[Note: Some distressing images, within.]

In recent years, there has been increased focus on the detrimental impact mankind and our lifestyles have on our environment. Thankfully, there is also a growing awareness of how a shift towards sustainable, even waste-free, lifestyles can help to save our one and only Mother Earth.

We've all grown up being taught the three R's in school – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We've likely also put them into action at some point in our lives, whether it be putting plastic bottles into recycling bins or declining plastic bags at the convenience store. But how can we integrate sustainable practices into our daily lives, even at our workplaces?

Here are some tips: 

1. Cut down on single-use plastics

There are so many different ways we can practice this at work! For example, instead of relying on the usual disposable containers, plastic boxes and cutlery when you ta bao lunch from your favourite hawker stalls, bring your own lunchboxes and cutlery. These can be easily washed in the pantry after meals. (Psst: You may be able to save some money too as most hawkers charge an additional $0.20 for the disposable containers!)

Did you know plastic straws rank among the top 10 most commonly littered items? Using stainless steel or glass straws for beverages instead of plastic straws is also a good way to reduce usage of single-use plastics. If you're concerned about how to keep the insides of these straws clean, don't worry! Most reusable steel straws come with their very own handy straw cleaners. Easy to clean, reusable and environmentally-friendly, what's not to love?

Credit: Elite Readers
In 2015, a group of marine biologists on a research trip in Costa Rica rescued a sea turtle with a 10-12cm long plastic straw lodged in its nostril. Sea turtles often mistake plastic rubbish items such as plastic bags and straws for food, resulting in blockages, infections and death. 

2. Save energy

We've heard this one time and time again, but conserving energy is significant in minimising the impact on both the environment and wastage of resources. It's as simple as turning off the lights or air-conditioners in meeting rooms when not in use, unplugging your electronic devices before leaving the workplace every day and taking advantage of natural light instead of rolling the blinds!

If you must, keep meeting room air-conditioner temperatures at around 25˚C – not only does that save energy, doing so can also save up to $25 per year in electricity costs for every degree raised! 

Credit: Getty Images
Polar bears rely heavily on sea ice to hunt, rest and breed. With climate change accelerating the melting of sea ice, polar bear populations could decrease by up to 67% by 2050.

3. Eco-friendly commutes

While the convenience of driving to work is unparalleled, making the effort to take public transportation like the bus or MRT goes a long way in reducing our carbon footprint and energy consumption – studies show that countries with effective public transportation systems can reduce their total carbon emissions by 37 million tonnes annually! This is equivalent to the energy consumption of over five households for one full year!

Furthermore, for those of us working within the SGH Campus and in Connection One, free shuttle bus services are readily available to and from various MRT stations and other SingHealth institutions throughout the day – how convenient!

For shuttle bus timings between Connection One and SGH Campus, Redhill MRT, Outram MRT North-East Line or CGH Campus, click here.

For shuttle bus timings between KKH Campus and SGH Campus, Novena Square 2, Bugis (Fu Lu Shou Complex) or Hilton Garden Inn, click here (opens on Infopedia)!

Taking even the smallest of steps towards leading a sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyle, even at work, can amount to a collective positive impact on our environment. No effort is too trivial, so let's all do our part to be kind to our planet!