A total of 12 hawker centres have done away with plastic disposables in the bid to reduce plastic waste.
According to the Straits Times, the stalls at the hawker centres are now using centralised dishwashing services and sharing common crockery.
According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), the 12 participating hawker centres are located at:
- Bukit Panjang.
- Ci Yuan
- Jurong West.
- Kampung Admiralty.
- Our Tampines Hub
- Pasir Ris Central
- Yishun Park
- Marsiling Mall
- Block 163 Bukit Merah Central
- Block 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4
- Block 84 Marine Parade Central
- Block 16 Bedok South Road.
This is part of the government's efforts to encourage Singapore to embrace a "zero waste" mindset.
In 2017 alone, the country produced 7.7 million tonnes of waste, equivalent to around 15,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Other local efforts to encourage a zero waste lifestyle
Prime supermarkets will impose a 10 cents charge for plastic bags across all Prime and Mahota outlets from February and April this year.
Money raised from the efforts will go towards environmental causes and community building efforts.
Another company, Breadtalk, has been charging consumers 10 cents for every plastic carrier bag.
This initiative will end on Feb. 14, this year.
In Sep. 2019, FairPrice started charging 10 cents for Cheers and FairPrice Xpress stores, and 20 cents per transaction for plastics bags at FairPrice, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xtra stores.
This initiative was extended, due to positive feedback, and is set to carry on until November this year.
In addition to plastic bag charges, selected supermarkets from Cold Storage, FairPrice, Prime Supermarket and Sheng Siong have donation bins for reusable bags which patrons can leave behind for redistribution.
Could we do more?
While there are efforts to retain or introduce a plastic bag charge, none of the supermarkets have imposed a plastic bag ban.
Meanwhile, major supermarkets in Thailand ushered in the new year with a plastic bag ban and the people used innovative alternatives to plastic bags.
According to this site by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), there are some simple steps you can take to go zero waste yourself, including swapping out plastic bags for reusable ones, choosing the "no cutlery" option when ordering food delivery, and avoiding impulse buys.
Top photo by Sumita Thiagarajan