#YottoCare Series: Eco-friendly substitutes for everyday essentials

Sustainable living is the current buzz phrase, but it’s easier said than done. If you’re looking to dive head first into to a “sustainable” lifestyle, you may find yourself overwhelmed as to where to start. After all, it’s much more complicated than just refusing that extra plastic bag for takeaway foods. Let’s break it down with this curated guide to replacing your everyday essentials with eco-friendly substitutes.

 Reusable Bags instead of Plastic Bags

…’nuff said. Repeated one-time use of plastic bags add up to a landfill of deadly waste. Sounds bad? It is — plastic bags never full degrade, ever! They continue to pollute the environment as micro plastics that absorb toxins, even after 500+ years. They basically do nothing for the planet, and ruin the aesthetics of your #ootd. Instead, opt for reusable mesh or tote/jute bags when you’re out grocery shopping. It’s worth the tiny bit of investment, and as a bonus you get to enjoy looking stylish while going about your auntie-errands.

 Eco Mesh Bag ($11.90). Available in 2 colours: Natural and Blue.

Wax Wraps instead of Plastic Covers and Containers

Step aside, cling wrap. You’re difficult to use, we always end up using more than necessary, and unlike plastic bags we can’t even store you under the sink for reuse. Enter beeswax wraps, a pliable alternative to covering bowls of leftovers or half-used groceries. They come in three sizes to suit your different needs; use small wraps for leftover vegetables, as caps for mason jars or preserving that odd wedge of lemon or avocado; medium wraps are great for covering up lil’ snack dishes, while larger wraps can be shaped over most bowls or containers to form a tight seal so your leftover dinner stays fresh for lunch the following day.

Be creative and mould it (literally) into anything you’d like! Its reusable, water resistant and antibacterial properties makes it ideal for covering and protecting food items. With a variety of colourful and fun designs in the market, storage organization has certainly never looked this aesthetic.

Spruce up your pantry with beautiful wax wrap sets ($21.90 - $26.90).

Sponge Cloths instead of Paper Towels

 Hands up - who’s guilty of unwrapping a new roll of paper towel every few days? In a shared household, that’s 10-15 rolls a month, or another $8-12 worth of unrecycled waste that additionally incurs a hefty carbon footprint to produce and package. At that cost, consider introducing sponge cloths to your kitchen instead.

 Replacing up to 17 rolls of paper towel, they can absorb 15x of its own weight in liquid (up to 3/4 of a cup) and will clean all kitchen and bath surfaces including granite, stainless steel, laminate and glass top stoves without streaking. It’s cellulose (wood pulp)-cotton composition also means it is 100% biodegradable! Of course, its lifespan depends on your personal usage, but it typically lasts up to 200 wash cycles, or 2-3 months with average wear and tear. It’s also antibacterial, so rest assured you won’t suffer from any unpleasant dish-cloth odours that usually linger.

Sponge Cloth ($12.90) in assorted designs.

Bamboo Straws instead of Plastic Straws

You’ve probably heard of the debate against paper straws, claiming that It well — sucks — for the environment just as much plastic straws due to its single-use, disposable nature that may not even allow for composting. In my opinion, the drinking experience is compromised too: rough and soggy straws just don’t cut it. If you’re looking to preserve the integrity of your next coffee run, it’s time to give reusable bamboo straws a try instead.

Bamboo Straws - Set of 4 ($19.90). Comes with a Coconut Bristle Brush for cleaning them.

Feelin’ more ready to get with the 3 Rs? Let’s do this.

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Joyce, a 23-year-old fresh graduate from NUS Communications and New Media, is a fashion and beauty enthusiast as well as a fervent supporter of the arts, especially in music.

The simple quote "Have courage, and be kind" by Cinderella is one she tries to live by as she constantly strives to seize opportunities that open up her eyes, mind and heart to the world. She’d stumbled into writing at one of her many summer internships, and has loved it ever since - she finds it extremely gratifying to be able to connect with her readers through food, arts and lifestyle content. Outside of writing, she loves swimming, yoga, and cooking wholesome meals; she does, however, have a weak spot for granola, yogurt and all things cinnamon. At Yacht 21, she’s excited to explore writing not just about fashion and styling tips, but also about introspective topics that'll enable us to grow and lead more mindful, fulfilling and sustainable lives as a community. 

 Insta account: @_joycelim