The Philippines is one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. Extreme rainfall and drought will affect availability of water and food; rising sea levels will flood coastal areas and dislocate millions of people.
However, simple acts done every day by millions of people can help reduce climate change. This is the principle behind the SM Green Movement—a collective effort among customers, communities, and partners to make “greener choices” that will protect people and the planet.
Here are some easy and affordable changes you can make right now to make your home and your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.
Unplug unused appliances
Appliances that are on standby or idle power mode can still use electricity. Be mindful of energy waste in your daily routine: for example, leaving a laptop plugged in even when it’s fully charged, or forgetting to turn off the coffee maker. You can also use a power strip to group appliances—such as TV, gaming console, powered speakers—so you can turn them all off at the same time.
Invest in energy-efficient lightbulbs
Start by replacing five of your most commonly-used light fixtures with LED lights.
LED lights use from 75% to 90% less energy compared to a traditional bulb, and last 50 times longer than incandescent lights and 10 times longer than fluorescent lights. Since lighting typically accounts for 15% of a home’s average electricity use, switching to LED can also save you a lot of money!
Change the way you take a bath
A ten-minute shower can use up to 25 gallons (or almost 114 liters) of water. You can save water just by turning off the water while you soap and shampoo or using a pail and tabo. If you get a low-flow shower head, you lower water consumption by 40% or more.
Think of greener ways to beat the heat
Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, and fluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer. Inverter air conditioners use less energy, but it’s still important to minimize use. To keep your home cool, you can:
- Get blackout curtains. The thick lining can block up to 99% of light and 100% of UV rays.
- Get air coolers. These are fans that blow hot hair into a wet pad, so the water evaporates and cools the air. You can find some on SM online, and even more choices in the department store.
- Use your fans creatively. Open the window and point fans towards it so it blows hot air out.
- Adjust ceiling fan settings to counter clockwise, so it pulls hot air up and pushes cool air down.
Choose eco-friendly, sustainable products
It is now easier and more convenient to find eco-friendly products. You have thousands of choices at SM Supermalls. Watsons has over 1,200 sustainable health & beauty products. Body Shop uses ethically-sourced ingredients, and has even switched to 100% recycled hair care bottles. Kultura has handmade products with natural or recycled materials—and you can find even more eco-friendly cooking and cleaning products in SM Home.
No time to compare products? Ask an SM personal shopper to do it for you, then either pick it up or have it delivered to your doorstep.
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Compost your food waste
Composting reduces the amount of trash that goes to landfills and yields a rich fertilizer that you can use for your garden.
You don’t need to have a lot of space to start composing. You can use a 10-gallon plastic bin that you can put in your yard. Adding scraps of shredded newspapers or cardboard can help balance the mix of wet and dry and prevent it from smelling.
Reduce, reuse and recycle plastic
Plastic takes up to 450 years to decompose in a landfill, and most of it ends up in the ocean and kills marine life. While it’s impossible for most homes to stop using plastic completely, you can use it conscientiously.
- Buy commonly-used cooking ingredients in big sizes to minimize packaging
- Bring an eco-bag and sturdy plastic containers when you go to the market to hold produce, meat, and fish
- Bring recyclables to SM Supermalls’ Trash to Cash recycling market every first Friday and Saturday of the month from 10 am to 2 pm. You can find a list of participating malls and the locations of the recycling booths in this SM Green Movement page.
The Philippines may be vulnerable to climate change, but Filipinos can make a difference. “The choices we make in our own home can protect our common home, the planet. SM is committed to making it easier for everyone to follow a green lifestyle and become an eco-warrior,” says SM Supermalls President Steven Tan.