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A little bit goes a long way towards beautiful days ahead

By 02/06/2024No Comments

A little bit goes a long way towards beautiful days ahead

June 2024

A little bit goes a long way towards beautiful days ahead

We love convenience. Really, who doesn’t? I know I do. But with convenience we often must pay a price, and I don’t mean just in monetary terms (we generally pay a premium for convenience and that’s just the way it is in life) but also in terms of affecting the environment.

Plastic packaging is prevalent across our daily lives and quite frankly, often unavoidable. As a collective whole in society, we directly or indirectly partake in the usage and disposal of plastics. According to Greenpeace, shockingly, only 5% of the mountains of plastic waste generated by US households in 2021 was recycled. (Here in Asia, we are slightly better at 12%) Even the plastics we long considered to be recyclable – such as those plastic PET and HDPE drink bottles or food containers – they all fall far short of the 30% recycling rate needed to meet the definition of recyclable by the foundation.

America has its own set of environmental issues and problems, and so do we here in Malaysia. For one, we are known to waste food. (Fun fact: The UNEP recorded Malaysia as wasting food in excess of 8.3 million tonnes annually. That is equivalent to each and every Malaysian trashing approximately 260kg of food down the bin every single year.

Anyway, I digress. Back to plastic waste. When it comes to plastic waste, we are no slouch either! According to recent surveys conducted by Utility Bidder and WWF, we are ranked high (we rank 5th place) and are among the top 10 countries whose plastic waste ends up in the ocean. These plastics breakdown into microplastics through weathering have adverse effects on aquatic biodiversity.

(Source: Utility Bidder) (Data derived from: Our World in Data)

I recognise and understand that I am writing this from a particular perspective with bias and privileges based on what I do (and can do). Each and every one of us approach issues and causes in different ways. But if anything, I hope my short moment of sharing here would positively add to our ability to view things in a different perspective and help to spur some small but significant changes in our daily routines and habits.

The point I am trying to make is that waste has to do with mentality. It is often a mindset that can be influenced by our culture, environment, lifestyle, and habits. With minor tweaks and shifts in the patterns and ways we do things; we effect gradual transitional change that happens naturally and becomes sustainably ingrained in our life.

Bringing your own reusable bag for grocery shopping was something I had to get used to but this habit eventually became a norm for me now. There’s always one or two laying in my vehicle and home ready to be used.

I have shifted my buying behaviour and preference towards brands and products which place emphasis on environmental sustainability.

I have also drastically shifted my diet and food (and drink) consumption habits since 2019, by just eating (and drinking) less, while also maintaining a better physique and greater youth (Yes, I do get compliments from time to time).

As a business owner, when shipping products consider using paper packaging as an alternative while cutting down on plastic. I have a habit of reusing boxes lately. It is interesting to note that (Go Gen-Z!)

Last but not least, I learned to stop buying stuff I don’t really need. Ironically, as you may know, I am in the business of paper packaging, and a vibrant economy tends to require lots of people buying lots of stuff. Something I intend to write about in due time, I guess.

Just like how the band U2 said (or rather, sang) it in Beautiful Day: What you don’t have you don’t need it now. What you don’t know you can feel it somehow.

Here’s to us playing our part to make beautiful days ahead. Cheers!

– Phil Tan


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