Did you know that Singapore generated 763 million kg of food waste in 2018? That’s the weight of more than 54,000 double decker buses!
As you get appalled by the sheer waste that we generate, you might be thinking if the Singapore government is doing anything about it.
Yes. You’ll be glad to know that they are. In fact, they have designated 2019 as Singapore’s year towards Zero Waste.
You’ve probably seen countless advertisement on the importance of going green. All this is part of Singapore’s effort towards a zero waste future.
Importance Of Going Plastic Free
As plastic is non biodegradable, if thrown away and not reused, it’s most likely going to lead to plastic pollution. Each year, 30 million tons of plastic get disposed. It’s also important to understand that Earth is running out of landfill space at an alarming rate which is another reason why we should try to reuse plastic as much as possible.
Going as plastic-free as possible has many advantages:
- You become aware of the compulsive need you have to buy new things, most of which are completely useless, but you still want them for social status, to impress others or to fill a certain lack in your life.
- You create a better world for your children, one with less pollution, less stress, and a milder weather. The high plastic consumption and unnecessary waste will inevitably accelerate climate changes, with negative effects throughout the world.
- You create a better world for the people who currently inhabit it. Certain areas near major seas are completely submerged into waste. Various third-world people, including children, work rough hours to create more disposable products and cheap clothing.
- You create a better world for animals who are currently ingesting plastic and dying horrific deaths or see their habitats being destroyed under mountains of plastic waste.
What You Can Do To Play Your Part
There are many things you can do to play your part. The first step is being aware that too much plastic and needless disposable products are making life more difficult – or sometimes impossible – for all of us.
The second step is to start one step at a time. No one is telling you to go live a Pleistocene lifestyle in the woods. The only thing you should do is constantly ask yourself: “Do I really need this?”
Here are some tips for living as plastic-free as possible:
- Use the correct recycling bins – it actually matters where you put your garbage.
- Bring you own plastic containers whenever you’re taking away food.
- Invest in a bubble tea straw.
- Teach your children the values of sustainability and responsibility for the environment.
- Place less value on things, and more on relationships and experiences.
- Buy durable products from sustainable companies.
- Give up reusable products like paper towels.
- If you need something new to wear, visit outlets or second-hand stores first.
- Don’t buy new things on the heat of the moment. Consider each of your purchase decisions carefully.
- Say no to plastic water bottles.
- Give up plastic bags.
- Buy toilet paper that doesn’t come in bags.
- Replace paper towels or wet napkins with rags created from your old shirts.
- Say no to needless plastic covers or plastic items, like straws.
- Buy fruits and veggies from your local market.
- Put your groceries in a cotton bag or your backpack.
- Say no to plastic cutlery and glasses.
- Don’t put food in plastic bags, but rather glass jars.
- Buy bulk items.
- Give up your disposable razor blade, which you through away once per week. Instead, invest in a metallic razor blade or a trimming machine.
- Buy your kids reusable wooden toys instead of plastic toys.
- Don’t throw away your kid’s toys or clothes when they’ve outgrown them, but donate them to those less fortunate.
- Don’t waste food. Buy as much food as you need; save your leftovers for later, and donate or share what you can’t eat.
- Learn some fun DIY projects that help transform plastic waste into art or into functional things you can use in your home.
- Donate anything you’re not using anymore or sell it for cash.
- You can share, borrow, or rent a variety of items, from tools to books or toys.
- Fix broken things in your home, or send them for repairs.
Singapore’s Zero-Waste Masterplan
The Zero Waste concept encourages people to stay away from plastic and especially disposable products in favor of the renewable ones.
Of course, zero waste doesn’t literally mean zero waste. It’s virtually impossible to live with no garbage, which is the literal translation of zero waste. It’s also impossible to live truly plastic-free, if you still need certain commodities in your homes, such as a computer or a fridge.
But you should live as plastic-free as possible, reduce your needless waste and replace perishable things with reusable products. We still live in a world where disposable products are frequently used, and plastic is still important in many areas, from technology to medical equipment or home appliances.
This is why our government devised a masterplan to help people reduce waste and make sure all of us live in a better world.
Part of a new Resource Sustainability Bill, Singapore’s Zero-Waste Masterplan is expected to launch in the second half of 2019. According to this program, Singapore will take several steps to reduce its waste from food, packaging, and electronics.
The end goal was to raise the domestic recycling rate to 30% in 2030 from 21% in 2017, so the overall recycling rate should be 70% in 2030 from the 61% in 2017. Here are the proposed measures that will help Singapore get there:
From hotels to food manufacturers and food-storage warehouses, from malls to caterers and public sector buildings, all the major generators of food waste are supposed to split their waste in two, for on-site or off-site treatment.
This segregation is programmed to start in 2021 for public-sector buildings and developers of new premises, and in 2024 for the rest of the above businesses.
This measure is important because food waste needs correct segregation before it’s transformed into animal feed or compost. The on-site treatment removes odors, minimizes carbon emissions, and reduces pests. Besides, there will be fewer trucks to transport the waste to an off-site facility. This also means less gas, and fewer traffic jams.
Businesses producing packages with an annual turnover of over $10 million will need to report all their data regarding packaging to the National Environment Agency. They will also have to submit a report on how they plan to reduce waste.
Mandatory reporting is important because it raises awareness and mobilizes businesses to reduce packaging waste, which forms approximately 30% of Singapore’s total domestic waste.
Suppliers of consumer electrical and electronic equipment will need to join and finance the Producer Responsibility Organisation who deals with e-waste like computers, household appliances, cell-phones, and electric mobility devices.
This organization is responsible for raising awareness about electrical and electronic recycling and for supplying all the amenities and transport.
Poorly treated e-waste creates toxic substances that affect your health and the environment, plus it makes it impossible to extract the reusable materials.