Doing CNY spring-cleaning? Exchange e-waste for vouchers at South West district’s recycling drive

Mayor of the South West District Low Yen Ling (centre, in green), alongside Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (centre right), at the annual Clean Up South West! event on Jan 19, 2020. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A large-scale recycling drive was conducted on Sunday (Jan 19) in Singapore's South West district, in a bid to collect recyclable materials during the pre-Chinese New Year spring-cleaning season.

From 8.30am to 12pm, residents took their recyclables to the Chua Chu Kang Community Club, where they exchanged them for groceries.

At the recycling drive, electronic waste was exchanged for vouchers from tech retailer Challenger, while clothes and waste paper were swopped for groceries like white rice and instant noodles.

The annual Clean Up South West! is in its 15th iteration this year, with the number of collection points at schools, community centres, and other locations growing from 47 to 54, making it easier for residents to turn in their trash for recycling.

At Chua Chu Kang Community Club alone, a total of 4,636kg of recyclables was collected.

The recycling drive on Sunday took place in conjunction with the first of 10 Sustainable South West (SSW) Roadshows, which raised awareness of environmental issues while introducing residents to hands-on recycling activities and sustainable zero-waste living.

The other nine roadshows will be held in the next year, and will reach out to around 20,000 people who live and work in the South West district.

The district includes large residential areas like Choa Chu Kang, Jurong, Bukit Batok and West Coast, among others.

These initiatives are part of SSW, a masterplan for the next 10 years that aims to guide the district's eco-initiatives.

The plan was launched last November, and has goals similar to a zero-waste masterplan for Nee Soon GRC that was launched in April 2019.

Areas of focus include plastic and single-use items, paper, carbon emissions, e-waste and food waste.

"Over the years, we have collected 885 tonnes of recyclables from the district," said Ms Low Yen Ling, mayor of the South West District.

"This is equivalent to nine Olympic-sized swimming pools, and has helped us save more than 15,000 trees."

She added that in 2019 alone, 3,500kg of electronic waste was collected from over 15 collection points in the district - equivalent to the weight of over 23,000 smartphones.

She said that for more than a decade, the South West Community Development Council (CDC) has promoted sustainability in the district.

"Today, it's more urgent than before to push back climate change and protect our environment," she added.

"However, the CDC can't do this alone.

"Instead, everyone - from the young to the old, and every organisation or company, whether big or small - plays a crucial part in protecting our homes and environment with sustainable practices and eco-friendly habits," said Ms Low.

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