Published 10 April 2023 ● Last Updated on 11 August 2023
This Earth Day, let’s check how well our lifestyle choices stack up, as we aim towards a low-carbon world!
Here we have a series of questions on everyday choices we are all faced with. Pick the response that best describes what you do most often, and score yourself by adding the number assigned to each response. You’ll find yourself on course to discover which choices cost the earth the least, and your end score will tell you if you are on track to be a zero-waste hero.
Yes, scoring zero is something to celebrate when it comes to our Earth Scorecard!
1. When you want to update your wardrobe, you:
a. check your credit card balance—and then tell yourself that you only live once
b. declutter your closet, donate unworn items, and buy new clothes with sustainability credentials
c. make a mental checklist of exactly what you need and go to a preloved store to pick it up
d. call your friends to set a date for a shopping spree
e. choose to mend your slightly worn/loose or tight clothes
Pro Tip – New to the pre-loved movement? Get started here. While sustainability credentials on new garments are welcome, the most eco-friendly action would be to rehome existing garments.
Score yourself: a – 2, b – 1, c – 0, d – 2, e – 0
2. Your family is over-using water while brushing, shaving, and bathing, so you:
a: let it go; others are beyond your control
b: lecture them and let them know how wrong it is to waste water
c: erm, do nothing. You too are guilty of running the tap idly.
d: lead by example – keep your showers under 5 minutes, no idle running water, and so on
Pro Tip – Target showers to reduce both your water footprint and the utility bill – they account for the biggest part of water use in Singaporean households! While anger at wasted water is justified – diplomacy and modeling best behavior are better tools to induce long-term change among others.
Score yourself: a – 2, b – 1, c – 2, d – 0
3. When you go grocery shopping, you always:
a: ask for plastic bags to carry things conveniently
b: carry your own bag
c: buy a paper or cloth bag from the shop to pack up responsibly
d. use biodegradable bags that the store has switched to for avoiding plastic
Pro-Tip – Don’t leave home without your zero-waste toolkit! Target reducing all disposables – not only plastics; after all, even paper and cloth bags consume valuable resources.
Score yourself: a – 3, b – 0, c – 2, d – 2
4. You are off to work, you:
a: drive your own car; a guilt-free hybrid / e-vehicle
b: take public transport because you have time and the place is well-connected
c: carpool with your friends/partner, even if it means getting to work a little early
d. walk/cycle to work – the benefits of living close enough to work!
e. use your vehicle and drive there alone.
Pro Tip – Small changes in our daily practices can add up to a sizable reduction in our personal carbon footprints. Toyota Vios – one of Singapore’s most popular cars – emits about 150g of carbon dioxide for every kilometre driven. In contrast, traveling by train emits around 13g of carbon dioxide per km.
Score yourself: a – 1, b – 0, c – 0, d – 0, e – 3
5. You are at a buffet and the spread looks sumptuous, you:
a: pile up food on the plate because everything looks so yum
b: take one helping at a time – you can come back for more of what you like!
c: use the opportunity for your kids/yourself to explore their palate – instruct them to try everything
d. clean your plate by eating everything you picked.
Pro Tip – Cut personal food waste at source by taking only what you need! Food waste makes up 12% of Singapore’s national bin, adding economic and landfill burdens to our nation. In global statistics, if food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter—surpassed only by China and the United States.
Score yourself: a – 2, b – 0, c – 2, d – 0
6. It’s hot, hot, hot, so you:
a: turn the air conditioning to full blast to escape the heat
b: keep calm, set the aircon temperature to 25 degrees, and carry on
c: keep calm, use just the fan, and carry on
d: blast the air conditioning for a bit, and then switch it off to save the $
Pro Tip – Invest in a fan for long-term savings and comfort. With air conditioning, maximise energy efficiency by setting it to 25 degrees. Temperature control – heating as well as cooling. – is the biggest consumer of energy in buildings.
Score yourself: a – 3, b – 1, c – 0, d – 1
7. You are planning a big party, and to handle the food extravaganza, you:
a: make things easier to manage by buying disposable spoons, straws, and plates
b: search around for biodegradable cutlery in the supermarket aisle to get better disposables
c: use your stack – and even borrow around! – for reusable plastic/melamine plates.
d: ask the caterer if he can get reusable crockery, or find a rental service to do so
Pro Tip – Parties can be sustainable because fun and earth friendly are not really opposites! Reuse and borrow materials – be it crockery, or decor – to keep things low cost and low carbon.
Score yourself: a – 2, b – 2, c – 0, d – 0. Give yourself a bonus -1 if you order plant-based for parties!
8. You have just moved homes and as you begin putting the new place together you:
a: declutter and sort items so you can recycle/donate/resell appropriately
b: throw all the things you have not used in a long time into the trash can
c: put all the things you have not used in a long time into the recycling bin
Pro Tip – Declutter with care – rehoming is better than recycling, and everything is not recyclable! When non-recyclable materials contaminate recyclable materials, they make recycling difficult, and in some cases, practically impossible.
Score yourself: a – 0, b -2, c – 1
9. Your sofa is fraying and bringing the living rooms down, so you:
a: use the chance to redo the living room with brand new furniture, while disposing of the old pieces
b. look for an upholsterer to renew the sofa
c: dispose or sell the old piece while buying a new one
Pro Tip – Few new is better than all new! Preloved is always a better choice to buy as it saves the earth of precious raw materials.
Score yourself: a – 3, b – 0, c – 1
10. When you’re looking to travel somewhere new, you:
a: book the cheapest flight to the most exotic destination farthest away from you
b: avoid the airport and explore local spaces
c: carbon offset for your next getaway while exploring culture/nature
Pro Tip – Go green and travel clean! Travel opens vistas like nothing else and being a mindful traveller ensures the Earth is not adversely affected as well. Cutting down on flying is the best individual action to reduce carbon emissions!
Score yourself: a – 3, b – 0, c – 0
Time to check your Earth Scorecard!
- If your score is 11+, hmmm. The Earth needs you to empathize and act. It is never too late to start!
- If your score is 6 – 10, you’re on the right track. Delve into our pro tips to reduce your impact.
- If your score is 1 – 5, you’re doing a great job!
- If you totaled an absolute zero or a minus 1 – write to us – we need to hear from you!