Home owners can do more to be environmentally conscious

The lack of public education in Singapore's efforts to be environmentally conscious is frustrating.

Everyone knows about the three Rs - reduce, reuse and recycle.

But home owners should be taught how to do these effectively.

They should be given practical and specific information on questions such as: What kind of plastic should be recycled? Do they need to be washed?

Must paper that is to be recycled be kept dry? How can we safely dispose of batteries, medicines and light bulbs?

Is it better to pour liquid food waste down the toilet or to bag and throw it away?

How do biodegradeable bags help us when everything is going to the incinerator?

Our society is over-reliant on technology, the authorities and foreign workers to sort out their rubbish, leaving little responsibility on consumers.

In countries like Japan, there are four to seven categories of waste and recyclables to meticulously separate.

Citizens there are mindful and self-controlled in their household waste disposal, even following the practice of storing food waste in freezers until rubbish collection day.

It would be much more efficient for citizens to take responsibility for sorting their waste instead of trying to engineer machines that can separate it after it has all been churned, crushed and fermented together in a big truck.

Green technology is wonderful and has great potential.

But I would love to see citizens being enabled and empowered to take responsibility and see with their own eyes the difference they can make.

Sharon Szto Hwei Fung (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2018, with the headline 'Home owners can do more to be environmentally conscious'. Print Edition | Subscribe