To reduce the consumption of single-use plastic disposables in Singapore, Zero Waste SG is introducing the new BYO (Bring Your Own) Singapore campaign, in partnership with Young NTUC, Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, and the National Environment Agency. The objectives of the campaign are aligned with the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint vision of moving “Towards a Zero Waste Nation” by reducing waste generation.
Plastic disposables are increasingly becoming a global problem and contributing to marine litter that affects wildlife, human health and the environment. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that about 8 million tonnes of plastics end up in the oceans each year. A common problem with plastic disposables is that they are light and can end up in the waterways and sea as marine litter, and these non-biodegradable plastics could pose harm to marine lives through ingestion, while small plastic fragments could end up in our food chain.
In Singapore, the amount of plastic waste generated in 2016 was 822,200 tonnes and only 7% was recycled. Plastic waste is one of the most common types of waste disposed of at the incineration plants in Singapore, and includes single-use plastic disposables such as plastic takeaway containers and cups, and plastic bags. In addition, the burning of plastics produces carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change. Therefore, there is a need to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic disposables in Singapore.
The BYO Singapore campaign aims to provide information, incentives and resources to encourage people to bring their own reusables and reduce plastic disposables. Under the campaign from 1 Sep to 31 Dec 2017, participating retailers would offer incentives to customers who bring their own reusable bags, bottles or containers. The main campaign goal is to sign up 500 retail outlets and reduce 1,000,000 pieces of disposables in 2017.
Retailers that signed up for the BYO Singapore campaign would have to provide incentives to BYO customers such as cash rebates, top-up of food or drinks, gifts, or reward points. They would also display posters, stickers or wobblers on the BYO campaign, and track the amount of plastic disposables reduced.
Mr Eugene Tay, Executive Director, Zero Waste SG, explained, “We aim to encourage more Singaporeans to develop the BYO habit through the use of incentives for a start. After some time, this habit should hopefully continue even without retailers providing incentives. Everyone can play a part in reducing plastic disposables by remembering to bring their own reusables.”
Mr Desmond Choo, Executive Secretary, Young NTUC, said, “As a movement for young workers, Young NTUC is interested in the future of young Singaporeans. Whether it’s through initiatives to help them navigate their career pathways or providing platforms for them to engage in green advocacy, we want to empower youths to take active actions to shape their future and achieve their aspirations through supporting the campaign.”
Mr J.D. Kasamoto, General Manager, Service & Environment Division, Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, said, “It is everyone’s responsibility to be mindful of the plastic waste around us. As the manufacturer of office imaging devices, we believe that reducing of plastic waste is necessary. Circular economy is an important concept we have adopted in our process to reduce the environmental impact throughout the entire product lifecycle in developing a sustainable society. Since 2002, we have developed and utilised biomass plastics in replacement of the virgin plastic in our multifunction copiers and production printers to support a low-carbon and recycle-oriented society.”
The BYO Singapore campaign would reach out to residents in the community, and also to working professionals through roadshows in the central business district and other business hubs. In addition, Zero Waste SG would be providing educational talks to companies and providing office starter kits (electronic copy) that include resources such as posters on BYO, advice on cleaning facilities in the pantry, and how to organise a BYO Day in the office.