less clutter at home. (See previous point.)
Also consider ditching paper towels and use that old Nickelback T-shirt that you don’t wear anymore to soak up those spills. A six-pack of paper towels averages around $5, so you’d have saved $60 a year (if you use six rolls a month).
7. Get the SP Utilities app
Finally, you’ll want a way to track all the good eco-friendly work you’ve done. This app can help you track your carbon emissions or utilities usage, and you can earn rewards with the easy GreenUp challenges, where you can redeem points earned for vouchers or movie tickets.