Jocelyn’s Reflection

Building on what has been mentioned by Eliza, we started this blog with the aim to raise awareness about environmental pollution, and how our consumerist lifestyle is the culprit for all these environmental problems we see (or may not) today. We centred our discussion on various themes – from food, fashion and beauty products to domestic cleaning agents and then e-wastes. Of course, there are other modes of consumption that results in environmental pollution – and here is where you come in. Do let the end of our weekly updates stop you from knowing more about environment pollution. It is now your turn to find out more about environmental pollution! Do send us a link if you decide to blog on it too.

I mentioned at the start of our blog that I was not an environment-conscious individual, and I aim to go on a journey of discovery through this blog. Let me tell you, I TOTALLY DID. Through blogging, it got me to realise that consumerism is the bane of the environment. And I, as a consumerist, has been building my joys upon the pain of Mother Earth. This may sound a bit serious but it seems like almost every action of the present-day human being brings harm to the environment. We pollute the environment, even without knowing that we did!

Well, I am not saying we need to overthrow consumerism or capitalism, my point is that people need to start realising the costs of their actions and build up a collective resolve to save our very sick Mother Earth. We can start by changing our habits – just like how Eliza suggested. Let’s take baby steps together and start making a change!

And as we come to the very last post of our blog, I would like to thank you for being a constant reader to what we have got the share. I hope that we have ignited the eco-consciousness in you, just as it has for me. I would also like to thank Eliza for being an amazing blogging partner, and for being so passionate about making the environment better. You are sure the favourite child of Mama Earth.

Eliza’s Reflection

C o n s u p o l l u t i o n
[kon – su – puh – lew – shun]
(n.pollution from the
active consumption of humans
of products in the economy

At the beginning of the blogging journey, I asked the readers to join us (Eliza and Jocelyn) on a journey to transform ourselves from Consupollutants to Mindful Consumers. We started by discussing environmental pollution and consumption issues in food, then fashion, beauty products, domestic cleaning agents and then e-wastes.

The term consupollutants, a term we coined, is what we felt we should call ourselves because of how we contribute massively to environmental pollution because of our consumption patterns and active choices when we’re consuming. And as I personally researched into the topics and issues, I have been more exposed to the plight of the environment and us humans faces because of our decision-making process. Hence, Jocelyn and I wanted to create bite-sized blog posts to highlight the issue of a topic and then suggest ways or alternatives for us to be a more mindful consumer.

I have always been into sustainability and the eco-lifestyle, especially in the realm of fashion. However, researching these topics really broadened my knowledge. Yes, it is hard to be a mindful and rational consumer overnight, but I believe that it is important for us to know why we have to change our lifestyle and consumption behaviour. As individuals, we can always start small. If every one of us does our part, this can influence a whole bunch of others to also do the same.

For food, we should start by being less wasteful. Eat what you can eat, and do not be a glutton (A personal problem as I am a foodie…)! Being a busy undergrad student, takeouts are my best friend, and I’m sure she is yours too. Hence, remember to BYO! Bring your own tupperware and bottle everywhere you go so as to minimise plastic packaging wastes. Also start small by exposing yourself to vegan options (A very hard thing for me seeing as I love my KBBQ and Samgyupsal and beef shortplate…). Moreover, Support Local produce! These produce produced locally have a minimal carbon footprint.

For fashion, buy what you need and not want! Try not to succumb to the latest trends! Additionally, explore other alternatives like thrift-shopping, swapping and upcycling clothes. I personally love fashion, but I fell in love with conscious fashion. The thrill of finding gems while you thrift-shop and swap clothes is a rush I’ve grown accustomed to. My next personal mission is to learn how to sew so that I can upcycle and rework some of my clothes!

For beauty products, it is important for us to support brands that are environmentally conscious, brands that make the effort to eliminate plastic packaging as well as use materials that are not harmful to the environment.

All these are the small things that we can do, that I personally would (or have already done).

We only have one Earth, and ultimately one chance to do it right. We should try our best to protect the Earth for future generations.

Thank you for joining me in this journey!

~ Eliza Dawn

Towards a Better Future: Zero Waste

Welcome back to our blog! As we come towards the end of our blogging semester, I hope that you have managed to gain insights on how our consumerist lifestyle has contributed to environmental pollution and found our various mitigation ideas useful. Today, I would like to share about a movement that you can be apart of to stay away from aggravating environment woes. That is to be: Zero Waste.


According to Zero Waste SG, Zero Waste is a concept that challenges the old way of thinking about waste as something that has no value and to be thrown away. This is in accordance with the Zero Waste Alliance which states:

“Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”

Here, the Zero Waste concept is in line with our goal to reduce our carbon footprint and to mitigate the issue of environmental pollution. This has been taken up by the Singapore government who has responded with its commitment towards a zero-waste nation. See Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan here. Alternatively, a summary of the Masterplan can be seen here.

While the Zero Waste Masterplan delineates nationwide targets and efforts, there are things we could do as individuals in support of the nationwide Zero Waste movement. To start our zero waste, we can do so by supporting and making purchases at Zero Waste stores, rather than plastic packaging filled retailers. The scope of Zero Waste stores has been expanding rapidly to cover the sale of different necessities given the rise in environmental consciousness, and positive responses towards the movement.

In case you are unaware of the range of items available in stores, here are some Zero Waste stores in Singapore that provides a range of necessities:

  • Scoop Wholefoods: nuts, butters
  • Unpackt: dried foods, superfoods, natural washing and cleaning liquids
  • Reprovisions: dried foods
  • Vom FASS: oils, vinegars, wines, whisky
  • Eco.Le: grains, snacks, soap bars, scented candle refills
  • The Castile Soap Shop: eco-friendly soaps
  • The Social Space: shampoos, cleaning & washing agents

In addition to Zero Waste stores, do also engage in the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle! Together, we can all be environmental-friendly individuals by leading eco-friendly lifestyles. Not all is lost! There are ways and things we can do save the environment, as long as we are committed to doing so as one humankind.

[Mitigation] Pollution from E-wastes

As we have shared in our previous post, there is a NEED to mitigate the e-waste problem. In this post, I will share with you what has been done in Singapore to alleviate the e-waste situation, followed by what we can do.

What has been done?

In March 2019, it has been mandated by Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) for manufacturers of large household appliances — including refrigerators, air-conditioners, washing machines —  to collect at least 60 per cent (in weight) of the appliances they supply to the market each year for recycling. Similarly, manufacturers for smaller consumer electronics such as lamps, portable batteries, and info-communication technology (ICT) equipment are required to collect at least 20% (Choo, 2019).

Virogreen e-waste collection bins

This has encouraged companies to form partnerships with recycling facilities to increase the ease of recycling by consumers. For example, telco M1 has partnered with recycling firm Virogreen to set up e-waste collection bins in malls.

Moving forward, Singapore will introduce regulatory measures to ensure that electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) is managed effectively and efficiently in Singapore. An e-waste management system will be established by 2021 (NEA, 2018). An overview of the system can be seen in the infographic below:

To find out the specific details and workings of the system, see here.

What can we, as consumers, do?

  • Take good care of your electronics

With good care, you will be able to maintain the condition and lifespan of your electronics. This way, changes or replacement will be less frequent, and hence, less need for you to make new purchases, as well as dispose of unusable goods.

  • Buy only what you need

The best way to resolve this e-waste problem is from our consumption. Reducing consumption is the most effective way to alleviate e-waste and its related environmental problem. Before making a purchase, ask yourself “Do I really need this?”. Buy only things that are necessary. This way, by reducing our consumption and carbon footprint, we can all play a part to nurse our Earth back to health.

  • Donate your unwanted, but usable items

As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. As such, instead of discarding what you deem as ‘outdated’ and ‘unwanted’, consider donating it. Perhaps it could be of use to others!

  • Recycle, not dispose

I have said this before but recycling is the way to go. We surely do not want the leakage of harmful substances into our waterways or atmosphere. In Singapore, there are several e-waste recycling programmes such as StarHub’s RENEW (REcycling Nation’s Electronic Waste), ReCYCLE: Singtel x SingPost E-Waste Recycling Programme, IKEA’s Light Bulb Recycling Programme and more. Alternatively, you may drop off your e-waste at these designated recycling points.

Adapted from Geneco (2019) & Towards Zero Waste (2020).



Choo, C. (2019 September 3). Trash Talk: A toxic trash pile grows when gadgets become waste — in a year or less. TODAYONLINE.

Geneco. (2019, September 25). Top Tips On Reducing The Electronic Waste Pollution In Singapore.

NEA. (2018 March 6). NEA To Implement E-waste Management System For Singapore By 2021.

Towards Zero Waste. (2020 September 15). Electronic Waste.,technologies%20constantly%20replacing%20old%20ones.

Pollution from E-Wastes : Planned Obsolescence

Modern capitalism started in the mid 18th century and in itself, capitalism is neutral (Wood, 2017). This means that capitalism is not born with the intention to harm the environment. However, the industrial revolution came along the way, revamping the way the manufacturing industry operates and leveraged on the existing system of modern capitalism. Industrialists soon took over the merchants to become the drivers of economic growth. This came with its own set of issues. In 1925, the Phoebus Cartel was founded in Geneva. It existed to control the sale and manufacture of incandescent light bulbs. Light bulbs were made to last for 100 years, this meant reduced revenue for manufacturers. Hence, they came up with an agreement to limit the lifespan of lightbulbs, known as planned obsolescence, which was implemented in many other products we are using today. Planned obsolescence refers to the artificial shortening of a product lifespan, regardless of the resources and energy put into producing that product (Bulow, 1986). This formed the current extractive industrial model of “Take, Make, Use and Throw” (Ellen MacArther Foundation, n.d.), which results in the waste problem many countries are facing today. To aggravate this issue, people around the world are sourcing for products with the best quality at the lowest costs in the pursuit of better standards of living. Have we ever stopped to ponder, how did these goods get so cheap? To lower the costs of production, manufacturers are resorting to harmful environmental practices such as illegal logging and unsustainable palm oil production, which in itself leads to other environmental issues like pollution.

Planned Obsolescence is the act of intentionally shortening the lifespan of a product with the aim of making customers replace it, whether physically or arbitrarily.

In the introduction, planned obsolescence was discussed. To recap, it refers to the act of intentionally shortening the lifespan of a product with the aim of making customers replace it, whether physically or arbitrarily. Manufacturers can design or plan to produce a printer which loses its functionality within a fixed period of time by using a programmed microchip embedded within it, making it cheaper to replace than to repair the printer. A phone with irreplaceable battery can force you to buy a new buy a phone even when everything else of the phone works fine. A light bulb made to last for more than 100 years, have to be replaced frequently now. These are all workings of planned obsolescence, forcing mankind to produce more waste so that the capitalist economy can continue to prosper. Do you feel short-changed? What can we as consumers do about it?

Valuable materials like circuit boards and plastic are separated from the old electronics, processed and resold to manufacturers as new input. While unusable parts of the old electronics, like laptop screens, are left lying on open ground. In countries with lax environmental regulation and enforcement, this quickly becomes a problem. Laptop screens contain toxic chemicals like mercury, that can seep into the groundwater or get washed into the nearby water bodies during rain. Pieces of evidence have shown that the local physical environment in Guiyu, China, one of the largest e-waste recycling location, is heavily polluted. The locals in Guiyu are suffering because of the E-waste generated by others all over the world. E-waste recycling is not the panacea for the E-waste problem, and having someone else pay for our desire for a new gadget is intolerable. Hence, it is time to rethink our consumption pattern.

Before you get your next smartphone, think again, do you really need it?
Also, can E-waste recycling really solve our E-waste problem when only 20% of it gets recycled (Vaute, 2018)?
Can Daisy the recycling robot invented by Apple Inc, be the solution to our E-waste problem (CNET, 2019)?

Even though corporations are alleged to be causing the E-waste problem, with aggressive marketing strategies, planning obsolescence on their phones, some companies in the telecommunication and electronics industry are initiating e-waste collection programmes as part of their corporate social responsibility program. Examples of such companies are StarHub (RENEW, n.d.) and HP (HP, n.d.).

Find out more about this topic here:

  1. Planned Obsolescence: Apple Is Not The Only Culprit. Adam Sarhan. Dec 22, 2017. Click here!
  2. Planned Obsolescence documentary.


Wood, E. M. (2017). The origin of capitalism: A longer view. London: Verso.

Bulow, J. (1986). An Economic Theory of Planned Obsolescence. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 101 (4), 729. doi:10.2307/1884176

Ellen MacArther Foundation (n.d), Concept: What is a circular economy? A framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. Retrieved from:

Vaute, V. (2018). Recycling Is Not The Answer To The E-Waste Crisis. Retrieved from:

CNET. (2019). Apple wants to share its Daisy robot tech for recycling iPhones. Retrieved from:

RENEW. (n.d.). REcycling the Nation’s Electronic Waste. Retrieved from:

HP (n.d.). Tech Takes:\ Impact on E-waste. Retrieved from: