28 APRIL 2019
F1 PIT BUILDING
5AM - 11AM

YOUNG ECO WARRIORS FOR #NOSTRAWDECEMBER

This #NoStrawDecember, it’s time to ditch single-use plastic straws in favour of our environment! Meet our two awesome young eco-warriors who are leading the way towards a #ZeroWaste world: Samantha Thian, founder of Seastainable.Co, and Ang Zyn Yee, founder of the Straw Free Singapore movement!

SEASTAINABLE

Sam, the founder of Seastainable, provided us with insights on how she came about starting Seastainable and her thoughts on Zero Waste.

What motivated you to start Seastainable and why is it important you?

During my time with Lamave at Oslob in The Philippines, I witnessed the negative impact poor trash management had on the environment. Swimming through large patches of garbage, my heart broke for the helpless animals that lived in these once-pristine waters. This spurred me to do my part in tackling the issue of waste management.

Afterwards, while serving as the president of NUS recreational dive club, I made it a point to focus on educating participants about human impact on the environment – particularly trash generation and waste management. However, I felt that I could do more.

It was YSEALI SEA Camp, where I met a bunch of inspiring, like-minded people who cared about the environment, that made me think harder about how I could make a bigger impact on the community I live in. I took this hunger and curiosity with me to my next internship with Procter & Gamble, where I had the chance to suggest the removal of plastic straws for a corporate event. It is at this moment that the idea for Seastainable hit me.

I realised that the habit of using single-use products was difficult to break because it was a part of our lifestyle. If we could get people to start making the conscious decision to change their lifestyle to be greener – to use more environmentally friendly alternatives vs single-use products – then this transition can come more naturally and easily. Plastic straws are unnecessary. They are easy to give up and replace, and that’s how I conceptualised Seastainable, to give people that easy first step into living a life that is healthier for our planet.

What does going #ZeroWaste mean to you and what do you think of the #ZeroWaste movement in SG?

To me, #ZeroWaste is more of an idea than a “commandment”. It is a phrase that inspires me to live a more sustainable lifestyle by choosing reusable alternatives for my daily needs, in an attempt to generate less waste. The way to live a life that is completely zero waste is something that I’m still figuring out – but that is the ultimate goal.

The #ZeroWaste movement in Singapore is definitely picking up traction. I hope that more people learn about the movement, and realise that it is more of an idea than an imperative. Many times, people shy away from making high-level commitments, especially when #ZeroWaste is taken literally. Rather, if they understand this movement as an idea towards making small changes in their lives to produce less trash and live more sustainably, more people will see that choosing to live sustainably begins with the smallest actions. From there, people can gradually make changes to their lives, so that over time, we can become more sustainable as a society. #ZeroWaste is the goal, but the journey begins with small, simple steps.

How do you put into practice the #ZeroWaste lifestyle in your everyday life?

I choose sustainable alternatives to things that I use on a daily basis. This means using reusable straws, cups, lunch boxes, and utensils. I shy away from using single-use disposables, like plastic bags and takeaway styrofoam & plastic boxes. I’ve replaced tissue with handkerchiefs. I’m even using a menstrual cup!

I’ve also begun thinking consciously about my purchasing habits. If I do not need something, e.g. new clothes, bags, etc, then I’ll refrain from buying it. After all, any product we purchase comes with an ecological cost – and will end up as waste if there’s no real need for it.

What is your vision for a #ZeroWaste Future and do you think we can ever become truly #ZeroWaste?

My vision for a #ZeroWaste future is one where everyone is responsible for their own lifestyle needs. We need to stop relying on establishments to provide us with unsustainable solutions. For example, if we are going grocery shopping, it should be understood that we must bring along our own grocery bags, rather than the current status quo of depending on easily available, free-of-charge plastic bags.

I think it is possible to become truly #ZeroWaste, but it will take a drastic mind-set change, and a cohesive multi-level effort across different sections of our society, i.e. the government, communities, the individual, businesses, and non-profit organisations, amongst others.

What are your thoughts of Income Eco Run and its eco efforts?

The IER is an exciting way to spread the message of living a sustainable lifestyle.

By introducing the “Zero Waste Runner” concept, participants get a taste of what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle, while doing what they love. I think this is a great way to demonstrate to people that though living a sustainable life naturally comes with certain sacrifices in the way we live our lives, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will be unable to continue doing the things we love.

Hopefully participants exposed to the #ZeroWaste concept become more receptive to the idea after the run!

Share with us a quote that inspires you?

“If people see how we’re all interconnected and connected with Nature, we wouldn’t have an environmental crisis, we wouldn’t have two dozen wars all over the world.” -Stanley Krippner

 


 

STRAWFREESG

 

17 year old, Ang Zyn Yee, was inspired by a 2016 TED talk and now she hopes to get others onboard her Straw Free Singapore campaign.

What motivated you to start StrawFreeSingapore and why is it important you?

I was inspired to start my campaign by my family, friends and teachers. I was also spurred on by the knowledge that the environment was in trouble, and I just couldn’t wait for someone else to do something about it.

What does going #ZeroWaste mean to you and what do you think of the #ZeroWaste movement in SG? To me, going zero waste means taking steps to reduce the waste you produce in your daily life. It also means reducing the things you buy, repurposing old belongings and repairing items instead of throwing them away immediately.

I think that the zero waste movement is gaining momentum in SG, and it’s great that there are many ground up initiatives promoting the cause!

How do you put into practice the #ZeroWaste lifestyle in your everyday life?

When I buy buns in school, I would forgo the paper bag and take the bun on my palm.
I do most of my work on my laptop in soft copy.
I don’t use plastic straws, avoid plastic bags and disposable food containers.
I use my belongings for a long time before replacing them — my wallet is 7 years old!
I go thrift shopping if I need anything.

What is your vision for a #ZeroWaste Future and do you think we can ever become truly #ZeroWaste?

My vision for a zero waste future is one where we are all able to prioritise the environment over our own personal conveniences. It is also one where people bother to pause and think about the impact that their actions have on the environment, and one where society is fully conscious of the fact that we are the ones destroying our own planet.

I think that going fully #ZeroWaste isn’t quite possible yet, but reducing the amount of waste produced in our country is definitely achievable!

What are your thoughts of Income Eco Run (IER) and its eco efforts?

As someone who regularly participates in runs, I think that IER has effectively tackled some of the major waste-producing issues when organising such a large scale run. For instance, IER reduced the amount of plastic used to package race tees and fabric used to make race packs, encouraged runners to go car-lite, as well as introduced initiatives surrounding recycling and the proper disposal of the waste generated during a race such as plastic bottles, cans and banana peels.

I hope for even more green initiatives in the 2019 edition, and I wish that other runs will begin to adopt similar eco-conscious practices!

Share with us a quote that inspires you?

“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” - Steve Jobs