By now, you should be jumping up in disgust at any fine dining establishment that still offers plastic straws, and denying them at any given opportunity when you buy drinks at a street side stall.

In case you missed it, caring for the environment is the hottest (no pun intended) trend since ‘gramming your Eggs Benny at brunch and wearing a designer face mask. As opposed to the latter two, however, being eco-friendly is actually serious business, and all jokes aside, as global and responsible citizens, it is our duty to take care of our planet. We’re not moving to Mars any time soon, and Mother Earth has given us enough #memories to be grateful for.

[Hero Image Credit: Daniel Salcius/Unsplash; Featured Image Credit: Photo Boards/Unsplash]

Image Credit: Guus Baggermans/Unsplash

As Thailand starts to become more eco-conscious (remember the plastic bag ban and how we brought barrels into 7-11?), it’s important not to let go of that feat as we practice social distancing, too. On the one hand, the skies are clearer in many parts of the world because we’re travelling and driving less, but on the other hand, our plastic use is up in the clouds as we order styrofoam deliveries and clingfilm-wrapped takeout.

At the time of writing, Bangkok has officially reopened some of its dine-in outlets, and the alcohol ban has been lifted. Whilst this may mean you start going out more and ordering in less, we’ve prepared a checklist for how you can continue to be more eco-friendly whilst also shielding yourself from a global health crisis. Perhaps you can have it all.

Image Credit: Ella Olsson/Unsplash

How to be more eco-friendly when dining (in or out)

  1. Never ever ask for plastic cutlery when ordering in. Use your own
  2. Avoid plastic straws at all costs
  3. Invest in metal or bamboo straws, or get completely creative with it (we hear pasta is a cute one)
  4. Use Tupperware (or a Thai pinto!) for your takeaway orders
  5. Bring a reusable cup for your coffee, tea, or other beverages
  6. Transport everything in a reusable bag
  7. Try to eat less meat
  8. Try to eat less MSG (this one’s grand for your health, too)
  9. Cook more, and practice zero-waste cooking
  10. Use cloth napkins and kitchen towels that you can wash afterwards
  11. Keep your leftovers (and turn them into something new the next day)
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How to be more eco-friendly while shopping

  1. Do not panic buy or impulse buy. You run the risk of wasting goods this way. Purchase only what you need
  2. Use a big reusable bag (or several) to transport your shopping
  3. Try not to pack fruit and vegetables in plastic (put them in your own bag if you buy them at fresh markets)
  4. Buy from proven sustainable brands or zero-waste stores where applicable
  5. Buy local produce, as opposed to imported produce where possible, and buy seasonal goods
  6. Go for organic, natural products where possible
  7. Go for refillable goods that you can store in containers back at home (shampoo and soap are great examples here)
  8. Get creative and multifunctional with the items you purchase
  9. For style items, focus on buying investment pieces, rather than fast-fashion
  10. Look into buying second hand (or pre-loved)
  11. Donate items you don’t need, and try to remain clutter-free. The future is minimalist
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How to be more eco-friendly at home in general

  1. Shut down gadgets when you are not using them
  2. Wash dishes by hand
  3. Dry clothes outside, as opposed to in a dryer
  4. Try to make as much use of natural light as possible (move your work area near a window, and avoid using lightbulbs in the day)
  5. Grow your own herbs and vegetables
  6. Keep a compost pile of biodegradable goods (for growing your own vegetables, too)
  7. Stop taking uber-long showers
  8. Stop leaving the tap on when you brush your teeth
  9. Turn off the AC for some time, or keep it at a comfortable, warmer temperature
  10. Is there really a need to print things on paper?
  11. Reuse water where possible (plants, floor-cleaning), and collect rainwater for these purposes too
Image Credit: Daniel Oberg/Unsplash

How to be more eco-friendly while out and about in general

  1. Walk! (And wear a mask to shield from existing pollution)
  2. Wear a fabric mask that you can wash and reuse (though be mindful that it has sufficient filters to protect you)
  3. Travel less, or travel local

Spread the word, pressure your peers (#PlanetPeerPressure is okay, we checked), and support the cause.

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.