It is time for Singapore to reduce plastic disposables

January 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

plastic disposables

We think it’s time for MEWR and NEA to look seriously into policies and regulations to reduce plastic disposables. What are the government’s plans and targets to reduce (or phase out) the use of plastic disposables over time?

Here’s some suggestions:

1) Expand the role and framework of the current Singapore Packaging Agreement to include plastic disposables, or set up a similar Governing Board or committee to look into plastic disposables holistically.

2) Engage and consult with the 3P (People, Private and Public) sectors to identify the key disposable plastics that should be phased out over time. Set a timeline on the eventual ban of those key plastic items but allow time for the industry and retailers to switch to more environmentally friendly alternatives.

3) Provide more data and info on the greener alternatives to plastic disposables such as comparison of environmental impacts and costs in the local context. Provide incentives and guidelines to help retailers switch to greener alternatives. Consumers and businesses must be given the right info and help to make the right choice.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us!

Choose Products with Less Packaging

December 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Insights

Some products come with unnecessary plastic or paper packaging for aesthetic and advertising purposes, and the packaging usually end up as waste. As consumers, you can try to choose products with less or no packaging.

As more companies compete to advertise and promote their brands, they use all forms of media and excessive packaging. These unnecessary advertising and wasteful packaging are used to attract consumers to buy and use more. As Daniel Imhoff quotes in his book, Paper or Plastic:

“Waste could result from a competitive “arms race” in which one company adopts larger, more elaborate packaging solely to compete with another company’s larger, more elaborate packaging, in the struggle to win the attention of consumers. Producers could misinterpret consumer acceptance of increasing levels of packaging as evidence of a desire for even more.”

Excessive packaging often end up as waste. If the advertising campaigns are successful, more consumers buy and this result in more waste generated – the waste cycle continues.

What Can I Do?

Make a conscious effort to choose products with less packaging. By buying and supporting products with less packaging, you are sending a signal to the companies on the increasing demand of products that have minimal packaging.

“Vote. And I don’t mean voting at a voting booth. Anybody of any age can vote because you vote every day that you pay for something. Every time you lay money down on the counter to buy something, you are saying that I approve of this object. I approve of how it was made, the materials that are in it, and what’s going to happen to it when I no longer need it and throw away.” – Gloria Flora, Director of Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, in the film The 11th Hour

Can you influence companies to reduce their excessive packaging? Nowadays, companies have become increasingly aware of their corporate responsibility to the community and the environment. As a consumer, you can make use of this increasing awareness to feedback or remind companies to be more environmentally friendly and minimise their packaging waste.

You can also support companies that are signatories to the Singapore Packaging Agreement. The voluntary Singapore Packaging Agreement came into effect on 1 July 2007 and companies that signed the Agreement will commit to reduce their packaging waste. Learn more about the Agreement and signatories at this NEA website.

3R Packaging Awards recognise companies for their efforts to reduce packaging waste

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Insights

The Singapore Packaging Agreement signatories received the 3R Packaging Awards this morning at the Third Meeting of the Regional 3R Forum in Asia, held at Sheraton Towers Singapore for their efforts to reduce packaging waste.

The Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) is a voluntary programme by the industry, the National Environment Agency (NEA), and NGOs to reduce the amount of waste from product packaging through improvements in product packaging design and packaging processes. The annual 3R Packaging Awards have been presented by NEA since 2008 to recognise the signatories of SPA for their efforts.

For this year’s 3R Packaging Awards, 6 companies received the Distinction Award and 15 companies received the Merit Awards from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. Read more