Do tray-return robots address root of problem?

The report on robots at Koufu foodcourts to collect trays makes me wonder whether we are spending technology, time and money in the right places ("Finished eating? Robot will pause for your tray"; Oct 30).

In Singapore, people have a habit of returning their trays in school and staff canteens.

Rather than spending money on technology, the authorities should ask themselves what the root problem is when it comes to people's reluctance to return their trays in public eating places.

Public education can be stepped up. Also, more tray collection points are needed at hawker centres and foodcourts.

Tray-return "ambassadors" can go around to remind diners to return their trays. Once diners see others returning their trays, they will do the same. In South Korea, if you do not return your tray, all eyes would be on you.

Perhaps some measures could be introduced to penalise those who do not return their trays.

I commend what Kopitiam has done at Changi Airport: If you return your tray, you can tap your card to get points.

I hope that the practicality of tray-return robots can be thoroughly assessed before more of them get rolled out in more eating places, and the costs passed on to diners.

David Soh Poh Huat