Discounts and free food for bringing your own bag, bottle or containers at 14 retailers

Mr Erich Sollbock is one of the participating retailers among 14 who are giving small discounts to encourage their customers not to use plastic bags, bottles and containers from tomorrow (Sep 1) to the end of the year. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - From supermarket chains to a German sausage stall in Dover, 14 retailers will be dangling small discounts to encourage their customers not to use plastic bags, bottles and containers from Friday (Sept 1) to the end of the year.

Customers who bring their own bag, bottle or container will, for instance, get 10 cents off at NTUC FairPrice if they spend $10 or more, or get 50 cents off at German sausage stall Wuerstelstand. Other participating food outlets are also offering discounts of 50 cents to $1. (See below for a complete list.)

The retailers are acting to reduce plastic waste in Singapore, as part of the Bring Your Own (BYO) campaign launched on Thursday by environmental non-governmental organisation Zero Waste SG.

While 822,200 tonnes of plastic waste was generated in 2016, only 7 per cent was recycled, making it one of the most common types of waste disposed at the incineration plants in Singapore.

The burning of plastic produces carbon dioxide which contributes to the warming of the planet.

Zero Waste SG executive director Eugene Tay said his goal is to sign up 500 retail outlets and reduce the number of disposable items by 1,000,000 pieces by the end of the year.

Besides the discounts, other customer incentives include cash rebates, free top-ups for food or drinks bought, gifts and reward points.

Retailers who sign up have to display posters, stickers or wobblers on the campaign and track how much they have reduced their use of plastic items such as cups and plates.

"After some time, this habit should hopefully continue even without retailers providing incentives," said Mr Tay.

Mr Erich Sollbock, 56, owner of Wuerstelstand, said: "I have independently made it my SOP (standard operating procedure) not to automatically provide plastic disposables to my customers."

He added that the amount of savings from the reduction of disposables will pay for the 50 cent incentive he provides to customers.

The BYO campaign is also being organised in partnership with Young NTUC, office automation equipment supplier Ricoh Asia Pacific, and the National Environment Agency (NEA).

An NEA spokesman said it is encouraged by the ground-up effort, adding that its study on how different types of disposable food packaging materials compare in terms of cost and impact to the environment is expected to conclude in the second half of this year.

Ms Melissa Tan, chairman of the Waste Management & Recycling Association of Singapore, said the campaign could not have come sooner.

She noted that some local waste collectors and recyclers collect plastic waste, but export them to other countries for recycling.

"Unfortunately, even some of these countries are finding it hard to cope with so much plastic waste going to them that they are also putting up barriers to these plastic waste imports that harm their environment," she said.

"To discourage Singaporeans from over-relying on such disposable plastic items, shops can charge more for them or like some supermarkets overseas, (and) not even provide them to customers."

Participating retailers:

  • Aloha Poke - Additional superfood (worth $1)
  • Cold Storage - Free reusable bag with at least $20 purchase; valid only on Mondays in September 2017; show BYO logo to cashier
  • Happy Salad - 2 free toppings
  • Joe and Dough - 50 cents discount
  • Kopi Ong - One chop; free drink after 10 chops
  • NTUC FairPrice - 10 cents discount with at least $10 purchase
  • Paul - 10% discount on bread items
  • The Lokal Singapore - $1 discount
  • The Matcha Project X Copper Espresso - 50 cents discount
  • The Sugar Fairy - 20 cent discount (for bag and container); 10 cents (for bag)
  • Verdure Cafe - 50 cents discount
  • Wuerstelstand - 50 cents discount
  • Well Dressed Salad Bar - 50 cents to $1 depending on the type of reusable
  • Yellow Cup Coffee - 50 cents discount

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.