Doing something for the environment.

It’d be rather far-fetched to call myself an environmentalist. I mean, I try to do my part as a citizen of Planet Earth, I think about my future offspring and I hope that when I’m finally reduced to dust that they’ll still be able to live and breathe normally, just like how I am now. Sometimes when my parents talk about the days gone by, how the weather used to be so predictable and so much cooler, I wish I could go back in time and experience how it was like.

I believe those days will come back again. All it takes is for everyone to make a few tiny lifestyle changes and the world could slowly and eventually heal itself. Idealistic? Maybe, maybe not.

When I was in UK, I had the opportunity to visit a Tip, a sort of waste and recycling centre where people could dispose stuff like boxes, plastic, electronic & electrical items, garden shrubs and many more. People came in droves, the centre was constantly busy with cars, vans and station wagons filled with junk in the boot. I have to say, I really admire their spirit of disposing unwanted things properly and responsibly. The most surprising thing of all, nobody gets paid for their trips.

Tip or Recycling Centre.
An example of a Tip. Picture from Geograph.

I think Malaysians in general are not new to the idea of recycling. It’s just that we’re so pre-occupied with selling our junk that we’ve lost sense of the true meaning of recycling. To some people, the Paper Lama guy is just the fella that gives some extra money in exchange for old newspapers. What happened to the old papers after that is a none-issue. I’ve been guilty of it too, when I was younger I would get really excited at my KL Tower of old newspapers and would get pissed off if the poor man gave me less money than I believed my tower deserved. These days, I’m just grateful if there’s someone who is willing to take the old papers to the recycling centre.

Recycle old newspapers.
Recycle newspaper because it’s the right thing to do.

When I was living in Singapore, every time after I’d bought something, I’d be asked by the cashier whether I’d need a carrier bag. I think it’s a great practice, especially when you’re buying only small items. I wish all shops in Malaysia would do the same as it’s a good way to remind the consumers that they have hands, hehe. Of course, we as the consumers should be aware of it too. It’s good to remind the cashier that you don’t need a plastic bag when they’re scanning your shopping goods.

Limit the use of plastic bags.
Limit the use of plastic bags.

My boyfriend’s mom carries 3 reusable bags in her car, we have never used a single plastic bag while out shopping with her. I’ve been trying to follow her footsteps but that said, I still forget sometimes. But it’s okay, as long as we’re all constantly trying innit? Bad habits are hard to break but they can be broken.

There are many more things that you can do for the benefit of our environment, such as:

1. Getting a hybrid or electronic car. Here’s a kickass electronic one that’s faster than a Ferrari if you’ve got tonnes of money.
2. Carpooling.
3. Fixing your leaking taps.
4. Saving the water you used to rinse food for watering plants.
5. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
6. Don’t litter indiscriminately.
7. Shop from environmentally conscious corporations.
8. Use public transportation.
9. Bring your own Tupperware when you’re having takeaway food.
10. Use the fan instead of air-conditioning.
11. Have your blog, computer screensaver and wallpaper in dark colours as darker colours consume less energy to display. For example, this blog :)
12. Try composting. It works even in a humid country like ours too, as have been demonstrated by fellow blogger, Julian Hopkins.

Feel free to leave comments on how to make the environment better :)

8 thoughts on “Doing something for the environment.”

  1. The plastic bag thing is starting here, more shops are starting to ask me if I would like a bag rather than assuming (I’ve noticed most 7-11’s are starting to ask).

    I always make a point of refusing the bags unless I REALLY need it.

  2. I live in Italy, and we have to *PAY* for plastic bags, which I think is a good thing. When we go grocery shopping, we have two cloth shopping bags in the car, and we put them to good use.

    1. When disposing of things, we separate our rubbish. Glass bottles, plastic bottles, paper, plastic, cans. One thing good in this otherwise crazy country is that there are bins for different items everywhere. So we dispose of our different items into different bins. Theres even a bin for “organic/compost” material. In some places, theres a bin for old clothes/shoes as well.

    2. Also, always use FLUOROSCENT light bulbs, not halogen. They use loads less energy. Fluoroscent does not mean those bright ugly white lights only. They also come in warm yellow, which some people prefer.

    3. EMPTY YOUR FRIDGE. Some people tend to keep loads of junk in their fridge. Your fridge works a lot harder and thus uses more electricity. My mum is guilty of this. One day, I decided that I shd help her clear out the fridge, and I threw away 3 bags full of junk that would never be used. The difference was amazing. Bottles of water that I chilled took much faster, and the fridge itself felt cooler.

    4. Install water-saving toilets! They dont cost that much. And you save up to 70% more water. Water saving toilets are those with lesser water capacity in them. OR get those with the Big Flush and Small Flush. I use small flush all the time, and it works fine ever for er….the big stuff :P

    Thats all I can think of right now :P

  3. Turn the tap off when you’re doing dishes! My dishwasher is more environmentally friendly than washing by hand simply because people tend to leave the water running too much, especially when they let dishes soak.

  4. yea…it is the same in the states…the cashier always ask me whether i would like a plastic bag or not…many people of course bring those reusable bags as well…

    it is defintely so much different in malaysia i guess….in the states, there is a place where all the people go and recycle stuffs…it is just liek a recycling warehouse or factory…haha..

  5. I think there’s even a no plastic bag day in markets in Penang now. First monday of every month or something like that.

  6. IKEA doesn’t give plastic bags out for free anymore. you have to PAY if you want one.

    1) When you buy vegetables in supermarkets, instead of having one plastic bag for EACH of your vegetables, weigh them WITHOUT the bags first, and then put everything, including the price tags on one bag.

    2) If you don’t have a reusable bag at hand, miminise the number of plastic bags as much as possible by putting more items in the bag. I usually have to do the packing myself to make sure of this.

    3) Er. the black background thingy doesn’t actually work. haha.

    4) Change your old incandescent lightbulbs to energy saving CFLs.

  7. In Belgium where my mother lives, you have to buy special stickers to put on the rubbish bags or they won’t be collected. This encourages people to sort out their waste and bring recyclable stuff to a Tip like the one you mention.

    Composting is even easier in the Malaysian climate, everything rots quicker!

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