Letter of the week #1: Save the planet with products that are 'Made to Last'

The Singapore Climate Rally in Hong Lim Park on Sept 21, 2019.
The Singapore Climate Rally in Hong Lim Park on Sept 21, 2019.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

When my 15-year-old air conditioner finally died recently after failed attempts at repair (no parts available), I was told how lucky I had been as all new air-cons last five years at best.

Unfortunately, I was not as lucky with the many shoes, bags, equipment, household appliances and computer hardware that I had to replace in the past few years, often soon after the warranty expired.

I am disturbed about constantly buying new replacements while contributing to the global mountain of junk that can't be repaired or used anymore.

I am also piqued by the quality of building materials: Walls get mouldy, things break down easily.

The amount of waste generated way exceeds the entire volume of plastic bottles, bags and straws that I stopped using over the past two years.

I'm glad to learn that I'm not alone in feeling this way. From Europe to the United States, people are fighting for the "right to repair", with proposals to force manufacturers to make goods that last longer and are easier to mend.

This wiser use of resources will benefit the environment and save carbon emissions.

I am hopeful that as part of Singapore's drive to fight climate change, we can have a "Made to Last" set of quality standards for manufacturers and builders to attain, to assure end-users of product longevity and availability of replacement parts.

We should also study the use of ecologically friendly, traditional building materials like the Japanese Shikkui plaster, which is fire-resistant, naturally anti-static, dust-preventing, anti-fungal and mould resistant.

I am grateful for the Government's strong leadership on climate change.

I want to do my part to reduce my carbon footprint and will appreciate the support to do so. As a consumer, I will certainly choose a "Made to Last" product. It would be wonderful too if my HDB flat is fire-resistant, anti-dust, anti-fungal and mould-resistant.

Adelyn Poh Bee Chin