Big push needed to make recycling a norm

At the root of our dismal household recycling rate is the apathy and indifference of Singaporeans, and the lack of a good push from the Government ("Sorting out the recycling blues of Singapore"; Thursday).

For many Singaporeans, convenience triumphs over eco-friendliness and this is evident in the few who choose to take along their own bags when shopping .

Recycling, it seems, is an effort undertaken only by the true environmentalists.

In order to make recycling a norm, our social conventions must shift. Countries which made a concerted effort towards recycling include Ireland, which introduced a plastic tax levy in 2002. There was an immediate decrease in plastic usage per capita.

Taiwan is a role model, with a recycling rate of 55 per cent last year. There, separation of recyclable materials is mandatory.

The initial stage of change might be unpopular or even inconvenient, but this is the case for countries which have successful recycling and environmentally friendly norms.

It is important for us to reduce the damage to our planet before it is too late.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2016, with the headline 'Big push needed to make recycling a norm'. Print Edition | Subscribe