Simple ways your family can live greener lives

From minimising the use of one-time plastics to using the air-conditioner less, here are some small steps you – and your children – can take to improve sustainability and help the environment.



Sustainability starts at home. After all, even small changes can have a big impact on the environment, sustainability efforts – and as an added bonus, on your utility bills.

In response to climate change, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 aims to shift the country towards a more sustainable lifestyle and economy over the next decade. To help preserve our natural resources for the next generation, consider incorporating these green habits into your household’s daily routine.


By now, most Singaporeans are familiar with the blue recycling bins parked next to the green waste bins below their blocks, or outside their homes. While recycling is a core element of sustainability, far fewer are aware of the right way to recycle. Some 40 per cent of items inside recycling bins are either contaminated with food and liquids or cannot be recycled at all due to their materials.

To make the most of recycling, ensure that your recyclables are made from materials like glass, paper, plastic and metal. Avoid single-use food packaging, as it cannot be recycled. Assign your kids simple tasks like washing containers or flattening out packaging before bringing it to the recycling bin. Social media savvy teens can rely on Clean and Green Singapore’s Bloobin augmented reality filter to determine whether an object is recyclable.


Items like soft toys, books and clothing are considered reusables, not recyclables. Set aside an afternoon for kids to sort through their old belongings and decide what they want to keep, and what they want to get rid of.

Toys in good condition can be sold on an online platform like Carousell, while books can be donated to an organisation like Books Beyond Borders or Thryft. The latter allows donors to trade-in books in exchange for store credit – perfect for little bookworms who can burrow through an entire stack of books in a week.

Not only does this reduce clutter, children also learn that things don’t have to be new to be valued. They’ll also learn how easy it is to practise sustainability.


Similarly, buying pre-loved items can be a great way to lengthen their lifespans, save resources and boost sustainability. While not everything can be bought second-hand, things like home decor, clothing and fashion accessories are in ample supply at thrift stores across Singapore.

Besides being good for the environment, second-hand goods can sometimes be of better quality than their modern counterparts. You might even luck out and find a designer knick-knack or shirt at a fraction of its original price.

Be patient – you might have to dig through a lot to find some treasure. Doing your research helps. For example, if you’re hoping to score some vintage Pyrex glass dishes, make sure you know how to identify them by the labels or embedded seals. There are plenty of online resources that teach you how to become an eagle-eyed bargain hunter.


You can still grow herbs like Thai basil or curry leaves even if you don’t have a garden of your own. Whether you’re placing the plants on your balcony, windowsill or in the corridor, make sure you have good sunlight, adequate water and drainage.

Children will enjoy watching the plants grow and tasting the fresh herbs once they’ve matured. The effort involved in caring for their plants will also give them a new appreciation of food and why we shouldn’t waste it.

More experienced gardeners can also consider composting, which means recycling organic waste – such as potato peelings and eggshells – into a rich fertiliser for plants. If space in your kitchen is an issue, no need to fret: There are pint-sized tabletop compost bins that can be tucked away into a corner. They also have lids so smells don’t escape.


Temperatures in Singapore are on the rise due to climate change. Between 1948 and 2015, temperatures here have risen by 0.25 degrees Celsius per decade.

Many families turn on the air-conditioning to beat the heat, but the energy-intensive appliance in households and buildings emits 19 per cent of Singapore’s carbon emissions – the second highest source after the industrial sector.

To cool down without contributing even more to climate change, turn your air-conditioning up to 25 degrees Celsius or higher. You can also use it to cool a room before switching to the fan and make it a household habit not to use the air-conditioning on rainy nights.


Did you know that shower time accounts for 30 per cent of your household’s monthly water consumption? The average five-minute shower in Singapore uses almost 20 litres of water. If you have four people in a household, that’s 80 litres of water in a day at minimum.

To save water, here are some habits that the family can pick up overtime. It’s good to remind your family members to turn off the shower while shampooing their hair or soaping themselves. Other than that, try brushing your teeth with just a mug of water, and not to let the tap run unnecessarily. In the kitchen, rinse fruits and vegetables in a container of water instead of under the tap, and re-use the same water to water plants.


Single-use plastics require energy and resources to produce, are used once, then discarded. When single-use plastics are incinerated, they produce toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide, which worsens climate change.

In addition to bringing reusable bags when you go grocery shopping, bring a tiffin carrier when you buy lunch or dinner at the hawker centre. This reduces the use of plastic and saves you money as well (that S$0.20 fee for a plastic box can add up over time).

These days, there are eco-friendly containers for everything. Kids who love bubble tea can even get a reusable bubble tea cup or bag with attached straw – perfect for enjoying a sweet treat without the environmental guilt.

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Club Buzz Featured

5 reasons to download the new HomeTeamNS Mobile App

From ease of booking facilities to accessing membership promotions, the new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App offers users a more seamless experience.



A new version of the HomeTeamNS Mobile App has been launched, offering members greater convenience and a more user-friendly experience.

A preview event was held at HomeTeamNS Khatib on 17 Feb 2022, before the app’s official launch on 21 Feb 2022. The event was attended by HomeTeamNS President, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who is also the Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development; Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive of HomeTeamNS; and HomeTeamNS volunteers.

The previous version of the HomeTeamNS Mobile App housed on the GetKaki platform was launched in May 2020. It garnered over 99,000 downloads, 35,000 monthly logins, and 64,000 active users over two years, clearly showing that there was demand among HomeTeamNS members for a fuss-free, seamless digital experience.

From left: Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive of HomeTeamNS; Commissioner Eric Yap Wee Teck, Vice President of HomeTeamNS; Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development, and President of HomeTeamNS; and AC Puvenesveran K, General Secretary of HomeTeamNS, officially launched the new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App on 17 February 2022 at HomeTeamNS Khatib.

The new version of the app introduced new functions to provide a more fulfilling user experience. It is also now easily searchable and downloadable from Google Play and Apple App Stores.

“We are delighted that many of you find our app useful,” shared Assoc Prof Faishal. “To further enhance the membership experience, the newly-improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App will deliver more services through an improved user-friendly and responsive interface with additional personalised interactions such as location-based recommendations, bookings management, targeted push notifications, and chat support functions.”

Here’s why the new HomeTeamNS Mobile App is a download-worthy addition to any HomeTeamNS member’s mobile device.


To make the members’ experience more seamless, the enhanced app features a range of upgrades. Now, members can use it to book villas at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, clubhouse events, and even courses. Like any faithful digital assistant, the app sends reminders to users as their booking date approaches.

And here’s a lifehack for those hanging around the vicinity of any HomeTeamNS clubhouses! Browse the Mobile App to explore recommended facilities near their location.


Have a burning membership question in the wee hours of the night? Strike up a conversation with HomeTeamNS’ Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot, Irene. Simply type in any question concerning membership perks, facilities and activities, and you’ll get a handy response. Irene even lists commonly asked topics in the chat to get the conversation started.

Alternatively, members can converse with the Association’s live agents from 10am to 8pm daily.


A digital ‘one-stop shop’, the app serves as a hub for all things membership-related. Members can access their HomeTeamNS Digital Membership Card in the app, which enables them to flex their membership entitlements conveniently at any of the participating outlets in the clubhouse or partner merchants nationwide. Get promo codes, redeem over-the-counter deals and find out more about those prime perks. From Burger King’s $5 Cheeseburger Value Meal to 1-For-1 movie tickets and $5 F&B Combo by Cathay Cineplexes, members have access to a range of promotions at their fingertips.


The Mobile App is also a library for HomeTeamNS updates, where members can scroll through their favourite Frontline articles on clubhouse happenings, lifestyle tips and more. Members can also access the latest stories featuring NSmen from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Singapore Police Force (SPF), and volunteers from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), anytime, anywhere.

Find a story worth shouting about? Members can also instantly share the article to their social media pages like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, or messaging platforms such as Telegram and WhatsApp, at the touch of a button.


Unlike the older GetKaki version, this app is also open to anyone registered under the HomeTeamNS Family Scheme. This means family members get their very own account to explore the various features for themselves.

At the launch of the enhanced Mobile App, Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive of HomeTeamNS, shared: “We hope that the HomeTeamNS Mobile App will transform how our members maximise the usage of our membership perks and privileges at our clubhouses. This is the first of many steps towards HomeTeamNS’ strategy to be mobile-first across all platforms.”

As the saying goes: ‘As one door closes, another opens.’ The former GetKaki HomeTeamNS Mobile App will cease operations by 31 March 2022. To continue to stay up to date with the latest membership features and news at your fingertips, download the new and improved mobile app now!


5 things you probably didn’t know about water in Singapore

We look at Singapore’s efforts to make every drop of water count.



World Water Day recognises the importance of water and raises awareness of the challenges those without access to clean water faced.

This year’s World Water Day theme is groundwater, which refers to the fresh water found in underground aquifers (geological formations of sand, rock and gravel). Groundwater supplies rivers, lakes and springs, eventually flowing into the ocean.

Singapore has made great strides in achieving self-reliance in water, but conservation is still an important part of our approach to this resource. Singapore has set a target of reducing its water consumption from 154 litres per person (measured in 2020) to 130 litres per day by 2030.

Here are five interesting facts about water in Singapore and how we are working to ensure water sustainability.


Singapore may have achieved self-reliance in water, but conservation is still a crucial to safeguard this resource.

Thanks to its reputation as a Garden City, Singapore is often thought of as a green city – but between 19 to 22 March, it’s turning blue instead to honour World Water Day.

Landmarks like Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer and more were bathed in a serene blue glow last year as part of PUB’s City Turns Blue initiative, which returns this year to remind Singaporeans of our need to conserve this precious resource. Water advocacy has always played a major role in Singapore’s efforts to imbue a conservation mindset in both young and old, starting with the very first water conservation campaign in May 1971 during a prolonged dry spell.

If you’re out and about downtown during the campaign period, don’t forget to snap a photo and share your photos on social media using the hashtag #GoBlue4SG. You can also wear blue, make blue drinks or food, or decorate your space in blue to show solidarity with Singapore’s national water movement.


We’re used to Singapore’s extensive network of roads and expressways, train lines and tunnels. But there’s a hidden superhighway deep underground that very few Singaporeans will ever encounter (which is probably a good thing).

The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) conveys used water to three treatment plants that are strategically located along the coastal areas of Singapore, so that it can be treated and purified into NEWater. With its second phase set to be completed in 2025, the DTSS frees up land that would otherwise be occupied by intermediate pumping stations and conventional water reclamation plants. It’s energy-efficient, as well: The water is moved entirely through the force of gravity along the tunnels.


What do mangrove plants and fish have to do with cutting-edge water technology?

Current desalination technology uses reverse osmosis, which involves deploying membranes to filter salts and minerals from seawater – a highly energy-intensive method, in Singapore’s four desalination plants. Singapore is welcoming its fifth desalination plant in 2023, intended for testing new technologies.

These technologies include more energy-efficient ways of desalinating seawater, such as electro-deionisation – using an electric field to pull dissolved salts from water – and biomimicry, which copies the way mangrove plants and fish extract freshwater from seawater. While still in their infancy, these exciting technologies could revolutionise freshwater production in Singapore.


Most of us would wince at the thought of dropping our smartphones in a swimming pool, or spilling coffee over our laptops. After all, water and tech devices just don’t mix, right?

In fact, water is essential for the tech sector. It takes up to 30 litres of water to manufacture a single microchip for a smartphone, tablet or laptop. In Singapore, water is a key part of our journey to becoming a global tech hub with a growing number of semiconductor firms and data centres. Data centres in particular require huge amounts of water to cool their servers.

To balance Singapore’s tech goals with our need to conserve water and energy, the government has announced that any new data centres must meet an array of environmental sustainability standards before receiving construction approval.


PUB mascots Water Wally and Water Sally visited HomeTeamNS Khatib on 12 and 13 March.

Although Singapore has a circular water economy – which means that we are able to endlessly recycle our water by collecting, treating and reusing it – this doesn’t mean that we can let it go to waste.

To help spread the importance of water conservation, popular mascots Water Wally and Water Sally are scheduled to appear at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier on 26 March from 12pm to 2pm.

To redeem a small gift, just follow these few steps: Wear blue to any HomeTeamNS clubhouse, snap a photo with the mascots, and post it in the comments section of the World Water Day post on the clubhouse’s Facebook page. Show your post to the HomeTeamNS staff to receive your gift.

If you’re staying home, you can still participate in World Water Day. Simply log on to HomeTeamNS-JOM’s Facebook page between 9 to 30 March to show off your trivia knowledge and win prizes by taking part in a series of online water-centric quizzes.

On World Water Day, let’s remember how precious this essential resource is – and make an effort to ensure every drop counts in Singapore.

Close Up

Championing the environment — and his NS commitments

Here’s how the Singapore Police Force’s DAC (NS) Mulyadi Ahmad upholds his responsibility to the nation’s security and sustainability.



By day, DAC (NS) Mulyadi Ahmad oversees the environmental public health operations of the western region of Singapore, in his capacity as a Deputy Director of the National Environment Agency. “This entails a range of environmental matters, from littering and smoking   enforcement to sanitation and environmental hygiene,” explains the 46-year-old.

His duty as an environmental champion doesn’t stop at the end of a workday: It also continues at home, where he is the “environmentalist-in-chief”. “I want to remind my five children, aged five to 20, about the importance of sustainability,” he says. “Through my work, I am keenly aware of the growing waste problem we have and how our landfills will eventually run out of capacity. All of us must play our part — and I want my kids to play theirs.”


To instil this responsibility, he limits the number of times that the family can use food delivery apps. The rising popularity of such apps during the COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately flooded our landfills, incinerators and even oceans with more plastic containers, utensils and bags.

“I’m not always successful in discouraging the use of disposables, but at least the kids think about their actions,” he admits. “Whenever I can, I’ll just go to the coffeeshop with my reusable containers to buy food for the whole family, so we can cut down on waste together.”

But sometimes, DAC (NS) Mulyadi knows that the use of disposable plastics is inevitable. One of his family’s beloved pastimes is dining at hawker centres together, with the East Coast Lagoon Food Village being their favourite. “When you go there, the stallholders give you styrofoam plates and utensils, even when you’re eating there. What can you do?”

The pandemic, he adds, has helped his family overcome the dilemma. “Because we’re a household of seven, we haven’t been able to dine out for a few months since safe distancing measures were heightened.”


Contaminated recycling bins are another cause for concern for DAC (NS) Mulyadi. He still feels helpless when he brings down the family’s recycling bag down to the recycling bin, only to find that it has been contaminated by non-recyclables like food waste. Never one to give up, he feels that one should continue to try to educate and influence the people around them.

DAC (NS) Mulyadi is proud that his children have embraced the values of sustainability, but he admits that they still sometimes need a nudge from him. “To them, it may seem easier to just throw away the plastic drink bottle but after I remind them about the right thing to do — which is to clean and recycle it — they do it. It’s about constantly reminding those around us and making eco-friendliness a habit.”


DAC (NS) Mulyadi is the NS Commander of the Airport Police Division where he oversees 1,300 Police NSMen.

Another cause that DAC (NS) Mulyadi feels strongly about is National Service. As the NS Commander of the Airport Police Division, he oversees the operations, deployment and welfare of 1,300 Police NSMen (PNSMen) under his charge. Together, they upkeep aviation security and safeguard Changi Airport’s reputation as a safe and secure travel hub. “It has been a quiet two years because of the pandemic, but that also poses a unique challenge: How do you keep the men warmed up and on their feet? We cannot let standards slip because of a dip in passenger movements.”

To tackle this, DAC (NS) Mulyadi and his team engage in regular recalls, sometimes as often as once a week, to keep his men on their toes. But he also balances the need for operational readiness with respect for his men’s careers and personal lives. “NS is a commitment, but it’s not their only one,” he acknowledges. “These men are pilots, business owners, physical trainers — they each have their own commitments and we must respect those as well.

The solution, he says, is to lead by example and adds that on some days leading up to a recall, NS commanders like himself can end their days at 11pm. “Everybody puts in the effort to achieve our common goal.” And when he ends a particularly gruelling day or work week, he turns to his loved ones to get recharged. “We don’t have to go out to enjoy each other’s company,” says DAC (NS) Mulyadi, whose latest pastime is watching Korean movies and dramas on Netflix with his family. “At the end of the day, it’s the company that matters.”


Back in 2013, when DAC (NS) Mulyadi was offered the appointment of NS Deputy Commander in the Airport Police Division, he initially hesitated to take up the appointment because of family commitments. But his wife, Mdm Nur Aini, encouraged him to accept it, saying: “If you are the one selected and if your service is needed by the nation, you should take the opportunity to contribute.”

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