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By Arwa Lodhi
The generation of major amounts of rubbish is something all of us are responsible for, no matter where we live. But most of us just bin stuff without even thinking about it – with the exception of two friends in Singapore.
That’s not a typo; the two friends don’t speak English as a native language so left out the definite article, but that doesn’t affect the greatness of their idea. The pair photograph all the trash they generate daily (except for ‘toilet trash’, they point out) and share the pics via two separate Insta posts daily, with the goal of learning more about how they can start to lead a zero waste lifestyle, and of course, inspire others to do the same.
Although the girls are very different in style and character, they both clearly understand the idea of less being more.
What’s the idea behind your project and inspired it?
This idea originated from Kendra. The initials thoughts were sparked when she was on a glacier hiking tour in Iceland and the tour guide lamented how tall the glacier used to be a few years back. Watching various documentaries on global warming and single-use plastics further inspired her to start this.
What do you aim to achieve with this?
The aim of this project is really to bring self-awareness of how much garbage we generate daily, and we hope to make a reduction in our trash and changes to our lifestyle to benefit the environment.
What has the reaction been like so far?
Some of our friends are a bit puzzled with our obsession with taking photos of our trash. On the other hand, there are friends and family who are in turn more aware of the disposables and plastics they are dumping.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered since starting the project?
We were totally amazed by the cumulative amount of plastic and disposables waste that we can avoid by simple tiny efforts. And, because of this project, we deeply realised the short usage time of a plastic bag and the amount of harm it has on the environment. The average usage of a plastic bag is estimated to be 10 minutes and yet it takes at least hundreds of years to degrade.
Which other eco-warriors you most admire?
To be honest, we do not have specific eco-warriors that we admire. This is because we believe every single person can be an eco-warrior in their own unique way!
Have you shared your project with any major newspapers where you are?
We have yet to share this with larger media outlet. We have been featured in the instagram account @zerowastesingapore. But we’re very happy with this coverage from Eluxe!
What are some personal changes you’ve made since starting this project?
Some of the changes is around the choices that we make when we are purchasing gifts, foods and other items. We will try our best to buy things with minimum packaging or less plastic packaging. We are also both minimising our needs to be as simple as possible based on our lifestyles.
Recycling is part of our lives now, not only at home, but in the office, while travelling and really almost every moment of our lives. Reusing things to give them a second life is also something that was discovered during this project. Potato chip containers are not recyclable in Singapore but this can be used as a trash bag for our wet trash before dumping it in the general waste. Plastic packaging of food items (noodle packaging, bread packaging) can also be reused as a trash bag too.
We also started exploring reusable cotton rounds for our routine skin care. They are actually really very easy to use and wash too.
This self-awareness project has really changed the decisions that we made on a daily basis. It can be simple decision to reject plastic bags or an offer to pack takeaway food.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to reduce their waste?
It is always harder in the beginning. Give yourself ample of time and we assure it will change your view on the whole concept of BYO (Bring Your Own). It is actually pretty dope to carry your own tumbler, reusable straw and even your own container!
Having said that, we do have guilty days that we have much more trash. Do not beat yourself up, just be aware and try harder the next time.
After TrashOfDay, what do you plan to do to raise environmental awareness?
We feel that we have not done enough and we have so much more to explore. There are so much more ways to reduce trash such as reusable pads, making our own soap and others. We plan to continue to inspire people around us!