How To Avoid Using Plastics In Singapore
The plastic bag ban has been gathering pace across the world with some countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Bangladesh introducing a total ban. However, Singapore seems miles away from taking such a step. However, individuals and organizations can still take that step to reduce the use of plastics in Singapore.
Singapore might be lagging when it comes to placing a ban on the use of plastic paper bags, on the flip side, there is something you can do about it. Individual action goes a long way in solving community problems. Imagine if more people adopt this type of approach towards not using plastics in Singapore, then that would help to make the country’s environment cleaner. But how does one embark on a plastic-free lifestyle?
The process of cutting down on plastic use
Consciously choosing not to use plastics, especially plastic paper bags, is not as easy, but it is a decent step in the right direction. However, various steps can be put in place at the individual level to cut down on the use of plastics.
- Carry a reusable shopping bag– Plastic bags can be a menace if left unchecked. They are cheap, and so there is often no need to carry one all the time, when going shopping and so many people often end up getting a new one every time they shop. Plastic paper bags make up a huge part of the non-biodegradable waste or rubbish that is found in landfills and even in the ocean. They are nasty pollutants that are difficult to get rid of.
Considering that most products purchased at supermarket shelves come with plastic paper wrapping makes it even harder to avoid plastic. However, if you have reusable shopping bags that are made from fiber or biodegradable material, this is the first step towards slowing down the pace of plastic paper bag waste. If more people jump on board, then the process itself.
- Get a stainless steel water bottle- You can take your mission of reducing plastic waste a notch higher by purchasing a stainless steel water bottle or a bamboo variant, which you can use to carry water. Plastic bottles almost always turn into waste that is then discarded when people consume their contents. This means that they can pile up quite easily and become an environmental problem. However, you, as an individual, can contribute to improving the situation by switching to a reusable bottle.
- Do you really need a straw?- Perhaps straws are overrated in 2019, especially considering that they are only used once and then discarded. Plastic straws also contribute to the non-biodegradable plastic waste menace, and so the next logical step would be to avoid them. Fortunately, there are good alternatives made from glass, bamboo, or stainless steel.
Bamboo Straw Girl is one of the Singapore-based eco-warriors that have embarked on a mission to combat the use of plastics in Singapore. There are, of course, other brands that offer non-plastic alternatives, and they include Neis Haus, Sonder Social, and The Clean Attempt.
- Do away with plastic cutlery– Buying takeaway food from a food joint often comes with some plastic cutlery that is also thrown away as soon as it is used. You can opt not to use them as part of your efforts to contribute towards less plastic waste. You should instead use the cutlery available at your workplace or home. You can also try to use reusable containers to carry the takeaway food instead of using the flimsy plastic packaging that is only used once and then discarded.
- Try out groceries that focus on the zero-waste cause– If you are conscious about the need to avoid using plastics in Singapore, then you might want to subscribe to the idea of zero-waste grocery stores. These are stores that are also conscious of the need to avoid using plastics. These types of grocery stores allow shoppers to pack their chosen products into their own bags, thus eliminating the need to use plastic packaging for the products.
This approach also encourages the use of local farm produce, thus benefiting local farmers. This is because locally-sourced produce will still be fresh compared to imported products which often have to be covered with plastic wrapping to prolong their shelf life.
If more people jump on these trends, then they will foster a consumer trend that corporates cannot avoid. They will have to also start rethinking their product packaging and consequently contribute towards drastically reducing the use of plastics in Singapore. This is a good example of the impact of individual steps towards environmental conservation, especially by improving consumption habits.
Numerous retailers have already launched initiatives through which they plan to sensitize the general public about the need to stop using disposable plastics. One such retailer in Singapore is FairPrice Xtra supermarket which adopted the use of reusable bags, backpacks, and even trolleys instead of placing products in plastic bags once purchased by consumers.
Although FairPrice’s outlets are trying out the new approach, they still allow shoppers to use plastic paper bags. However, customers who insist on using plastic paper bags have to pay an extra 10 or 20 cents to purchase the plastic bags. The extra cost of the bags is minimal and not really much of an incentive to switch to a reusable alternative. The good thing is that the supermarket has introduced an option for those that want to avoid using the plastic bags.
Although the FairPrice is running the “no-plastic bag” trial for a month, it will provide important insights on how to use alternative solutions that help to reduce plastic waste. It will also allow the retailer to gauge whether to go ahead and stick with the no-plastic policy. Hopefully, this trend will catch on with other retailers and businesses and encourage them to reduce the use of plastics in Singapore.
The success of this kind of an approach will, however, depend largely on the consumers and their willingness to contribute to a cleaner, plastic waste-free environment. Perhaps it will even encourage the government to ban the use of plastic bags in Singapore.