Urgent need to reduce disposables

A sculpture made of plastic bottles and plastic bags at Ikea Tampines. Last year, about 164,500 tonnes of domestic waste here was made up of disposables - enough to fill about 300 Olympic-size swimming pools.
A sculpture made of plastic bottles and plastic bags at Ikea Tampines. Last year, about 164,500 tonnes of domestic waste here was made up of disposables - enough to fill about 300 Olympic-size swimming pools.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

I applaud the move by 59 organisations that joined a nationwide National Environment Agency campaign to get the public to choose reusable options (Nationwide push to reduce disposables, encourage reusables, June 9).

It is time for more initiatives and measures to be implemented towards reducing disposables.

Companies can do their part by following Ikea's practice of not providing plastic bags but, instead, selling reusable bags and encouraging customers to bring their own bags.

I am sure if more companies do likewise, customers will get accustomed to taking along their own bags when they go shopping.

Supermarkets, especially, must make the effort to do the same. They can sell reusable bags as well as trolleys.

Individuals must also play their part in reducing disposables by carrying and using their own reusable cutlery and mugs when purchasing food and drinks.

Little steps, like refusing plastic cutlery, covers and straws, will go a long way in reducing disposables.

Bubble tea stores should also consider selling reusable containers, straws and cup holders, or giving these to customers as incentives in loyalty programmes.

This will work as an incentive for customers to use reusables.

Before Singapore's only landfill, Semakau, runs out of space by 2035, all companies and individuals must do their part to reduce disposables.

Let's bring back the environmentally friendly practices of the 1960s, when people brought along their own bowls and tiffin carriers to buy food.

Susan Tan Lin Neo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2019, with the headline 'Urgent need to reduce disposables'. Print Edition | Subscribe