Greening Your Coffee & BBT Habits For A Sustainable Lifestyle

Simple ways for coffee, tea and bubble tea devotees to help save the planet.

By Chris Ong      24 August 2021

In case you missed the good news, the Singapore government launched a new sustainability movement, GreenGov.SG on 12th July 2021, a sustainable development initiative under the Singapore Green Plan 2030. It’s all about helping the public sector go green by embarking on plans such as having all new government cars be cleaner energy models by 2023, cutting energy and water use by 10 percent by 2030, and so on. What’s better of course, is if we do our part as eco-conscious beings to cause less pollution and wastage of resources while living on this little planet we call Earth. Here are simple ways to live (and love) a sustainable life, starting with the right stuff to help you drink up your fave refreshment, the greener way.

Photo: The Sustainability Project

BYO Straw

Plastic is harmful because it can take up to a possible 450 years to decompose, so it ends up littering and clogging up land, polluting seas, and harming our oceanic and animal friends when they ingest them (plastic contains toxic components). You can adopt one of the easiest and most affordable ways to help promote a zero-waste movement and reduce the use of non-biodegradable plastic: Bring your own straw. While single-use plastic straws (as well as other single-use plastic items such as cups, plates, forks, ear buds with sticks, packaging bags and wraps, and so on) are increasing being banned or phased out in many countries (including  Singapore), and while you can probably make do drinking without one, there are some of us who might need time to break the habit of using a hollow tube or find that a straw is still the best way to imbibe, say, a cup of bubble tea with pearls. The best solution is to buy and bring out a straw of your own.

There are lots of non-plastic options out there for you to choose from. You can opt for a 100% all-natural, compostable and biodegradable bamboo one ($3.50); a durable, BPA-free, stainless steel one (from $3); or another BPA-free one made from borosilicate glass that does not retain smell, taste or colour (from $3). There are even stainless steel ones specially made for smoothies (from $3) and bubble tea (from $3) Plus, most come with a straw cleaner so you can wash them better and keep them away in your bag quicker after use. (Please note that stainless steel will conduct the temperature of your beverage, thus it is not advisable to use it to drink a hot beverage.)


Photo: The Sustainability Project


You can level up your eco-conscious ways by not just bringing out your own straw, but also your own cup, too. In doing so, you can help your beloved cafe establishments save on their costs and resources, as well as the use of any kind of plastic or paper cups for their takeaways. You can choose to buy and bring out a SoL cup ($40). Made with 100% hand-blown borosilicate glass and  chemical- and plastic-free, it is also quite portable as it is lightweight and durable, making this your perfect, pretty vessel to bring out from your office when you are grabbing a cuppa during work. Or, if you are always on the move, then perhaps the Stojo Collapsible Cup ($30) is more of a must-have. Constructed out of food-grade silicone, this works somewhat like an accordion; remove its heat sleeve, open the mouth tab and compress it to close, and to open, simply pull and extend. It is compact and light enough to port around; is leak-proof when the mouth tab is closed; and also comes with a polypropylene lid, a heat sleeve and an optional silicone straw for your iced drinks and smoothies. Plus, it comes in a multitude of colours (mint, peony, dove and more) so you can pick your hue of choice.

Photo: The Sustainability Project

Go Non-plastic For Everything Else

And, if you are ready to go the whole hog on living sustainably, you can also choose to get these to make your tea-time super earth friendly. Bring along a washable cotton or canvas cup holder (from $8) that comes in colourful designs such as an illustrated brown fox, pink donuts and floral prints for your takeaways; pack a SoL borosilicate glass bottle wrapped with a silicone sleeve ($50) in your bag to carry your liquids when you’re out; or even use rattan ($5) or upcycled wood ($10) coasters when having a tea break at home. Whatever you choose to do, the less plastic used, the better.


All abovementioned straws, cups and other products are available from The Sustainability Project, https://thesustainabilityproject.life; https://www.facebook.com/thesustainabilityproj; www.instagram.com/thesustainabilityproject_


BONUS: SAFRA members get to purchase a Stojo Collapsible Cup and cup holder at $32 (U.P. $38) or a safety razor and bamboo toothbrush at $35 (U.P. $41.50) at The Sustainability Project. Click here for more information.


Bonus Tip: Own Your Drink

If you’ve got your straw, your cup and your cup-holder, you can now also own your drink. By that, we mean approaching any cafe such as The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Rocky Master or bubble tea store with these items in hand, and ask if you can have your beverage served in the vessel that you’ve brought along. Some of them might even offer you a discount for your eco-conscious effort! Even if they don’t, just know this: Your new lifestyle choice and habit, will help our planet (and your drink taste) better in the long run.


BONUS: SAFRA members get to enjoy 2 small size Ice Blended drinks at $9.90 (U.P. $15.20) and also a sliced cake at $5 (U.P. $7.50) with the purchase of the two Ice Blended drinks; both valid for takeaways only at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. SAFRA members also get to enjoy a 1-for-1 regular latte at $5.80 (U.P. $11.60) at Rocky Master.  Click here and here, respectively, for more information.