The Little EcoHero Project
At Woods in the Books, it’s part of our ethos to actively practise eco-conscious actions in our everyday routine. Our bookshop elves all bring our own bottles to work, and we all use our own containers to pack our lunches as an alternative to single use takeaway disposables. From encouraging customers to handle books with care and avoid damage that will turn an otherwise good book into waste, to the charge on paper bags that we instituted in 2019 as our way to encourage customers to think twice before taking a new paper bag, we do our best to make green living part of our bookshop life.
Here are a few other steps we take to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle:
- Cotton Twine Protection: Rather than the more common plastic shrink wrap, we reuse cotton twine to protect books that contain delicate or moving parts so that we still protect our books without generating even more plastic waste.
- Reusable Price Tags: We tag our books with the same paper price tags that we’ve been using for 10 years! Each tag is removed before the books are sold to new homes, so that we can reuse them again.
- FSC-Certified Gift Wrap: Our complimentary Woods in the Books gift wrap is printed on FSC-certified paper, which means it’s sourced from forests that are responsibly managed, environmentally conscious, and socially beneficial.
- Reused Packing Material: With the launch of our more robust doorstep delivery service in 2020, we made the choice to reuse carton boxes, bubble wrap, and other packing materials that come to us as part of our book delivery shipments, rather than generate new waste by purchasing new boxes, plastic sleeves, or styrofoam peanuts.
While these nitty gritty details take time and effort to implement, being a small independent shop means that we can choose to be more environmentally considerate. Although we’re small, we believe that every little bit helps — and it’s in this spirit that the Little EcoHero Project was born.
Click on the links below to read more about our Little EcoHero initiatives over the years!
2018: Lost Oceans
The Little EcoHero Project goes online! In 2020, we want Little EcoHeroes everywhere to remember that even as we Stay Home this year, we can still do our part to save the Earth.
When everyone does their bit together, we can become a mighty wave of change washing in to save our Earth. We want to equip Little EcoHeroes everywhere with tips for an eco-conscious way of life in the household. Even as we weather the #Covid-19 Circuit Breaker in Singapore, there are plenty of things we can do at home to do our bit for our green planet.
In 2020, the Little EcoHero Project encouraged kids to think about and practise eco-friendly actions through:
- The Little EcoHero Pledge, which lists 10 eco-friendly actions that children can carry out at home to flex their earth-saving superpowers every day.
- The Little EcoHero Poster Contest Participants made posters with recycled materials and shared about environmental issues that were close to their hearts on Instagram, using art and creativity not only to consider how to save our green planet but also to think about the best way to tell other people all about it in poster form. The best poster won a very special eco-themed Sunbeams Surprise Pack! Contest entries are available on Instagram in the #LittleEcoHero hashtag.
Take Charge and Protect Our Green Planet (2019)
Is paper more environmentally friendly than plastic? The environmental cost of a paper bag isn’t measured just by how quickly paper can decompose. When weighing the environmental costs of plastic vs. paper, the most sustainable choice is a reusable shopping bag — but only if you actively use it.
We want to spark a habit in our customers to Bring Your Own Bag not just to our stores but wherever you go. We’ve gotten used to a culture of single-use carrier bags but the path to sustainability begins with small steps. Join us as we celebrate Earth Day with our actions and reduce our impact on the natural world together.
In 2019, the Little EcoHero Project tackled the issue of packaging waste and encouraged EcoHeroes large and little to Reduce and Reuse paper bags through:
- $1 Paper Bag Charge We introduced a $1 charge on all new Woods in the Books paper bags from Earth Day 2019. Traditionally, paper bags are a walking advertisement, which is important for small shops like us. We also risked inconveniencing customers. However, we forged ahead as it’s an important step to encourage customers to think about whether a paper bag was a want or a need.
- Call for Paper Bags We understand that our customers love the books they carry home and sometimes a bag is a need rather than a want. While we did away with free new paper bags, we want to provide an eco-friendly solution for your packaging needs! We accept used paper bags in good condition at both our brick-and-mortar stores as an alternative to a new paper bag. Bring them to Woods in the Books or Books Ahoy! where we’ll put them to good use!
- Let’s Plant Trees Together With every paper bag we save, we want to give back. It takes $300 to plant a new tree in Singapore through the Garden City Fund. Since each of our fresh paper bags costs $1, we’ll be able to plant a new tree when we save 300 bags. Sign your name on our poster when you don’t take a paper bag on your next visit to Woods in the Books or Books Ahoy!. Once we hit 300 names, we’ll plant a new tree! (Currently on-hold due to the Covid-19 situation as of April 2020.)
Lost Oceans (2018)
Did you know that the sea might have more plastic than fish by the year 2050? The sea is clogged with rubbish that we humans have put into it. This is something that we can begin to put right today! Plastic is one of the most common elements found in the sea. It doesn’t just come from people throwing rubbish into the sea, but from people who don’t throw rubbish away into proper bins on land, or into rivers. The rubbish then gets washed or blown into the sea. Plastic in the ocean does not decompose, but it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces that never disappear. Plastic bags are eaten by fish and other sea creatures. Balloon strings and plastic six-pack rings get entangled on sea birds and sea creatures. All of this is preventable in our everyday lives. Let us recover our oceans together!
In 2018, the Little EcoHero Project kicked things off by exploring the vast seas of ocean rubbish and encouraged Little EcoHeroes to consider how to put an end to ocean waste through:
- Lost Oceans Quiz and Game Little EcoHeroes visited Woods in the Books to play a quiz and game they ‘cleared rubbish’ from a visual exhibit of an ocean seascape created by in-house Woods in the Books artist Moof.
The Little EcoHero Pledge Every participant brought home a copy of the Little EcoHero pledge to keep. With a list of 10 eco-friendly actions to keep in mind, these Little EcoHeroes do their part to save the planet and help our lost oceans.
To learn more about the topics we’ve touched on in the Little EcoHero Project over the years, here are some resources that we used in our research.
- National Geographic: Let’s Take Bold Steps Forward to Protect Our Planet
- WWF International: How to Save Your Planet
- National Geographic: Plastic or Planet?
- Conserve Energy Future: 20 Surprising Facts About Ocean Pollution
- 50 Things You Should Know About the Environment written by Jen Green, published by QED Publishing.
- Zero Waste SG
- The Straits Times: 2.5kg of food a week wasted by each household, equal to half of all household waste
- The Straits Times: Singapore’s household electricity consumption up 17 per cent over past decade
- Recycling Facts
- Balloons Blow
- Water–Use It Wisely