First reusable-bag sharing initiative launched in Yishun

Nee Soon GRC MPs Louis Ng (left) and Faishal Ibrahim at the launch of Bounce Bags, which makes available shopping bags, such as fabric tote bags, at a designated sharing point for residents. Next to them is Ms Aarti Giri, founder of Plastic-Lite Sing
Nee Soon GRC MPs Louis Ng (left) and Faishal Ibrahim at the launch of Bounce Bags, which makes available shopping bags, such as fabric tote bags, at a designated sharing point for residents. Next to them is Ms Aarti Giri, founder of Plastic-Lite Singapore, a community-based group that hopes to reduce the use of single-use plastics.PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Bounce Bags hopes to promote use of such bags by making them available to residents

Residents in Yishun will no longer be able to use the excuse of forgetting to bring their own shopping bags when they go marketing.

A new initiative called Bounce Bags will make shopping bags, such as fabric tote bags, available at a designated sharing point.

Residents who have excess bags can donate theirs, while those who are short of them can pick them up on the way to the market. They may also share their plastic bags as part of the scheme.

The use of one reusable bag a year can replace 125 single-use plastic bags, the National Environment Agency has said.

Ms Aarti Giri, 38, founder of Plastic-Lite Singapore, a community-based group that hopes to reduce the use of single-use plastics, said: "People often say that they forget to carry (a reusable bag) or it is 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 kick-start the habit of using reusable bags instead of plastic bags."

KICK-STARTING A HABIT

People often say that they forget to carry (a reusable bag) or it is 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 kick-start the habit of using reusable bags.

MS AARTI GIRI, founder of Plastic-Lite Singapore.

The initiative, which is touted as the first reusable-bag sharing initiative in Singapore, is a collaboration between Plastic-Lite and Nee Soon Town Council.

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

The initiative was launched at the Nee Soon East Courtyard yesterday as part of the town council's inaugural Environment Day Event to commemorate World Environment Day next Tuesday. MPs for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng, Lee Bee Wah and Faishal Ibrahim were at the event to launch the green initiative, along with 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. "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 is a chance to (use the sharing point), why not? It is a good initiative," said Mr Thomas Feng, 41, a civil servant.

"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."

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," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 03, 2018, with the headline 'First reusable-bag sharing initiative launched in Yishun'. Print Edition | Subscribe