There is increasing awareness and public discourse on reducing waste in Singapore these days.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has a campaign to encourage the reduction of food waste and there are programmes that talk about the issue of e-waste. Environmentalists have been talking about the three Rs (reuse, reduce, recycle).
However, there is one R which has been forgotten: Repair.
Recently, my instant water heater stopped working and so I called the manufacturer to fix what I think is a fairly minor problem - the button that controls the flow of water through the heater was not working.
The company's customer service manager said it would cost $40 for transport, $40 for labour and around $15 to $35 for parts. If I take the low estimate, the total repair cost for this push button would be close to $120.
I found on an online store that I could buy an instant water heater for as little as $90.
It would be natural for most people to just buy a new water heater that, additionally, comes with the benefit of a new warranty.
If we are going to be a less wasteful society, then, both corporations and consumers have a role to play .
Allen Chong (Dr)