|all articles latest | past | articles by topics | search wildnews|
wild news on wildsingapore
Times 12 Feb 06
New move to cut use of plastic bags
by Sarah Ng
Channel NewsAsia 11 Feb 05
Campaign launched to reduce usage of plastic bags
By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : Why waste plastic bags when you can use a reusable one? That's the message behind Singapore's first national campaign to cut down the use of plastic bags, reduce wastage and conserve the environment.
But it may take some time before Singaporeans bring their own bags or use reusable ones when shopping.
An average family in Singapore uses about 2,500 plastic bags a year. The National Environment Agency says an average Singaporean uses about two plastic bags a day, twice that of an average American.
And unrecycled bags can find their ways into waterways, choke up drains which can lead to mosquito breeding.
So the agency hopes people will cut down on the use of plastic bags, especially if they are just buying a few items. Retailers are also doing their part.
Mr Koh Kok Sin, Head of Operations Development at NTUC FairPrice, said: "We basically remind the customers whether they need the extra bag, and also to pack more things into the same bag."
Reusable bags have also been made available, as well as incentives like gifts and lucky draws for customers who bring their own bags. Most shoppers welcome the move, but some still find it a hassle.
"I know it is bad for the earth, wastage of resources. But still I think unless everyone is doing it, then we will follow suit." "We do not plan to go marketing. Not like last time when we carry a basket when we go to the market."
Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, who launched the campaign, agreed it will take some time before mindsets change. Dr Yaacob said: "It will be a slow start primarily because we are asking people to change habits - habits are very difficult to change.
"But we have also brought in the youths into the picture. At the same time, if we can start them young, it will be more long-lasting."
No target has been set even though the campaign hopes to reduce the 2.5 billion plastic bags used by Singaporeans each year. NEA says the working committee will monitor and review feedback to the campaign in three months' time. - CNA/de
Straits Times, 12 Feb 06
New move to cut use of plastic bags
by Sarah Ng
THE next time housewife Lee Gek Hong shops for groceries, she will take with her a reusable bag and not ask for extra plastic bags for her purchases. That small change will help cut the use of plastic bags and save resources for Singapore - something that the National Environment Agency (NEA) hopes to see eventually.
It launched a campaign yesterday to discourage the excessive use of plastic bags. NEA is working with supermarket chains - Carrefour, Cold Storage, Giant, NTUC FairPrice, Prime, Sheng Siong and Shop N Save - to spread the message. Other participating retailers include convenience stores Cheers and 7-Eleven, and furniture store Ikea.
Their cashiers will ask shoppers if they need a plastic bag for small items, and pack more in a bag to prevent wastage. The retailers will also sell their reusable bags at a discount. Customers who bring their own bag will receive gifts or qualify for lucky draws during promotional periods.
Motivated by the incentives, Madam Lee, 54, said: 'I used to ask the cashier to double bag my shopping just in case the plastic bags break. But now I realise that it's unnecessary and wasteful.'
Currently, Singapore uses about 2.5 billion plastic bags a year for bagging their shopping. This translates to 1.7 bags per person each day - better than Taiwan's 2.4 and Hong Kong's 3.7. But NEA wants to bring usage down to the levels in such countries as Australia (1.0), the United States (0.9) and Ireland (0.8).
Said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the launch in Parkway Parade Shopping Centre yesterday: 'The ideal would be zero plastic bags but that is not possible. What we are concerned about is over-consumption. So let's try and bring it down as much as possible.'
Singapore does not have the problem where plastic bags choke up landfills, as they are incinerated with other waste to generate electricity. But these bags are freely dispensed here and, together with the excessive use, it means a waste of resources, said NEA's chief executive Lee Yuen Hee.
'We are not suggesting to do away with plastic bags altogether... But we want our people to use reusable bags as far as possible, and to take only as many plastic bags as they need.'
Carelessly discarded plastic bags can end up as litter and become potential breeding sites for mosquitoes, said Mr Yatin Premchand, senior manager of the Singapore Environment Council.
'In the natural environment, plastic bags have a strong tendency to suffocate plant and marine life,' he added. Cutting down on plastic bags could save shoppers money too.
Said Mr Lim Hock Chee, managing director of Sheng Siong Supermarket: 'If our customers take fewer plastic bags, it would help us cut the cost of making them. We can then pass on the savings by giving more discounts.'
The retailers, however, are not expecting an immediate change in consumer habits. Several had introduced reusable bags in the last two years but response had been lukewarm. Said Carrefour's marketing and communications manager Shana Lim: 'We will continue to spread the message. What's more important is getting people to understand why we shouldn't use plastic bags excessively.'
RMBR Toddycats participated in the campaing launch. More on their blog.
Related articles wild shores and Singapore: plastic bags efforts to reduce use of plastic bags, issues, discussions
one person CAN make a difference
Change your own shopping habits
Encourage others to do the same
ACT against litter that harms the environment
It's NOT just about picking up litter...
learn more about Singapore's own Coastal Cleanup effort
the latest effort was at Kranji for Earth Day, see the results for our own shores
join our own ICCS efforts, subscribe to the mailing list to be updated on upcoming efforts
|News articles are reproduced for non-profit educational purposes.|
website©ria tan 2003 www.wildsingapore.com