Forum: Maintain momentum towards zero waste

Following the Government's launch of Singapore's Zero Waste Masterplan last year, I propose a few ways for us to carry on the momentum in building a more sustainable and waste-free country.

First, paper recycling bins can be introduced at all Housing Board blocks next to letter boxes, to enable convenient recycling of advertisements and pamphlets.

I notice that additional bins have been placed at letter box areas possibly to encourage residents to bin unwanted mail. A simple way to separate non-recyclable rubbish and recyclable paper is to have a dedicated paper recycling bin in place of the additional dustbin. This will direct the constant stream of advertisements from the rubbish bin to the recycling bin.

Under the new masterplan, the Government plans to ban the use of disposables at new hawker centres for those who are dining in.

Can the Government consider extending this to all existing hawker centres this year, and even consider implementing it across all food centres? It makes little environmental sense for food stalls to provide diners with only disposable cutlery when dining in.

One can imagine the amount of unnecessary disposables that ends up in the landfill every year as a result. Curbing the use of plastics is a way to encourage the use of reusable lunch boxes and cutlery at food centres. Installing water coolers at all hawker centres can also encourage the consumption of water instead of packaged drinks.

Finally, companies should stop issuing annual reports and investment circulars that easily reach hundreds of pages in hard copies to shareholders, since soft copies are readily available for one's reading online.

An option can be provided to investors in the first transition year allowing them to opt in to receive a physical copy of the reports if they prefer to. This caters to the shareholders who may not be as tech-savvy or simply prefer reading a physical copy.

I exhort the Government, businesses and individuals to take up these small acts together, which can have a huge positive environmental impact and help conserve our earth for generations to come.

Christopher Ng Zheng Chang