SINGAPORE: It looks like a convenience store from the outside, but walk through the doors and you’ll see that this isn’t where you can easily buy food and drinks on-the-go.
Here, there are items such as mini solar chargers, bamboo toothbrushes, compost buckets and menstrual cups – all eco-friendly products that are sustainable alternatives to seemingly convenient everyday products.
Welcome to the [Not-So] Convenience Store.
Opening to the public on Friday (Jun 7), it is the first exhibition at Temasek Shophouse at Orchard, near Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. Temasek Shophouse, part of the philanthropic efforts of Temasek Trust, provides a co-working space that promotes social impact and sustainability.
In conjunction with World Environment Day, the exhibition aims to raise awareness about how the “culture of convenience” – such as people’s dependence on single-use plastics and constant desire for new electronic gadgets – contributes to global warming.
Organisers also highlighted the world’s growing waste problem, which has snowballed to more than two billion tonnes a year.
Singapore alone generated more than 7.78 million tonnes of waste in 2017 — enough to fill 15,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, said the organisers.
Products on display in the [Not-So] Convenience Store are grouped into four categories to highlight different issues - electronics waste, food waste, household product waste and plastic waste. These are the four main pillars of waste that are generated by Singaporeans daily, according to the organisers.
Every item has an accompanying QR code that carries information on how it can help address the environmental impact of less sustainable alternatives.
Items are not for sale at the shop, but the QR codes link visitors to the respective product pages should visitors wish to buy them.
“We realise that the culture of convenience is really the culprit especially in a place like Singapore. Most of us want to do good but it’s just too troublesome,” said director of Temasek Shophouse Yvonne Tay at a media preview on Thursday.
“Maybe it’s really just a tweak of consumer habits,” she added. “That’s why we have something a little bit more tongue in cheek called [Not-So] Convenience Store.
“What we are trying to do is not to have a top-down approach and not to sound too preachy but something that is a little bit more fun and approachable, helping people to realise that there are so many alternatives to sustainability.”
The exhibition is free. It will open to the public from Jun 7 to Jul 31.
In addition to the exhibition, Temasek Shophouse will play host to a series of workshops and talks by eco-social enterprises and advocates, which will encourage Singaporeans to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle.