Restaurants and malls among 1,600 premises to cut use of disposables in new NEA campaign

Restaurants and malls among 1,600 premises to cut use of disposables in new NEA campaign

Plastic cutlery
File photo of single-use plastic products. (Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa / AFP)

SINGAPORE: More than 1,600 premises, including restaurants, malls, hotels, supermarkets and schools, will take steps to encourage consumers to reduce the use of disposables such as plastic bags and takeaway containers. 

They come under 59 companies and organisations that have joined the National Environment Agency's (NEA) latest campaign launched on Saturday (Jun 8), to get people to cut down on waste and choose more sustainable alternatives. 

Companies will implement initiatives such as providing only reusable straws, offering discounts to customers who bring their own cup for drinks, removing plastic bottled water in meeting rooms and reducing the use of cling wrap in kitchens. 

reusable straws
File photo of reusable straws.

"Singaporeans in general are consuming disposables excessively," said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor at the launch of the campaign. 

"The issue really is not what type of disposables is used. But instead, we should look at how to reduce or avoid the use of disposables as much as possible. And to choose or opt to use reusables where we can."

NEA anti-waste campaign
The partners’ commitments cover a range of actions, such as displaying the Say YES to Waste Less campaign visuals.

The Say YES to Waste Less campaign, in line with Singapore's Year Towards Zero Waste this year, was launched at IKEA Tampines on Saturday. 

IKEA was the first retailer in Singapore to completely remove disposable plastic shopping bags from its store in 2013.

In 2019, it removed plastic straws from its restaurants and by the end of this year, the Swedish furniture giant plans to stop the sale of single-use bottled water. It will instead sell water in recyclable tetra packs.

NEA anti-waste campaign (1)
By the end of 2019, IKEA plans to remove single-use bottled water from its Swedish Food Markets and, instead, sell water in recyclable tetra packs.

NEA said the 1,600 premises that are part of the campaign can reach out to "millions of consumers". 

At ibis Singapore on Bencoolen, the hotel has replaced the use of plastic bottled water with refillable "eco bottles". It will also reduce the use of cling wrap in the kitchen by 50 per cent and replace them with reusable containers from December.

Fairmont, on the other hand, will phase out single-use shower amenity bottles in guest rooms by 2020.

Schools have come on board as well. Nanyang Girls High School, for instance, has partnered Kung Fu Tea at Hillion Mall to implement a discount of S$0.10 to consumers who bring their own cup.

Supermarkets such as Cold Storage, Market Place and FairPrice have offered shoppers reward points and rebates for using reusable bags. 

Major food and beverage outlets such as McDonald's and 4FINGERS, which are also part of the campaign, have been putting up notices on their straw dispensers to nudge customers into skipping straws. 

McDonald's straws
Visual cues at McDonald's to encourage customers to skip the straw.

Such efforts are not new. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced earlier this week that more than 270 food and beverage outlets in Singapore will phase out plastic straws by Jul 1. 

READ: Phasing out plastic straws helps the environment, but more needs to be done, say observers

READ: A commentary on what it will take for Singapore to give up plastic

According to NEA, packaging waste, including plastics, make up about one-third of domestic waste disposed of in Singapore.

In 2018, about 164,500 tonnes of domestic waste were disposables, enough to fill about 300 Olympic-size swimming pools. 

NEA anti-waste campaign
In 2018, about 164,500 tonnes of domestic waste were disposables.

At the current rate of waste disposal, Singapore will need one landfill every 30 to 35 years, said NEA.

It added: "As Singapore is short of land, there is a need to encourage the adoption of a more sustainable lifestyle and the avoidance of excessive consumption. The support of the public, businesses and NGOs is key to successfully reducing the use of disposables."

Source: CNA/ic(gs)

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