Plastic .

Continuing from my previous post on sustainable living, I thought that maybe I would put up more posts about environmental issues and how we as the main users of this planet can work together to sustain it for our future kids ! This time round, I’ll talk about plastics. When the word plastic pops in my mind, a few words came up as there are lots and lots of different kinds of plastics and they are all combinations of different components. It’s also not rocket science as most of us know that plastic is one of the largest contributory factor to the pollution sector. While this is a fact known by millions of people, many are still producing their goods with the use of plastic because it’s affordable and convenient.

Now, let’s narrow down to one type of plastic; water bottles.  Water bottles use billions of plastic annually to store mineral water, sweet drinks, carbonated drinks etc etc and the amount of plastic bottles we consumed daily is probably a significant number which leads us to having to recycle as many bottles as we can so that we won’t add up to the pile in the land waste. More and more countries are slowly providing recycling bins and making it easily accessible and available so people can opt to put it in the recycling bin rather than normal waste bin. But we are still facing problems where the number of people recycling water bottles is not enough as compared to the number of water bottles consumed. People know the potential issue a plastic bottle brings if not properly recycled but sometimes they decide to just throw it away in a waste bin because it makes life easier, more convenient and less hassle. This is also probably because we don’t see firsthand the problems caused by plastics on a large scale of consumption.

To tackle this problem, there’s only one solution to it – awareness. We must educate ourselves, the people around us and the society of the potential damage plastic can bring to our planet. It’s one thing to implement regulations, tell people to recycle, provide recycling bins but it is another thing to educate the society, to provide understanding and necessary knowledge so people realize the importance of a simple act. Young children should be taught about preserving the environment in school so that they could be innovative and tackle the environmental issues with creative solutions when they grow older. When we do something that we are obligated to do, it is always easier to do it if we know the reason behind it and for this particular matter, it’s good to understand fully the effect of plastic consumption. I came across a video produced by Ted Ed on plastic bottles which is fairly easy to understand and it is animated too, so that’s a huge plus point there. Take a look at it with your family and friends, it could be during weekend time with your kids, taking a break from studies or in between work. The video is only about 4 minutes which is not long. I think I shower even longer than that so there’s not really an excuse to not watch it.

 

Now that you’ve watched it , please please at least be more curious about it and take recycling of plastic seriously (as serious as revising for exams !). There’s a catch when iy comes to recycling plastics. Not all plastics are being recycled. Yes, I said it right, it wasn’t a typo. Read it again. The recycle symbol on the container is called resin code which is used to separate the type those plastics are made of. So, even when you recycle there is another hurdle we have to fix – providing market to recycle those plastics. Often, not all plastic categories are taken in for recycling because of the lack in demand and market for it. The products will be separated according to the plastic categories and then what can be recycled is taken away for recycling process. What happens to the leftovers then? They get delivered to the land waste and the cycle of pollution starts again from there. Therefore, apart from recycling plastic, there is another principle that you have to live by when it comes to protecting the environment which is reduce the consumption. That way, the amount of plastic produced from that category will reduce too! But, well if it’s essential and you need it maybe you can take a different approach like writing a letter to the company and provide feedback/suggestions about their production.

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The plastic recycle chart that is used globally for further understanding.

The keyword to this issue is to recycle as much as you can and to reduce the usage of plastic in your daily lives. Here are 3 easy steps you can follow for your day to day lifestyle:

  1. Going out? Bring a water bottle with you. It’s better if you can purchase a bottle container and refill it whenever you’re going out.
  2. Recycle the water bottles once you’ve used it. Prepare a separate bin for plastic bottles so it’s easier for you to collect them together for recycling.
  3. DIY ! Recreate and redecorate your house with plastic bottles. There are lots of creative ideas on Pinterest, interesting enough to make it as a weekend project with family.

I personally love number 3 as plastic bottles can be used for many creative projects! I hope that you will all do your part and recycle as much as you can, spread the awareness to the people around you and be more attentive in protecting the environment. We may not be able to eliminate the problem just yet, but together we can reduce and contain the issue from further damage.

Have a nice weekend and hope your weekend is as sunny as mine (although I’m practically drowned with books to read)!

sustainable clothes; time to convert

Sustainable clothing – I am almost 99.9% sure that most of you have heard of these words before. The trend have been on the rise over the last few years especially when more iconic people are taking part in this trend. But what is sustainable clothing all about? There are some people out there that owns environmental-friendly clothing because it’s the in thing, because famous people do it etc etc and while it’s good they’re supporting these initiatives it’s also important to understand the whole concept behind owning and maintaining a sustainable wardrobe.

First, let’s talk about the difference between normal clothing and the eco-friendly clothing line. Eco clothing are made of natural fabric that are non toxic and less polluting in their production, use and disposal. It’s not just about how the clothes are made but also the way the materials of the clothes are processed. For example, as we all know cotton is a primary material in clothing production. To create an environmental-friendly clothing, organic cotton – where synthetic pesticides, genetically modified seeds and man-made fertilizers are not used in the production, replace the standard ones making it more sustainable and ‘greener’ in the production of the clothing. These agricultural practices are healthier than production of conventional cotton which contributes to all kinds of pollution, especially water and land. When talking about eco-friendly clothing, it can also mean the use of recycled fabric and other waste. For example, the world has found a way to create textile using leftover hulls from soybean production. It’s not only helping to reduce waste but it is also biodegradable.

The objective of sustainable clothing is not limited to the production of the clothes, but it involves other factors as well such as ensuring that the materials used for clothing production is organic and ‘green’, does not involve exploitative labor practices and the materials adhere ‘green’ farming method.

Now that we’ve covered the concept of sustainable clothing, the next step is to understand the other objective of this concept. The idea in creating sustainable clothing is primarily to reduce pollution and waste generated from clothing production. The one important factor to sustainability is our wardrobe lifestyle. It’s not really helpful if you buy sustainable clothing but then keep on throwing them away in the bin after wearing it a few times. We want to reduce waste and that’s just as important as wearing sustainable clothes. So, here’s some tips that you can practice for your wardrobe lifestyle (I’m sure nobody expects you to have a wardrobe malfunction either!).

Say the magic word over and over again until it sticks to your heart and brains:

“Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”

I know it’s not easy, especially when the new Summer collection is too gorgeous you can’t resist or you have a theme dinner and you need to buy something new for the theme. But then, there’s always a way around it and these 3 magic words will help you save the environment and not have a wardrobe malfunction, a win win situation!

  1. Before purchasing your clothes, always think of at least 5 different ways you can style it. This is so that you can easily match it with other clothes and have a new look for it.
  2. Don’t buy too many clothes with the same/similar design. For example, if the trend now is off-shoulder tops, you don’t need to change your whole tops to off-shoulder ones. Maybe one or two is good enough or even better, DIY your current top to an off-shoulder!
  3. Ask yourself if you’re going to wear it before you buy because sometimes it may look good on the models, but it might not be your style. This way, you’ll not only reduce consumption but you get to save some money.
  4. Secondhand clothing! I’m not sure if you’re the kind that wears secondhand clothes but trust me they’re not bad at all. You might need to do some searching but hey, at least it’s a bargain. This is especially useful if you’re planning to wear the clothes only once or twice.
  5. Take good care of your clothes. Why? This is so, when you’re bored or want to have a change of style you can easily recycle it and give away the clothes. There are two ways to this, either donate it to a charity or you can sell it.
  6. Or you can learn to DIY and be a self-claimed fashion designer for yourself. That way you can have a change of wardrobe without hurting your bank account too much.
  7. Quality over quantity – it may be a bit pricey, but a good quality clothes can last you a long time. And don’t get me wrong, quality does not equal to expensive. There are good quality clothes out there that are just as affordable, maybe even cheaper. So do your research before purchasing.

These tips apply to all kinds of clothing consumption. I know the tricky bit when you are trying to convert your wardrobe to a sustainable one is definitely the price. My first time checking out a sustainable clothing company, I had a hard time processing the price of a T-shirt. I was planning to change my wardrobe but when I saw the price, I immediately closed the website. The price is no joke especially for a student like me. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change to ‘green’ clothing. It might take a while and you probably won’t be able to convert your whole wardrobe, but slowly you can build your sustainable wardrobe. It doesn’t just mean that you have to own ‘green’ clothes, it also mean that you practice those 3 magic words up there. So, don’t let the price stop you from creating your own sustainable wardrobe. Owning sustainable clothing is just one part of it, you can also help reduce consumption through recycling and reusing your clothes.

As a consumer, you have the power to demand for better practices in the fashion industry. If we support more and more sustainable clothing company, this will help them stabilize in the industry. High demand will shift other fashion companies direction and before you know it, more and more companies will practice the same concept. That’s what we want to achieve- a change in lifestyle that starts with our wardrobe. While we’re constantly battling between price value and ethics, there must also be a long term outlook in the industry. We might generate short term profits but in the long run, when resources are heavily polluted it will be too late to do damage control and the industry will spend more money trying to sustain the environment. There must be a balance between the short and long term outlook.

Now, time to change my wardrobe! It’s Earth Day today and I hope while many of you are celebrating the efforts and achievements we had so far in fighting climate change, we must also realize that the battle is not yet done. We are a long way to go from achieving sustainable lifestyle and this only means that we have to work even harder in creating awareness, making people realize that the environment is just as important as the economy or politics of a country. It’s probably even more important because environment is not a country thing, its a global thing.

the big decision

I was thinking about my first sentence for this post and the cliche ‘dear diary. .’ came up. I used to do that when I was younger though. The last week of December, every year without fail I would go to a bookstore and get a new diary. Every year too without fail I always manage to leave the diary hanging halfway through the year. I think I was sixteen when I realized the diary thing is not for me and I prefer blogging anyway so I switched permanently to blogging. I’ve had a few blogs from my school days which was mostly teenager stuff that I’m embarrassed to talk about because I mean at thirteen what kind of blogs would you expect ? I know it’s definitely not about the politics at that time or even about climate change in Malaysia. Tumblr was better, pictures and all which is bearable. I hardly use Tumblr nowadays but it’s still alive. Anyway, although I would love to, I shall resist the urge to start this post with ‘ dear diary . . ‘ because it’ll just be a post full of emotions and sappy things instead.

And before you even go there, no the big decision is not about getting married. It’s about graduation, or more like what I’ll be doing after graduation. I used to have this dream that I’ll take a year off after graduation and travel the world, maybe spend a month in Africa or in the Amazon jungle living as a part of the red indians tribe before I start my career. Wildlife is my thing you see, so any day any time I’d rather be surrounded by it but reality says the jungle I’m supposed to be at is the concrete jungle. So, no I won’t be taking a year off travelling from one national park to another. I’ll reserve that for another phase of my life. The past few weeks was juggling between assignments and job interviews. Did you catch that ? I’ve been to an actual job interview! Please take a moment to process this because even I’m still having a hard time believing it. Here I thought I could still pass as a school kid, but no reality had to hit me in the face about being old. Putting that aside, going to all these job interviews and having to make decisions about where to work, what to do and all made me realize that a job is more than just a job. I’m not sure if that make sense but I used to have this image that I’ll be working and it’s all good but I haven’t actually imagine working in which industry, what company, specializing in what field and so on. At first it was really overwhelming, you have to consider so many things including the pay, the opportunities, the potential growth, location etc etc. But then, I realized after considering a few of them I saw a pattern to my decision. I still did consider all the factors above but there was one thing that had the final say in all my choices and that was a question I asked myself for each job offer which is ‘ what is my motivation if I accept this job’. I turned down jobs that will potentially give me wider opportunities to explore because I couldn’t find my motivation to pursue that path and it surprises me to know that I’m okay with letting it go. You see, I’m the kind of a person that likes to take up opportunities and if I think I can do it, I would even if it’s just for self-satisfaction. So if you give me two choices, to work in a stressful environment that allows you to sleep only 4 hours a day or a nine to five casual working hours, I could totally do both working lifestyle. But this time, I choose to follow what I really want to do, not because society do it this way so I’m going to take the exact same path. And that’s absolutely fine , trust me.

Do something that you want to and find a job that keeps you motivated to wake up every morning and go to the office instead of finding excuses to have a day off. If you don’t have answers yet, explore all you like. Intern in as many companies, do different jobs and find your true place. Get yourself a job that will make you feel energetic even if you’re still working when everyone’s left the office for the day. Do something you’re passionate about and until you find the right job, don’t settle for anything less. Never compare yourself to others because everyone is different. As humans, our motivations are different so how can we compare our decisions. This is a path you will be taking alone and only you can answer the questions.

It took me a while to make my choice to be honest. I was weighing between going for a job that gives assurance in career growth or being part of something that I’m in love with. But in the end, I know I will definitely need the motivation for me to still be enthusiastic about being at work when I’m 12 months down the road. In a way, I’m also making sure that I will be that efficient worker who is productive and always contributing rather than a passive worker who won’t initiate anything beyond what is supposed to be done. I’ll be spending five days with the job anyway, might as well do something I enjoy.

My mum used to tell me know yourself before you look at others. We can all run but that doesn’t mean all of us can keep up at the same pace, some go faster and some a bit slower but eventually we all will get to where we want to be. Some climb the corporate ladder, some settle knowing that they could go further but choose not to because of other priorities. So if you’re making a big decision today why not look back at what is it that drives you forward ? Who knows that will help you answer some of your questions 🙂

On a side note, finals are so close I feel like crawling under my duvet and just hibernate until it’s time to go back home. I’ll be home after my finals which is something I’m looking forward to. Home feels like the only place I want to be right now. I’m definitely counting my days and marking my calendar because I can’t wait to see my family again and listen to their jokes over dinner, or laugh over something so silly it doesn’t even make sense but I usually laugh because they’re precious like that.

Oh and yes, I’ll update about my Spring break in the next post and share some photos I took. I’ll also do another post about my dilemma in changing my wardrobe to a sustainable one so look out for that one if you’re into sustainable lifestyle!

p/s: Hope you had a good spring break so far 🙂 The flowers are blooming even more now in the UK its so pretty everywhere I go.

Twenty two and a half

If you ask me ten years ago how I see myself at the age of twenty three, I wouldn’t know what to say. . Or maybe I would say something like ‘on my way becoming a doctor’ since that was my dream when I was younger; taking care of children and elderly. I definitely did not see myself at the age of twenty three still at 153cm, not much difference from when I was in high school. I kid you not, I used to be one of the tallest kids in primary school but sadly those prime moments only lasted for a few years. Twenty three; one moment it feels just like a number but when you think again, oh man that’s how old you are. That’s two decades breathing in this world and soon before you even realize it, you’ll hit your third decade. I want to say that I still feel young but when I look around, I honestly feel old already. But it also means that the past twenty years or so have given me so much learning experience and the chance to grow. From a young ignorant girl who only knows how to have fun and study when necessary, I learned to be attentive of my surrounding. I learned to put myself in other people’s situation before judging them and respect that everyone is different and am entitled to their own opinion. I learned the hard way that when you love, you cannot expect the other person to love as much as you do because not everyone, even the important ones put you first before themselves. I still find it difficult to understand the reasons to this but I also know that as you grow older, the society has a certain expectation of you that you have to deliver. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow society’s expectation. Being different is not always a bad thing, as long as you know what you’re doing.

At the age of twenty three, I must say that despite not achieving as much as other human beings I am thankful that I’ve been given so much opportunities to develop myself and achieve my personal goals. I am thankful to be raised by a family that understands individuality rather than shaping me to their idealistic expectations. One thing about my family is that we are our own person and we are all different yet we  understand each other so well. Which brings me to my personal motivations at this age and what drives me to constantly challenge myself with something bigger.

When you’re younger, some of the things you do is because you just have to but now that you’re older, you find meaning in everything that you do. And that’s why it’s important to find the meaning in whatever you do because that will be your motivation to strive even when there’s a million challenges ahead of you. It can be as simple as survival, the will to continue living in this world or as complex as doing it for million other reasons. As for me, I believe in the greater good. I believe that my faith taught me to always have good values in whatever I do be it about my personal goals, my reasons, or even the way I treat the world. My motivation is the people I love and value; those who have left, still with me or even for the people that will be in my future. Here’s a funny thought I had when I was younger – the reason why I am so afraid of eating pills or putting anything in my body that goes through my bloodstream is because one day it will be this same body that carries children (ha laugh all you want but I am a girl and obviously I want kids, lots of them in fact) so I tend to always worry if it has any effect to my body that will affect my pregnancy one day. Of course if it’s meant to be then its fine but I didn’t want to bring a life to this world knowing that I could have done better so that they see the world in a perfect condition. Apart from that wild creative imagination I have, my motivations are the principals I hold dear. As you grow older you learn to have principals that you follow and this all comes down to how your upbringing is. I am motivated to stand by my principals that I have learned all my life and hopefully continue to do so in the future.

Now that I’m twenty three, I learn that some things we have to let go even if it hurts so bad to allow better things to come by our way. I learn that we cannot judge a person so easily but rather understand their story first before forming any perception. I know now that barriers are there to help us grow as a person, not to demotivate us and break our spirit. It’s meant to make us stronger. I also learn that no matter how much or how long you love a person, if they want to leave, you have to let them go because there’s no point holding dearly onto somebody that wishes to leave. I learn to forgive because forgiveness means freedom and you’ll never be free of your demons unless you forgive the people around you, yourself and also constantly seek forgiveness from the Almighty.

Now if you ask me how I’d imagine my life at the age of thirty, I wouldn’t even know anymore what to say. All these years taught me to not have any expectations anymore of the things we cannot control and let God guide us accordingly instead. But one thing I know is that, in whatever we do or anything that we have to face in this world, always remember our reasons and motivations.

Ask yourself what are your reasons to wake up every morning and do the things that you do. The answer is
somewhere in your heart and you know it. You just forget all about it sometimes.