Forgotten reusable bags collecting dust around the home can now be put to good use.
As of yesterday, the public can drop unused reusable bags into a donation bin at eight supermarket outlets - two each from FairPrice, Sheng Siong, Cold Storage and Prime Supermarket.
Local environmental group Zero Waste SG (ZWSG), which is behind the initiative, will then collect the bags and ensure that they are in good condition before redistributing them to shoppers at each of the selected outlets.
This will happen every two to four weeks from now till October.
"Singapore has a 'use and throw' culture. We want to reduce the country's excessive usage of plastic bags and cultivate a habit of using reusable bags when shopping," said ZWSG manager Pek Hai Lin at the launch of the initiative, held at Kallang Wave Mall's FairPrice Xtra yesterday.
A recent study by the Singapore Environment Council found that some 820 million plastic bags are taken from supermarkets here every year.
Ms Pek said that most plastic bags are not recycled, as it is not profitable for recycling plants. Instead, they are incinerated - a process that increases carbon emissions.
Another study commissioned by the National Environment Agency found that using one reusable bag for an entire year is estimated to save 125 single-use plastic bags.
"Though the initiative is a good step to encourage the use of reusable bags, this alone is not enough," said Mr Narayanan S.R., who was shopping at Kallang Wave Mall's FairPrice Xtra.
"It is the mindset of the population that they are entitled to use plastic bags which needs to be changed," said the 70-year-old, a former Indian Army major.
But fellow shopper Mr Yang, who declined to give his full name and former occupation, thinks that the initiative will not be effective.
The 67-year-old retiree said: "Everyone already has a reusable bag somewhere at home, and will still need to use plastic bags eventually.
"I try to take at least 10 plastic bags (from the store) when I go grocery shopping, because what else am I going to use to dispose of my garbage at home?"
The participating outlets are: FairPrice at City Square Mall and Kallang Wave Mall, Sheng Siong at Clementi West Block 720 and Junction 10, Cold Storage at Compass One and Fusionopolis Way, and Prime Supermarket in Joo Seng and Jurong West Street 75.