We were delighted to welcome Patricia Jones (Green Bees Social), Jeroen van de Waal (Orca Scuba) and Zero Waste SG to present to our community on what families can do to reduce household waste and how we can ensure our waste is recycled responsibly.
Our waste is generally incinerated, sent to landfill sites, or recycled. However, there are issues with these methods of disposal, for example burning waste creates greenhouse gases and toxins, waste in the ground releases toxins into the soil and waterways. In addition, only metal and glass can be 100% recycled, whereas paper and plastic are more complicated.
A guest speaker from Zero Waste SG explained that the amount of waste disposed in Singapore has increased over the past 45 years. If this continues the projected lifespan of the one landfill in Singapore is about 35 years.
He added that the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 sets targets of achieving a 70% national recycling rate and a 30% domestic recycling rate by 2030. Currently, 99% of ferrous metal and construction debris is recycled. However, paper/cardboard and plastics are often contaminated meaning they cannot always be recycled.
The presenters outlined several tips on how we can all manage our own waste. These include:
- Shop wisely – buy products that aren't pre-packed, support eco-friendly brands, refuse plastic bags, and use your own bags
- Educate your family members about correctly separating waste into rubbish and recycling
- Wash your recyclables
- Reduce food waste – plan your meals before you shop, donate to food kitchens, love your leftovers
- Use alternatives for wrapping paper including cloths, colourful magazine pages
- Give non-plastic presents, for example, donations or an experience
- Carry your own reusable water bottle or coffee cup
- Use loose tea leaves rather than tea bags
- Use electric or bamboo toothbrushes
- Consider quality over quantity when buying clothes. Give old clothes to charity. Rent your one-off outfits.
The talk emphasised the impact that we can all have on the global challenges of climate change, just by taking a few small steps in our everyday routines.