Enforcement officers to ask for particulars of diners who don't return used trays & crockery from Jun. 1, 2023

First-time offenders will be issued a written warning.

Ashley Tan | May 31, 2023, 11:47 AM

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Since the start of 2022, diners at all hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts have been required to return their dirty trays and crockery, or potentially face a fine.

From June 1, 2023 onwards, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will be stepping up enforcement against those who fail to do so.

Ramping up enforcement

A joint press release by the two agencies announced that enforcement officers will be asking for the particulars of diners who do not return their used trays and crockery from the start of June.

First-time offenders will be issued a written warning, while repeat offenders will be issued a fine, or charged in court.

Up till now, enforcement officers have been advising diners who do not clear their trays and crockery to do so.

Only those who refuse to heed officers' advice will be issued written warnings.

"The stepped-up enforcement on table littering from June 1 onwards aims to ensure that the good efforts of the majority who return their used trays and crockery, are not marred by the inconsiderate behaviour of the minority," the agencies stated.

Enforcement will not be taken against the frail elderly or less-abled, or children who are unable to clear their tables.

The agencies explained that these individuals are typically those who are unable to order and bring the food to their table in the first place.

They urged family members or dining companions to help these people dispose of the litter and clear the tables.

Rate of return has increased

The move to penalise not returning used trays and crockery was made to promote good hygiene and encourage social responsibility, according to the press release.

Since enforcement started, the average rate of tray and crockery return at hawker centres has increased to 91 per cent currently.

The rate was previously 65 per cent in August 2021.

Meanwhile, the rate of return at coffeeshops and food courts has maintained at 90 per cent since December 2022.

NEA and SFA stated that they will continue to reach out to members of the public to remind everyone to keep Singapore clean.

They also urged the public to cooperate with the enforcement officers if approached by them.

Top photo from NEA / FB