Forum: Carrot-and-stick approach to tray return will change the behaviour of more Singaporeans

The Public Hygiene Council (PHC) is encouraged by Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng's observation that most people are returning their trays and crockery after their meals (Remind kids to clear trays through school assembly too, June 26).

Since making it mandatory to return trays at hawker centres, the National Environment Agency has put up many posters at hawker centres to remind patrons to clear their table and return their trays.

We believe that this carrot-and-stick approach will change the behaviour of more Singaporeans.

The PHC has been working with schools on several initiatives to inculcate the right habits and mindsets in children from a young age.

One of them is the daily cleaning programme introduced in 2017, under which students are rostered to spend five to 10 minutes each day in cleaning various areas of the school. They are also expected to return their trays after meals in the school canteen.

It helps when parents also practise the habits taught in school. We thus appreciate Mr Foo Siang Yian's reminder (Make tray return a habit at fast food restaurants, cafes, June 29) to fellow diners to return their trays after meals. Only when the adults set the example can we expect the young to follow suit.

The PHC will continue our efforts such as the Tray Return Partnership with fast food restaurants to get diners to return their trays, and workshops with parents where we encourage them to be role models for their children.

It takes all of us now to set the example for the future generations of Singapore.

Edward D'Silva


Public Hygiene Council

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