7 Nifty Life Hacks for Mother Earth
By Nina Syahira
March 6, 2015
On 28 March 2015 between 8.30pm to 9.30pm, all SAFRA clubs will be turning off their lights for Earth Hour. Put away your electronic devices and join us as we learn more about what we can do for the environment as well as participate in making eco-friendly handicrafts like soy wax candles while also enjoying an evening of entertainment and other fun family activities. Don’t forget to show off your creativity by dressing up in environment-friendly wear too! Now that would be most encouraging. Together, we can make Earth Hour a much grander occasion than ever.
If you didn’t already know, Earth Hour is more than just an hour-long lights-off event. In fact, Earth Hour started off as a symbolic gesture in Sydney, Australia, eight years ago in an effort to unite people to protect the planet. Today, it has grown into a massive global movement, engaging more than 162 countries and territories across the world.
While it’s clear to see how effective this has become, we need to remember that what we do every day, no matter how big or small, actually affects earth’s ecological balance. Even young children can help contribute their efforts by learning more about the environment and exploring the different ways to protect it. Register them for our March School Holidays programmes where they can practise being “green” with Science on Plants at SAFRA Toa Payoh, care for animals by building them a home with Vivarium Workshop at SAFRA Yishun and discover the amazing variety of fauna and flora in Singapore with Young Naturalist Camp at Kidz Amaze SAFRA Toa Payoh and Jurong.
So how else can we continue doing our part for Mother Earth? An easy way to start is at home from household chores to healthy shopping habits that you can involve the whole family. Check out our list below for 10 eco-friendly life hacks you can do!
1. Bay Leaves
These aromatic must-haves for delicious curry dishes, biryani and many types of cooking can also be used to repel certain pests like cockroaches, flies, wasps and ants. They have a pungent odour that these bugs don’t like so place them in suspected spots around the house. Forget the bug spray. Insects, bay gone!
2. Charging your smartphones
Today, most of us own a smartphone and one of the most common habits is to charge our phone before you go to sleep. While seeing your phone fully charged may be a beautiful sight at the start of the day, imagine how much energy around the world is consumed daily! Switch your phone to ‘airplane mode’ before plugging it in for a charge and you’ll be amazed at how much faster it takes to get a full charge. If your phone battery level isn’t dangerously low yet, refrain from charging it. Instead, switch it to ‘airplane mode’ before bed and rejoice the next morning at the steady power level. Wouldn’t you wake up with a smile too after a good night’s sleep uninterrupted by phone notification alerts?
3. Cleaning and disinfecting
Vinegar, lemons and baking soda are three things you would need for a clean and fragrant home. There are so many tricks you can do with each item too. Simply cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on its flesh. Then scrub dishes, surfaces and stains with it.
You can also soak delicates in a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda for at least half an hour before washing if you want mild and stain-free bleach. Or just dump in lemon juice to your laundry wash to boost your laundry detergent’s power. To remove underarm stains from shirts and blouses, try scrubbing a mixture of lemon juice and water.
If you’ve run out of lemons and all you’re left with are the peels, don’t throw them away just yet. Fill a jar with them and pour white vinegar over them. Leave the mixture for a few days (maximum 2 weeks) and strain out the vinegar. Voilà! You’ve got yourself a freshly scented natural cleaner for mopping the floors and disinfecting surfaces. You can also dilute it with water, spray on windows and glass surfaces and buff them dry with newspapers to spruce things up even more around the house! Plus, these ingredients are much safer than detergents and other cleaning chemicals and so won’t harm your children or anyone in your family.
4. Drying your clothes
Drying your clothes the old-fashioned way on bamboo poles outside the kitchen window may just be #ThatsSoSG and time-consuming but it’s actually a much more environmentally-friendly choice than using an electric dryer. However, the dryer is also a practical home appliance especially when we need our clothes to dry promptly. So how can we make it even faster that will help save energy at the same time too? Add a dry towel with the rest of the wet laundry. Mission accomplished!
5. Eggs and egg cartons
Now here’s a fun one for the garden lovers. Instead of throwing out the egg shells after cooking, use them as seed starter pots. You can grow any type of beans you want at home because they require little care which is perfect for kids! Don’t worry about the egg shells decomposing as this gives the soil all the nutrient goodness it needs. Then when it’s time to harvest, you get fresh and healthy foods to add to your family’s diet.
And as for the gamers, you can use the egg carton as a cooler for your laptop. So save your money on video games, instead of getting an electric cooling pad to play longer.
6. Grocery bags
Let’s face it; many of us are guilty of sometimes using too many plastic bags despite knowing how bad they are to the environment. Even on “Bring Your Own Bag” days, how many of us smile sheepishly at the check-out auntie while nodding when asked if we need plastic bags for our groceries? It’s high time we all participate in this initiative. Start by investing in a reusable carrier usually made of canvas and stuff it into your work or school bag so that you’ll always have it when you’re on the go. Perfect for impromptu supermarket trips!
7. Gift bags
Like the plastic bag, wrapping papers are often used once. For something you use to temporarily cover the present before it gets torn open, it’s so easily wasted. You can reduce the wastage by reusing newspapers. But for a much better chance of recycling, consider using a gift bag to contain your presents for friends and family. The recipient can then use the bag in other various ways, including passing it on for someone else’s birthday. Or make something creative out of it like simple yet stunning home decorations.
For SAFRA activities during Earth Hour, click here to participate with us!
Our March School Holidays programmes offer tons of “green” activities as well as other workshops beneficial for your child! Check out the exciting workshops here where your child can play detective and solve fictitious crimes, tackle math tricks and puzzles, explore 3D printing, develop social skills and more!