So long as people persist in a habit evident at all food centres - the immediate off-loading of dishes from the trays the moment they arrive at tables - the appeals to the public for tray return after meals will not see much result (Tray return: Action has to start with all of us, by the Public Hygiene Council; Oct 5).
This is a practice grown out of the mentality that trays serve merely to transport dishes from stall to table. Once done, they must be returned to the stall, and cleaners confirm this by duly collecting them.
Round tables with inadequate space for trays encourage the practice, as do large trays which limit the number of customers per table.
We need to educate the public about the true concept of self-service: From ordering the food, paying, waiting for it and taking it to the table, right through to returning the empty plates, bowls and cutlery to designated points after eating. Trays help us do this.
That customers at Ikea restaurants do this routinely is evidence that such "education" is possible.
All we need is a clear step-by-step message placed where all can see, and a good dose of peer pressure rather than carrots, sticks or pleas.
Amy Loh Chee Seen (Ms)