Recycling of drink containers is an important part of Singaporean efforts to contribute to the country's environmental sustainability. According to the Singapore Environment Council, more than 467 million polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are used in Singapore each year, representing the size of 94 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Yet, it is not the use itself that is troubling but the waste. This is a pity since PET bottles are fully recyclable into new products such as fabric for clothes and even fresh PET bottles. The effort on the part of consumers is not herculean: All it takes is rinsing, drying and recycling.
Any gesture that encourages Singaporeans to adjust their everyday practices towards the end goal of recycling is welcome. It is commendable therefore that more vending machines which accept plastic and aluminium drink containers and then dispense discount vouchers have been rolled out at locations islandwide. The 34 new "reverse" vending machines add to the existing network of 16. By way of incentives, people who deposit receptacles now can choose from a wider range of rewards. However, users can choose to not receive any rewards.