Give incentives for recycling plastic

It is undeniable that plastic has become an integral part of our lives. The amount of plastic being added to the world daily is astonishing.

Once plastic enters our environment, it stays forever. The danger it poses is very real, and includes industrial pollution, land pollution, marine pollution and adverse health problems.

Firm steps need to be taken to tackle this problem.

Perhaps, in addition to the much talked about 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle), another R needs to be added - reward.

Companies which adopt policies to reduce the use of plastic should be given incentives and benefits. Customers who use recyclable bags or cups should be rewarded.

Some countries have a recycling system where local scrap dealers buy old plastic bottles and other recyclables from households.

We can do something similar. Building managements could collect recyclable materials and sell them to scrap dealers.

The building could be given green star ratings based on the amount of waste recycled.

Plastic recycling should also become mandatory.

The Government and the public need to join hands in raising awareness of the dangers of excessive use of plastic and come up with innovative ideas to deal with the issue. Bold actions need to be taken and targets set.

Singapore is best at many things and is known for its greenery and cleanliness. Let us also strive to be the best at recycling our plastic waste, and show the world how it is done.

Snigdha Sharma (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline 'Give incentives for recycling plastic'. Print Edition | Subscribe