Your picture: Items strewn around choked recycling bins are a common sight


With the growth of online shopping, it is common to see packaging waste carelessly strewn all around rubbish bins, and the blue recycling bins choked with bulky items.

These ugly sights have become common enough to make me wonder if this is already something that is socially acceptable. If so, it reflects a lack of responsibility and a low level of civic-mindedness.

Choking up recycling bins with bulky items, such as unflattened cardboard, causes many problems.

First, residents who bother to sort out their waste and want to use the recycling bins cannot do so and might be discouraged from future recycling efforts.

Some people choose to leave items beside the blue bins, ignoring how rain would soak through the items or collect within them, attracting and creating breeding grounds for pests.

Second, bulky materials take up space in the bins, and that inefficiently used space is a waste of transportation and sorting efforts. The carbon output from transporting the contents of a partially filled recycling bin may outweigh the benefits of recycling those materials, which defeats the entire purpose of recycling.

Those who want to make a difference to the environment may feel helpless and be discouraged by such poor social norms. People respond to social cues, and if a community exhibits better recycling behaviours, residents are more likely to participate.

All it takes is for everyone to do his part - simply flatten that cardboard box.

Loh Ying Bei

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