9 Life Hacks That Make Socially Conscious Living Easy

Sabina-Leah Fernandez

Want to live kind? Here’s our list of 9 easy, everyday ways to be more socially responsible. 

1. Switch to Bamboo Tissue

NooTrees Bamboo tissue paper products

Singaporeans love tissue paper. It’s especially handy for reserving tables during lunch hour in the CBD. But if want to save the trees, swap your regular tissue and toilet paper for NooTrees, or CloverSoft two brands that use fast-growing bamboo instead of wood pulp. Bamboo has a wealth of environmental boons that make it a valuable alternative raw material. They have the soft texture of regular paper products, and the price isn’t much more than ordinary tissue. The only difference is colour - CloverSoft are unbleached are naturally the colour of milk tea. We especialy love NooTrees range of makeup remover wipes – all the convenience with none of the guilt.

2. Have Your Take Away Coffee in a Reusable Mug 

Resueable commuter mug coffee tumbler - Asia For Good

Whether you’re ordering an artisanal espresso or sweet milky teh tarik (hot tea with milk), that non-biodegradable styrofoam cup harms the environment and takes up landfill space (Not to mention, they also adversely affect the taste of your coffee). We’ve tried this with humble hawkers and hipster baristas, and some of them even give us a few cents off for our troubles. This tiny change can produce a huge impact. If you have a cup a day you could save 300 disposable cups a year with this small change. 

3. Swap Your Disposable Forks and Spoons For Edible Cutlery

The interwebs fell head over heels for Bakeys edible cutlery – and rightly so! Available in sweet, savoury or plain options, the spoons are made of flour and water you can eat - a cheap, simple, viable alternative to plastic cutlery that contains no preservatives and no chemicals. If you decide not to eat the cutlery, it  biodegrades like any other food. The company is fundraising and will begin shipments at the end of April.

4. Cultivate a Green Thumb

Nong Indoor microgreen self-watering kit

The opposite of conspicuous consumption is not less consumption – it’s creation! And one great example of creation is to grown your own food. It’s easy to do as well with kits like these from Nong by Edible Garden City, vertical, self-watering home gardens by Aerospring and even simple organic garden courses like these. We're told urban gardening is very addictive! You have been warned.

5. Dine at a Restaurant with a Social Mission

Tuna tataki salad from Garcons, a social enterprise that trains ex-offenders in French cooking techniques

 Picture credit: Tuna Tataki salad from Garcons, a social enterprise that trains ex-offenders in French cooking techniques.

We love to eat, so why not use our appetite to help people in need. Several restaurants across Asia give back to society through inclusive employment and locally sourced produce. Check out some of our articles about social enterprise restaurants in Hong KongSingapore and other Asian cities. Or search for an eatery listed in our directory here.

6. Travel Wise with Responsible Tour Companies

Explore Silk Road - Active China

Picture Credit: Active China

Responsible tour companies ensure your tourism dollars go towards helping the communities you are visiting. When you book your trip through social enterprises like Local AlikeBackstreet Academy or Journeys Within, (which run trips through Indonesia, cambodia, Thailand and more) you can sleep well in the knowledge that your trip is leaving behind a positive impact. What a truly enjoyable holiday!

7. Shop Online from These E-Stores that Make A Difference

Online shopping can give back when you buy from mindful stores like Hong Kong’s Phat Rice or  Singapore’s GreenstoreBeensprout, and Matcha5. There’s a wide array of products on offer including tech, handicrafts, leather goods and jewellery. (Our gift guides here and here may be a great resource if you’re in the market for a present) Taiwan even has a grocer that delivers farm-direct produce to your doorstep. 

8. Share Your Morning Commute 

Ryde is a carpooling app

Picture credit: RYDE 

In Singapore, less than two people occupy each car on the road, according to figures from the Land Transport Authority. There are a multitude of apps across Asia that offer carpooling and matching services to make use of the idle space and reduce carbon emissions. Save money while saving the earth? Sign us up! If you're not ready to give up driving, you can always register as a driver on the app, which will help defray your travelling costs. Who knows, you might even make a new friend. Check out the RYDE app, which is currently available in Singapore. RYDE will also be launching in Hong Kong in the coming months. 

9. Ride a Bamboo Bicycle

Bamboobee Bicycle

Speaking of commuting, cycling is just about the best eco-friendly mode of transport. But bicycles made by Bamboobee bring it to the next level in socially consciousness. Made from bamboo (there's that material again!) the bikes are hand-crafted in China, have won several design awards and donate 1% of their profits to charity. Did we mention they're known for an especially smooth ride and are called works of art? If you're as curious as we are, you can ride a Bamboobee bike free of charge at Car-Free Sunday.

Yes, being socially conscious is as easy as eating, shopping, travelling and drinking coffee! Try these small changes to your lifestyle and you too can be a Force For Good.

If you want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia, check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.

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