NEA pushing for more to take part in reducing disposables

Resorts World Sentosa doesn't provide single-use plastic straws across its attractions, as well as at its celebrity chef restaurants.
Resorts World Sentosa doesn't provide single-use plastic straws across its attractions, as well as at its celebrity chef restaurants.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Hubert Yeo for his letter (More firms should join Say Yes to Waste Less campaign, June 13).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) recently launched the nationwide Say Yes to Waste Less campaign to raise awareness of the impact of excessive consumption of disposables and the need for reduction.

A key thrust of this campaign is to interrupt and nudge behaviour towards reducing disposables at points of consumption, such as food and beverage establishments, malls/retail chains, e-tailers, supermarkets and hotels.

Our partners - which comprise F&B establishments, malls/retail chains, e-tailers, supermarkets, hotels, educational institutions, community development councils and non-governmental organisations - are committed to pursue different actions.

They include prompting customers to take with them reusables, encouraging them to decline disposable cutlery with online orders and displaying campaign visuals at cashier points to serve as visual reminders.

Our partners have also been encouraged to monitor and share the impact of their initiatives.

They are also urged to apply for the "Towards Zero Waste Grant" to kick-start or scale up initiatives.

The grant supports individuals, interest groups, corporations, non-governmental and grassroots organisations in driving waste reduction and recycling initiatives.

Currently, we have 59 partners covering about 1,600 premises, and we are actively encouraging more partners to join us.

Those who are keen to join this campaign can do so by getting in touch with us at 3PPartnerships@nea.gov.sg.

We agree there is a need to manage the excessive consumption of all types of disposables.

Our approach has been to work with stakeholders, including businesses and non-governmental organisations, to encourage consumers to reduce the use of all disposables, including alternatives made of degradable materials and paper, whenever possible.

Another problem area we are tackling is packaging waste. By next year, business will be required to give us their packaging data - that is, plans to reduce, reuse and recycle their packaging waste.

This will lay the foundation for an extended producer responsibility framework for managing packaging waste, which is being planned to be in place by 2025. This is a system in which producers take responsibility of the entire life cycle of their products, including end of life.

Desmond Tan

Director, Waste and Resource Management Department

National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2019, with the headline 'NEA pushing for more to take part in reducing disposables'. Print Edition | Subscribe