Voices Of Youth

Forum: Support scrap sector, karung guni man

As the economy recovers, Singapore has acknowledged the importance of environmental sustainability for a low-carbon and resource-constrained future (How resilient economy, going green can boost growth post-coronavirus, Oct 6).

While action has been taken to better tackle food wastage, I believe more can still be done to reduce general waste.

The amount of waste disposed of in Singapore has increased seven times over the past 40 years. This not only wastes precious resources, but also contributes to Singapore's carbon emissions - both the energy needed to sort waste and the emissions from incineration.

Beyond making blue recycling bins more accessible, one thing that could help to increase recycling in Singapore is to provide more support for the scrap industry and karung guni men.

Recycling bins can be easily contaminated, and Singapore has a long way to go in terms of educating the public on what items can be recycled, and how to clean them. With a karung guni man, recycling becomes more straightforward as he is able to immediately filter the items received.

However, there has been a drop in prices of scrap material. This has contributed to the declining number of karung guni men. As the Government moves to continue promoting recycling and sustainability in Singapore, perhaps it can look into providing more support for the scrap industry amid this pandemic.

By providing support for existing recycling mechanisms, I believe Singapore will be a step closer to reaching its goal of becoming a zero-waste nation.

Rachel Wong, 15

Secondary 3 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2020, with the headline 'Support scrap sector, karung guni man'. Print Edition | Subscribe