First reusable bag sharing initiative launched in Yishun

Nee Soon GRC MPs Louis Ng Kok Kwang and Faishal Ibrahim at the launch of the Bounce Bags Initiative on June 2, 2018. PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Residents in Yishun can now get hold of free reusable bags on the way to the market.

Through the Bounce Bags Initiative, residents will be able to leave reusable bags, such as tote bags, at a designated sharing point. In turn, those in need of bags can pick them up.

The National Environment Agency has said that the use of one reusable bag a year can replace 125 single-use plastics bags. The initiative aims to inculcate the habit of using reusable bags when shopping.

"People often say that they forget to carry (reusable bags) or it's not convenient for last-minute shopping. So if there is a point in their neighbourhood where they can help themselves to one , this can hopefully kickstart the habit of using reusable bags instead of plastic bags," said Ms Aarti Giri, 38, founder of Plastic-Lite Singapore, a community-based group that hopes to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

The sharing point, comprising a few racks to hold up reusable bags, is located at a sheltered walkway leading to a wet market beside Block 293 Yishun Street 22.

The first reusable-bag sharing project in Singapore, the Bounce Bags Initiative in Yishun is a collaboration between Nee Soon Town Council(NSTC) and Plastic-Lite Singapore.

The initiative was launched at the Nee Soon East Courtyard on Saturday (June 2) as part of NSTC's inaugural Environment Day Event. Next Tuesday (June 5) is World Environment Day.

Nee Soon GRC Members of Parliament Louis Ng Kok Kwang, Lee Bee Wah and Faishal Ibrahim were at the event to launch the green initiative alongwith about 300 residents.

"Perhaps the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it and solve this plastic problem," said Mr Ng in a speech at the launch. "All of us can and must help to solve this plastic problem and beat plastic pollution."

He also urged residents to donate their excess reusable bags in order to keep the project sustainable.

Residents were generally receptive of the initiative, with several already stopping by to pick up the reusable bags.

"If there's a chance to (use the sharing point), why not? It's a good initiative," said civil servant Thomas Feng, 41.

"But I think not everyone will have the initiative to put the bags back. Maybe they could turn it into something like a vending machine where residents can tap their ID," he added.

Using this as a pilot, Ms Giri hopes to set up more of such bag-sharing points in the future.

"We will take some learning points from this and come up with more bag sharing points."

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