Cultivate recycling habit with right infrastructure

On a recent trip to Taipei, I was struck by how deeply rooted the culture of recycling is.

At shopping streets and night markets, separate bins are clearly marked for general trash and recyclable waste. While government agencies and businesses provided the infrastructure, Taiwanese people across various age groups can be seen playing their part in this recycling effort.

The report on July 12 ("Biggest rubbish dump grows bigger") should spur us to think about what we can do to waste less and recycle more.

Many years of public recycling campaigns have ingrained in Singaporeans a fair amount of environment-consciousness.

What we lack is the infrastructure to match our ambition in recycling. For example, in many housing estates, we still have overflowing recycling bins that are clearly too small.

Most fast-food restaurants here have no recycling facilities.

At a McDonald's outlet in Taipei, there are separate compartments for food waste, paper cups, recyclable materials and general waste.

Perhaps McDonald's Singapore can take a leaf out of its Taiwanese counterpart's book and provide something similar.

After all, there is no better time to inculcate good habits than when one is young, and there are few eating places in Singapore where more of our young gather than McDonald's.

As Singapore comes of age, I appeal to our Government and businesses to provide the right infrastructure to enable the people to play a bigger part in recycling.

Eric Teo Hong Kiat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Cultivate recycling habit with right infrastructure'. Print Edition | Subscribe