A Ying For Bynd Artisan Feature
Sustainable Stories – Dr Georgia Lee
For our Ying For Bynd Artisan – The Renewal Bag collaboration, we invited Dr Georgia Lee to share with us more on her journey as a global sustainability advocate.
Hi Georgia, we’d love for you to share with us your journey towards a sustainable way of living and working. What inspired you to begin?
Dr Georgia Lee: I consider myself late to the game. My husband Chris has been actively recycling since 1995 — he’d recycle plastic and find alternative use for common household items. I am guilty of over consumerism in my 20s and 30s especially for my fashion pursuits. But as I began to read more about environmental issues, I started taking small baby steps towards sustainability to create awareness in my circle of patients.
What practices have you adopted in your daily life and in your clinic?
GL: In my personal life, I started acquiring quality fashion pieces that transcend time and fads. At work in my clinic, one day I sat down and calculated the amount of plastic waste we had contributed over the years, and I decided we needed to do something. So we’ve have stopped serving bottled water since 2015.
The other thing we did was to source, design and produce dispensing bags from biodegradable materials and recycled paper. This process alone took us 18 months because we needed to research materials that are compatible with medications like loose tablets and capsules. During this process, we also understood the challenges that Singapore faced in our bid to reduce plastic waste — there were no local manufacturers of such products then, and the cost of each bag was 30 times more expensive than a plastic ziplock bag. Going green, to be honest, is expensive for businesses.
Now, with Covid-19, with an increase in the use of disposables and non-environmentally friendly materials found in masks, going green has gone backwards. We started to look at how we could re-use masks among the staff. We issue two sets of six surgical masks to each person for the commute to and from work, and six pieces of N95 to be used at work. When the team clock in, they disinfect their surgical masks in our designated UV sanitiser, and change to a new piece of N95 that is only used in clinic. The N95 is then UV-sanitised when they clock out, and a new surgical mask is used for the journey home. The masks are stored separately and are re-used the following week. This way, each person uses only 12 surgical masks and six N95 each month. However, it’s safety first, so if a mask is not fit for use in any way, it will be replaced.
At our weekly meetings, there will be a reminder to keep up with our sustainability practices. It’s important to take care of our Earth for future generations.
What efforts do you hope to see stepped up in Singapore in the next five years?
GL: Start raising awareness in Primary school. Educate people on recycling. Have more recycled or biodegradable packaging manufacturers locally to reduce carbon footprints.
What is it about our Renewal Bag you love?
GL: I love what it represents, and I am proud that two well-known Singaporean brands are leading the pack in the sustainability movement in the fashion segment.
What would you put in your Renewal Bag?
GL: My sunscreen, disinfectant, my personal mobile device and anything else I may need for my casual outings.
In the spirit of becoming more mindful and care-ful in our processes moving forward, we will be offering customers an opt-out option from the gift box packaging for their purchases in-store.