$1 charge another approach to encourage tray-return habit

We thank Miss Tan Lin Neo for her letter (Charging for trays can help change attitudes; Feb 1) and agree with her fully on the need for the people in Singapore to be more civic-minded, especially when it comes to cleaning up and returning our trays after we eat.

The $1 redemption scheme that was started recently is a stopgap measure, and is yet another approach to get more people into the habit of returning trays.

We hope that this habit, coupled with new food centres with tray racks that are easily visible and conveniently situated, will make the returning of trays at our food centres the order of the day.

Still, it is disappointing to see some customers resisting the change that is taking place.

Some return their trays and leave their bowls and utensils on their table, while others reject the trays outright (Charging for trays could breed resentment, by Mr Terence Lim; Forum Online, Feb 4).

Miss Tan also rightly points out that civic-mindedness must be taught at home and in schools.

The Public Hygiene Council has been working closely with schools to roll out programmes aimed at instilling such social habits. But we need the help of parents to reinforce these efforts and be role models themselves.

I hope that, over time, we will be able to do away with cleaners in the food centres, as more Singaporeans see the good in this act of returning trays on our own.

The letter by Mr Edward Kitlertsirivatana (Don't give incentives to get people to do what is right; Feb 9) says it all. It should prick us into being ashamed of ourselves.

Singapore's progress as a nation depends on not only how advanced our economy is and how modern our lifestyle is, but also on how we behave as a society, how considerate we are to one another and how well we take care of our public spaces.

Edward D'Silva


Public Hygiene Council

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2018, with the headline '$1 charge another approach to encourage tray-return habit'. Subscribe