Is it costly to go green in Singapore?

In recent years, Singapore has begun to take major measures toward a more sustainable lifestyle. The Green Plan 2030 is a city-wide program that aims to change the way we live, work, and play. Students and adults have been encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle things for many years.

There are five major pillars. City in Nature is trying to make Singapore a greener, more livable, and more sustainable place to live. Sustainable Living is a new way of life that focuses on minimizing carbon emissions, keeping the environment clean, and conserving resources and energy. Energy Reset is to reduce Singapore’s carbon footprint, cleaner energy is being used and energy efficiency is being increased in households and offices. Green Economy focuses in pursuing green growth prospects in order to create new jobs, restructure industries, and leverage sustainability as a competitive advantage. Building Singapore’s climate resilience and improving food security is the goal of Resilient Future.

These efforts, as ambitious as they are, may not be enough to pull everyone into the circular, green economy. The answer is simple: being totally green is sometimes prohibitively expensive for most people.

Going green is, indeed, easier said than done. Many environmentally friendly items have a higher price tag, which many Singaporeans are reluctant or unable to pay. This is not to suggest they are unconcerned with the environment; in fact, four out of five Singaporeans are concerned about it.

However, practicality is also important. As a result, just 35% of these Singaporeans are willing to spend up to 10% more for environmentally friendly goods. Consider household essentials. In their customary forms, kitchenware, dinnerware, home utensils, cleaning supplies, and other non-durable goods may be economical. Nonetheless, their more environmentally friendly competitors are not nearly as economical as their more eco-friendly counterparts, making it difficult for Singaporeans to commit to the green economy.

The average mark-up of eco-friendly household items is around 156 percent, according to a sampling of more than 210 household products. That’s a significant price; it’s no surprise that most consumers are hesitant to go completely green. Even the least expensive item on the list, non-durable household goods like biodegradable toilet paper or reusable bags, has seen a 22 percent price increase.

Despite the high figures, proponents of sustainable products may claim that they are worthwhile because they are reusable. This is true, however it may not matter to some customers. After all, many eco-friendly products don’t save you money until months after you buy them.

Buying a box of plastic wrap for S$3.36 instead of a pack of reusable silicone covers for S$18.30 makes a lot more sense for those on a budget. The cost savings of the reusable lids wouldn’t show up for another five months and that’s assuming you buy a box of plastic cling wrap every month.

Short-term pleasure, defined as selecting an immediate benefit over a longer-term advantage, is more than a petty indulgence. It’s a serious problem for low-income families, who may struggle to afford more expensive green items because they’re more expensive up front.

While decreased costs may aid customers in making more sustainable options, they aren’t the only aspect to consider. Let’s be honest. Even if companies cut expenses, sustainable products will almost certainly be more expensive. Consumers, on the other hand, have made it clear that they will pay more for environmentally friendly goods if certain conditions are met.

Culture has an impact on how we shop and whether or not we shop at all. Reusing, repurposing, or mending objects to make them last longer is a terrific method for everyone to practice sustainability. Lower-income populations already do this, and many in Asia still consider purchasing new to be a symbol of financial security. Yes, this is bad for the environment, but altering it must start with people who already have the means to stop consuming as a habit.

It’s also worthwhile to take a step back and analyze what really is included in a price tag. Prices rarely reflect an item’s full environmental cost, whether in terms of carbon emissions or garbage generation. Lowering prices will not improve this; in fact, if done recklessly, it will make things worse. A better approach could be to consider how we, as a society, can ensure that everyone has access to basic essentials in environmentally friendly ways.

However, when it comes to achieving sustainability targets in Singapore, everyday Singaporeans can do more than changing just their eating habits. In fact, people can also change the way they shop for clothes, among other things.

Seastainable is a Singapore-based company that promotes marine conservation in Southeast Asia. Individuals are encouraged to limit their plastic consumption by using their own straws, according to Seastainable. The proceeds from these straws have gone toward sponsoring 33 conservation projects in five countries.

https://www.seastainable.co/

Singapore’s first and largest exchanging platform is Fashion Pulpit. Since July 2018, 75,000 fashion items have been preserved as part of this initiative. You could conserve enough water for one person to drink for two and a half years by simply trading shirts instead of buying new ones.

https://www.thefashionpulpit.com/

BYO Singapore began in 2017 with 430 retailers on board. This support increased to 1,053 stores from 132 brands by 2020. Customers that bring their own reusable bags, bottles, or containers are rewarded at BYO establishments.

http://www.byosingapore.com/

In the longer term perhaps costs of these goods would come down as there would be a stronger push by consumers and companies. In the meantime, everyone can do our part to at least re-use and recycle.

Check out my related post: How do you make 3D printing environmentally sustainable?


Interesting reads:

https://sashasfinefoods.com/blogs/news/the-greening-of-the-red-dot

https://www.timeout.com/singapore/shopping/the-best-shops-for-eco-friendly-products-in-singapore

https://sustainablesg.com/

https://www.wwf.sg/study-reveals-a-clear-unmet-consumer-demand-for-sustainable-products-in-singapore-accenture-and-wwf/

https://www.quorn.sg/news/singaporean-food-sustainability-initiatives

https://www.ricemedia.co/are-sustainable-products-affordable-in-singapore/

https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-for-thought/article/detail/tools-of-the-trade-feature—sustainability-@-tampines-park-part-1

https://www.temasek.com.sg/en/news-and-resources/news-room/news/2021/Temasek-establishes-Asia-Sustainable-Foods-Platform-accelerate-commercialisation-sustainable-foods

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s