Charging for trays can help change attitudes

It is sad that we have come to this - charging customers a deposit that will be forfeited if they do not return their trays at hawker centres (Drive to boost hawker centre business and productivity; Jan 30).

Despite much education and the provision of tray-return racks at eateries and hawker centres, most Singaporeans are still reluctant to return trays after eating.

Many fear dirtying their hands or clothes, while others believe it is the job of the cleaners to collect trays.

Such attitudes are irresponsible and selfish.

Cleaning up after we eat and returning the tray is pure courtesy, so that the next customer can have a cleared table.

The Japanese automatically clean their tables and return trays after eating. In South Korea, customers in cafes return their used cups and plates to the service counter.

Singaporeans need to improve in this area.

This must start in schools and homes, where children have to be taught to clean up after themselves and return their used plates and utensils. Adults too must change their lazy and selfish behaviour.

Since education and campaigns have failed to do this, hopefully charging a fee will yield a positive outcome.

Tan Lin Neo (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2018, with the headline 'Charging for trays can help change attitudes'. Print Edition | Subscribe