#HerWorldHerStory: This 23-year-old is saving the environment, one step at a time

#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today. Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. This is Woo Qiyun ’s story… As a teenager, I saw my peers use and throw away disposable products like plastic bags and cutlery every day. It was such a waste to see everything go into a bin! I started reading up on sustainability and in 2018, I began reducing my own consumption of plastic waste.
This was before I set up the Singapore chapter of the White Monday movement with my friend Sammie Ng last year. My “experiment” was inspired by Shihui Khee (@tabaogirl on Instagram) who logged the number of disposable items she used every day. I used an excel sheet to track my daily usage of disposable products like chopsticks, forks, spoons and cups.This then led me to taking the repair-reuse-rent practice of White Monday to a bigger scale in Singapore. It’s a movement that originated from Sweden, focusing on getting people to think before they consume commercial products. White Monday happens a week before Black Friday, the big discount sales weekend in the fourth week of November, so there’s enough time for people to think hard if they need to buy new items.
During White Monday week, we would work with influencers to reach out to people by sharing stories and images on reusing items, vintage secondhand stores they frequent, or share why they aren’t buying something new. We want Singaporeans to lose the buy-and-throw mindset and switch to a more sustainable way of life. It’s not as hard as you think: I once traded $500 worth of shopping vouchers for a rarely-used, 9.7-inch Ipad Pro, which would’ve cost me $2,000 for a new one. White Monday is supported by 10 eco-friendly companies and 11 influencers. We’re small, but we’re positive that we can make a difference over time. I want to spark more conversation on sustainability, and it also starts with me. I now bring my own set of cutlery and water bottle everywhere I go. My aim is to hit zero use on disposable products on my excel sheet by year end. This article was first published in Her World’s June issue.

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