Sustainable Living #5/52: Eco-friendly outings

(This post is part of the Sustainable Living series)

Posting late is starting to be a bad habit. However, I was really busy on the weekend of 30 and 31 March, attending Anime Garden till late at night.

This event also provides me with the chance to write this post with some tips for eco-friendly outings.

1. Bring your own (frozen) water bottle

Frozen water bottle, towel and insulated bag

Frozen water bottle

Beverages and food at events and tourist attractions can be really overpriced. Save some money by bringing your own water bottle, pre-chilled if necessary.

This useful trick was taught to me by my mother:

  • Fill the bottle about half or 3/4 full with water (or your preferred beverage). Do not over-fill.
  • Unscrew the cap and put it back on as a cover, do not screw, press down or tighten. Just cover the opening lightly, leaving it loose for air to enter or escape.
  • Put the bottle in the freezer the night before your outing. The water or other liquid will expand as it freezes, so it’s important not to over-fill or cap it too tightly.
  • Bring it along for your outing in an insulated bag.

Tada! You now have a cold drink that stays chilled for HOURS while the ice gradually melts. If it’s a short event and you need it to melt faster, just freeze a half-full bottle and top it up with water before packing it.

2. Bring your own towel

Reduce waste by bringing a reusable towel or handkerchief instead of wet tissues. Just wrap it around the frozen water bottle (#1 above) to absorb condensation and chill the towel. You now have a cold towel, perfect for relief from hot weather.

In addition, bringing your own towel is an opportunity to show off your fandom! The photo shows my “Neon Genesis Evangelion” towel. Nowadays a lot of merchandise includes towels or handkerchiefs, so just get one of your favourite series / character / artiste.

3. Bring your own bag

Reusable big tote bag (Snow Miku and other Vocaloids)

If you plan to buy any merchandise or collect freebies, bring your own bag and avoid taking plastic bags. As with #2, this is also an opportunity to show off your fandom with a themed tote bag or itabag. The photo shows my huge Snow Miku tote bag that’s big enough to fit A3 size.

4. Don’t litter, dispose of your rubbish properly

This should be a rule that 100% of people should follow 100% of their lives, not just at events.

I’m tired of seeing the hypocrisy of locals blaming “foreign workers” for littering at events, when 99% of the attendees are locals and most of the litter is from us. Plenty of marine trash found during beach clean-ups is thrown away by Singaporeans (fresh cigarette butts etc.). A look at our drains will show heaps of locally-generated litter.

So stop blaming other people all the time and take a good hard look at ourselves. Singapore is not a clean city, it is a CLEANED city. Singapore is now very wealthy, so instead of campaigning / nagging people not to litter, the solution is to hire lots of cleaners to fix the mess. Of course, they’re not around 24/7, so in the meantime the litter gets blown or washed away into the sea.

Sorry, I don’t think money gives anyone the right to mess up the environment. If you litter, you’re an asshole, pure and simple, no matter how much you donate to charity or other good deeds. It’s a disregard for the environment and disregard for other people: event organisers, other attendees, and the cleaning staff.

As columnist Neil Humphreys once wrote, you wouldn’t simply drop their pants and piss in public even if you urgently needed to go, so “there’s no rubbish bin” is not a valid excuse. Hold on to your trash until you find one.

More posts in the Sustainable Living series:

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