100% environmental friendly

Posted on June 19, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-SinChew Daily-

PRAI, PENANG: Housewife Lu Bao-zhen is one of very few people who manage to fulfill 10 green initiatives to become “green citizens”, a programme introduced by the Penang state government.

In the past decade, not only did she adhere to the environmental principles, her protection of the environment is also reflected in her daily lives. She uses bicycle to travel around whenever possible, buy new clothes only once a year, as well as cut down the use of oil, salt and sugar when preparing meals for her family.

“Every month, rubbish from our house weighs only 1kg,” she claimed. This is her greatest achievement in applying the principles of environmental protection. It is also the biggest driving force for her to protect the environment tirelessly.

Garbage classification

All these years, almost all “rubbish” produced by the family of three is categorized into several types. It is either recycled or made into enzyme that serves a useful purpose while doing laundry, floor cleaning and dish washing. Even plastic bags covered with grease will not slip through Lu’s hands. She will wash and subsequently recycle the items as she treasures every resource found on earth.

To prevent wastage, 46 year-old Lu only purchases new clothes during the Chinese New Year. According to her, a T-shirt can last for a few years before it becomes unwearable. Following Lu’s footstep, her only daughter also develops a frugal lifestyle.

Clothes being soaked in enzyme, washed manually

In order to save water and prevent chemicals found in detergent from polluting the earth, Lu normally washes the clothes with hands after soaking them in enzyme. She only uses washing machine for spin-drying purpose.

Lu is against the idea of using items made from chemicals, believing that once the chemicals get absorbed into the soil, it will be contaminated. Therefore, from detergent to shower gel to toothpaste, she will try her best to select the environmental-friendly products.

Preparing meals for family all year round

Almost 365 days a year, Lu cooks for her husband and daughter. She grows vegetable using fertilizer made by herself, besides trying her best to choose only organic and unprocessed foodstuffs. She insists on having lesser intakes of oil, salt, sugar and meat.

Saving electricity and water

Working to save water and conserve electricity, the family spends surprisingly little on electricity and water. Averagely, the family spends RM45 per month on electricity and the amount only slightly increases to over RM50 during Chinese New Year.

Meanwhile, the family’s water bill only costs RM5 every two months, indicating that three of them only use 105 litres of water per day on average.

Riding bicycle everyday

Previously, Lu and her husband avoid driving by walking to the market. Recently, the couple bought a bicycle.

Lu stressed that having a frugal lifestyle is also an act of environmental protection. After having a bicycle, she seldom travels by car and even when she wants to visit Penang island, she will ride the bicycle to a nearby bus station and take a bus to reach the destination.

She said, her family once made a trip to Penang island by taking bus. After her daughter shared the experience with her friends, many of them tried to take a bus ride and learnt to make good use of public transportation.

Promoting enzyme and fertilizer making

Lu started advocating environmental protection in 2001. Initially, she worked on recycling resources at her Prai apartment. Three years later, she assisted Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) to manage a centre which produced enzyme and fertilizer. She was promoting environmental protection by actively engaging in practical activities.

Years ago, she placed recycle bins at her apartment building in a bid to call for environmental protection and urge the residents to avoid wastage of resources. She would then turn the collected food waste into fertilizer, which was subsequently used to grow organic vegetables and fruits. At the same time, she would make enzyme from disposed fruits and their skin at regular intervals. She shared some of the enzyme with friends and kept some at home. Whenever there was a talk, she would take the opportunity to distribute some enzyme to schools or participants to encourage environmental protection.

Currently, she is managing a nearby centre that produces fertilizer. She is also growing several types of vegetables and fruits, including sweet potato leaves, bitter gourd and cucumber, on a plot of empty land next to her apartment’s hall. Everyday, she spends at least two hours making fertilizer. She is seemingly kept busy everyday by her environmental protection activities.

Frequently invited to give talks

Lu is frequently invited to give talks on environmental protection. In May alone (as at 16 May), she had received 17 invitations to give talks during MPSP activities and in schools.

Despite having her hands full with environmental protection activities, she is happy because at least, she has put in efforts to care for the earth.

Lu’s tips in protecting the environment
1. Cut down the use of high voltage electrical appliances. Switch off the main power button or unplug the cable when electrical appliances are not in use for several hours
2. Pour enzyme onto greasy plastic bags, then sprinkle with wheat flour so that the grease can be easily removed by using a sponge.
3. Keep the stems of vegetables. When you want to clean an oily wok, put in the stems to absorb the oil. This can reduce the use of cleaning agent.
4. Put natural sunlight to good use, reduce the use of lights during broad daylight. Before going out, turn off the lights if possible.

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