Zero-waste living simply means aiming to reduce landfill-bound trash to the bare minimum.

According to the Singapore Environment Council, the average amount of waste generated by individuals here each year has increased by almost 200kg from 2000 to 2014.

The authorities have been trying to get people to recycle more, given that space in the landfill in Pulau Semakau is expected to run out between 2035 and 2045.

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Most of us don’t even think twice about taking a plastic bag at the store, and most checkout staff are not educated on the environmental impact their over-packing has. If you consider the fact that a plastic bag could take up to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill, just imagine how much waste each and every one of us is contributing – just by not saying no to unwanted plastic bags and wrapping.

While it’s not realistic to expect everyone to jump on the zero-waste bandwagon immediately, I don’t think it’s asking much that we try to implement small changes, to begin with, in our lives and slowly move on from there, to a more conscious and responsible way of living.

Baby steps are always the best way to go, so start small on your journey to zero-waste living by making your own toothpaste. It costs less than the store-bought kind, has no harmful chemicals and produces little to no waste and is an easy way to get yourself used to a more responsible way of living:

How To Make Your Own Toothpaste

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You will need about 1/2 cup coconut oil.

2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda.

2 small packets of stevia powder.

15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil.

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar and that’s basically it. You have your own toothpaste and more importantly, you have made the first step to a zero-waste lifestyle. Grabbing yourself a bamboo toothbrush will further cut down on the amount of waste you generate.