Forum: Focus on reducing waste, not changing from plastic to paper

A recycling activity being conducted in Ghim Moh.
A recycling activity being conducted in Ghim Moh.PHOTO: ST FILE

More can be done to educate the public, businesses and even our politicians on how paper products are not necessarily better for the environment than plastic products.

There have been multiple discussions in Parliament on the issue of single-use plastics, with MPs calling for a charge to be imposed on plastic bags.

Charging for plastic bags may divert consumers and businesses towards using paper bags instead, which may not be better for the environment and will also cost more.

Should we as a nation consider the issue of packaging holistically instead? For instance, should we consider charging for any packaging that is used regardless of whether it is made of plastic or paper?

In a bid to show that they care for the environment, many businesses have changed to alternatives such as paper products or reusable bags. I know of many households that keep many of such reusable bags. Do we need more of these bags each time we go to an exhibition or a fair?

With the increasing popularity of food delivery in Singapore, can more be done by food delivery companies and the authorities to reduce the packaging waste from this industry? For instance, can reusable containers be used and incentives be given to consumers to drop these containers off at the restaurants to be used again?

Martin Lee Ming Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2020, with the headline 'Focus on reducing waste, not changing from plastic to paper'. Print Edition | Subscribe