5 things you never knew could be eco-friendly.

Reusable tumblers, beeswax wraps and upcycled clothes aside, are there any other interesting products that are surprisingly eco-friendly or sustainable? Well, we’re glad you asked.

Okay so it’s time to let you guys in on a little secret talent I have.

Buying stuff.

But not just buying everything. I especially love spending time browsing the most random array of weirdly enticing products online, and then playing a dangerous game of self-restraint which I almost always lose.

Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t share my findings and live a little vicariously through you. If you decide to purchase these finds, of course. So in the spirit of shopping more consciously, here’s a list of some surprisingly eco-friendly items I’ve discovered!

1. beer.

Image credits: Beverage Daily

Ah, there’s nothing quite like a perfectly poured pint on a sweltering hot day. But gone are the days when beer was merely mass-manufactured tins of liquid gold. With the craft beer revolution, breweries are getting increasingly more creative with their choice of ingredients. Peanut butter milk stout? Mmmhmm. Raspberry doughnut ale? Yes please! Beer made from unsold bread? Say what now?

You see, beers can be sustainably brewed, and also feature sustainable ingredients. CRUST Group prides itself on upcycling food waste into beverages – both alcoholic and not. These include surplus ingredients like bread or fruit peels. They offer up local bevvies like Kaya Toast Stout and Beerguette, collaborative brews with partners like Tiong Bahru Bakery and Edible Garden City. So do your part for the environment and have a cold one on us. Just kidding, don’t send us your bills.

2. tattoos.

Image credits: Henndrawn

Love or hate them, tattoos have grown to become a popular artform and an amazing way to express yourself. But did you know that you can now get… vegan tattoos?

Perhaps you’re vegan yourself, or maybe you’re all about making cruelty-free choices. Either way, vegan tattoos are the way to go! Though the exact ingredients that go into tattoo ink often varies, some common animal products in traditional tattoo ink include bone char, glycerin, gelatin and shellac. And that’s not counting animal by-products that can be found in stencil paper or the moisture strips on razors.

In contrast, some vegan tattoo inks consist of kosher vegetable glycerin as a plant-based alternative. While the use of vegan tattoo ink may be more common overseas, this hasn’t stopped Singaporean tattoo artistes like Anthea Tan who use only vegan tattoo ink, stencil paper and razors.

Not the best with commitment? Then maybe go for a Jagua temporary tattoo instead. Jagua is an organic fruit-based ink that originates from South America. Not only will it last you for about 2 weeks, it’ll also leave your skin with a gorgeous tattoo-blue colour. In other words, it’ll look way more legit than those temporary Merlion tatts you pull out from an NDP funpack. We especially love the intricate work of local Jagua artistes, Henndrawn!

3. cryptocurrency.

Whether or not you fancy yourself an investor, you’ve likely heard about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or the infamous memecoin, Dogecoin, and whatever else is new these days. You’ve probably also heard that Bitcoin’s value plunged when Tesla CEO and experienced Twitter-user Elon Musk stated that the electric carmaker would stop accepting Bitcoin as payment because of its impact on the environment.

A lot of its environmental impact has to do with the processing power required from computers to mine cryptocurrency. Vast amounts of electricity is generated by computers to power complex algorithms, which tap on non-renewable energy sources such as coal.

Thankfully, there are cyptocurrencies like Chia, IOTA and Cardano that are a little more eco-friendly. These cryptocurrencies have been ranked to be more energy efficient according to research from TRG Datacenters.

For instance, IOTA uses “Tangle”, an alternative form of technology that does not require miners. It’s also maintained by smaller devices with lower energy requirements. Similarly, Cardano uses a proof-of-stake system called Ouroboros. Users would be required to purchase tokens to join the network, saving significant amounts of energy!

4. sexual wellness toys.

Image credits: Womanizer

Gone were the days when purchasing adult toys involved sneaking into dimly lit shops along Orchard Road just so you could surprise your friend with a vibrator shaped like a British toy soldier for her birthday. (If that example was too specific, it’s because it is.)

These days, vibrators, dildos, and various creative male-friendly equivalents are all about self-love and empowerment! Plus, there’s the internet if you’re still feeling a little shy to get one from a physical store. A sustainable alternative to traditional sex toys though is the Womanizer Premium Eco, the first biodegradable and recyclable Pleasure Air toy. It’s also pretty costly when compared to other brands, as it retails at $280++ a set. But some would say its unique Pleasure Air Technology warrants the heavy price tag.

Air, you say? This sleek and pretty luxuriously designed product stimulates the sensitive nerve endings of the clitoris completely contactless with gentle air waves. It’s also made of Biolene, a bioplastic made from 70% natural materials like corn starch, and also features a replaceable and rechargeable battery that extends its run time. Everything from its plastic-free packaging, and protective bag made out of organic cotton, spells eco with a capital E. It’s also conveniently available at shops such as Guardian.

5. toothbrushes.

Okay, you’re probably thinking – eco-friendly toothbrushes? Duh, I’ve seen so many toothbrushes made out of eco-friendly materials like bamboo, with charcoal bristles, etc. Too true, but let me share this special discovery with you, my friend.

Neem sticks. Yes, sticks.

Neem is a popular Ayurvedic medicinal herb, used for various purposes. Neem twigs specifically have been used to maintain oral hygiene wayyy before toothbrushes came into existence. They’re said to protect against bacteria, maintain healthy alkaline levels, strengthen gums, and help whiten teeth, and combat bad breath.  

Sounds amazing, but perhaps a more important question is – won’t brushing your teeth with a stick hurt? Not if done with the correct technique, apparently. This involves nibbling off a couple of inches of bark, chewing on it till it turns to bristles and then gently rubbing your teeth with them after. You can probably get some off eBay, but maybe start a little smaller and get some neem floss or toothpicks instead. If you are curious about alternative medicine and Ayurveda though, be sure to check out this interesting story we did!

Of course, these are just a handful of eco-friendly products that caught our eyes. Know of other unique ones? Let us know here, and  if you do happen to try out any of the products listed above, feel free to share your experience with them too!

*Feature image credits: Womanizer via SheKnows.

Feeling the urge to shop? Check out these sustainable grocers, discover more about cruelty-free beauty products or learn more about shopping sustainably here!

brintha loganathan

Apart from being futr Singapore's editor, Brin also churns out copy for Strada Visual Lab. Hobbies include mothering, "reality TV" and good beer. Mmm.

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