Is Singapore doing sufficient to be plastic-free? Extra may be performed, and that’s why these 5 native manufacturers are taking the lead with their efforts.
The yr is 2010. A track begins with an uplifting beat earlier than the singer croons: “Do you ever really feel like a plastic bag? Drifting via the wind, wanting to begin once more…” That tune, sung by Katy Perry, turned one among that yr’s greatest hits. However we’re not right here to speak in regards to the track; as a substitute, we’re specializing in its first line. The imagery of a bag floating within the blustery wind will not be solely poetic, but in addition symbolic of what’s occurring in the present day.
Do you know the world generates 400 million tonnes of plastic waste yearly? That’s equal to round 10 million totally loaded garbage vans – a scary quantity, if you happen to ask us. In Singapore alone, the whole quantity of plastic waste produced final yr was a million metric tonnes. Nonetheless, there’s some excellent news: round six % of the waste was recycled. However are we doing sufficient?
Earlier this month, main grocery store chains throughout the island began charging a minimal of 5 cents for plastic luggage. This transfer is supposed to encourage consumers to make use of their very own reusable luggage. Sadly, some nonetheless proceed taking plastic luggage out of behavior and comfort. There are even those that resorted to utilizing plastics from the contemporary produce part simply in order that they don’t need to pay the obligatory cost. In fact, we will’t count on such measures to take off instantly. It’ll take a while earlier than the outcomes are seen and felt.
The great factor is it’s not simply the supermarkets which have kickstarted plastic-free initiatives in Singapore. Actually, just a few native manufacturers are main the way in which to rid Singapore of as a lot plastic as doable.
A watch to make a distinction
Palms up if you happen to put on contact lenses. Now, what do you do with the plastic blister packs? Most individuals eliminate them. However are you conscious that the packaging may be recycled? Sure, you learn that proper. Two homegrown firms have spearheaded initiatives to try this in Singapore.
First up is Two of a Sort (Twooak), a contact lens firm based domestically. The model launched Challenge 2×2, a non-profit initiative that collects, kinds, and passes the blister packs for recycling, in October 2019. The packs are cleaned and processed into plastic pellets, that are then used to provide and manufacture new merchandise corresponding to meals containers and clothes fibres. All it’s important to do is gather all of the blister packs into an envelope and drop them off at six assortment factors round Singapore. Alternatively, you’ll be able to mail your assortment to its workplace at North Canal Highway.
Why did the corporate resolve to kickstart this undertaking? Based on its founder, 44-year-old Daryl Tan, the contact lens business right here is primarily dominated by multinational manufacturers and optical chain shops that “simply don’t care”. “We all know this as a result of we requested,” Daryl mentioned by way of Twooak’s web site. “Nobody was eager on placing any time or sources into ‘one thing’ until they may see an already established occasion of ‘one thing’ instantly benefiting their very own pursuits and gross sales targets.”
In addition to Twooak, there’s additionally Capitol Optical. The native eyewear firm piloted Eye For Earth, the same initiative encouraging contact lens wearers to recycle their blister packs. Nonetheless, in contrast to Twooak’s Challenge 2×2, Eye For Earth additionally collects the aluminium foils. The foil lids may be recycled into bike and automotive elements, aluminium cans, home equipment, and extra. These on this train can gather a recycling bag from any Capitol Optical boutique. Bear in mind to separate the blisters and foils!
Have a drink and save the earth
Tackling plastic waste is an environmental initiative many organisations take as their company social accountability. One such firm that’s strolling the discuss is homegrown brewery Lion Brewery Co. Earlier this month, tt collaborated with ocean affect organisation Seven Clear Seas to launch Can’t Sea Straight, a limited-edition beer. By means of gross sales of Can’t See Straight, the 2 manufacturers hope to clear between 400 and 500 kilograms of plastic waste from the ocean. Now that is one plastic-free initiative to get behind in Singapore!
Will Julius, the brewery’s co-founder, is past happy that the 2 organisations are working collectively. “This collaboration excites us. Since our inception, Lion Brewery Co has all the time been dedicated to defending the surroundings. Our sustainability practices will not be excellent, however we regularly attempt to be higher,” he shared through the beer’s launch celebration, which was held at Thirty Sixty Brewlab.
Seven Clear Seas’ chief government officer, Tom Peacock-Nazil, shares Will’s sentiments. “We hope to spark discourse over the significance of eradicating plastics from our seas over a pint of Can’t Sea Straight. We’re keen to construct a group of people dedicated to difficult the established order and getting concerned.”
Doing extra with plastic waste
Is recycling plastic blisters and cleansing up oceans adequate, although? In truth, extra may be performed. Despite the fact that our proportion of recycled plastic elevated barely final yr, our nation nonetheless has an extended solution to go in the case of doing extra. That is the place Plastify is available in. Declaring itself Singapore’s first group plastic maker house, the environmental group upcycles discarded plastics into new and reusable objects corresponding to coasters, equipment, and even Christmas ornaments. Plastify collects waste donations from the group.
Plus, the group spreads consciousness about plastic waste and recycling via academic talks, seminars, hands-on workshops, and seaside clean-ups. They intention to combine plastic schooling into faculties’ curriculums in order that the youthful generations play an energetic position in Singapore’s plastic-free initiative and contribute to a inexperienced, round financial system. “To be very trustworthy, what we educate is only a ripple within the ocean on the grand scale of issues,” Plastify humbly said in an Instagram put up. “We’re nonetheless over-consuming plastics, waste remains to be being misplaced, and companies are greenwashing, to call just a few. However a ripple is a ripple nonetheless.”
“It’s vital to begin environmental schooling younger.”
On the subject of grand scale, a deep-tech start-up is making enormous strides in tackling Singapore’s plastic downside. Based in 2019, Magorium converts all plastic waste into a cloth referred to as NEWBitumen, which is used to construct roads. Based on its web site, it is a “cheaper, safer, and extra sustainable methodology of plastic recycling”. Up to now, the corporate has recycled over 4,500kg of plastic waste and has paved 4 roads; the most recent being a driveway at DBS Newton Inexperienced. Its purpose is to boost Singapore’s plastic recycling fee to at the very least 35 % by 2025.
Is Singapore on observe to be plastic-free?
Below the Singapore Inexperienced Plan, the federal government goals to scale back landfill waste – which incorporates plastics – by 30% in 2030. By means of this effort, the lifespan of Pulau Semakau, our nation’s solely landfill, can be prolonged to 2035. This begs the query: are we on our solution to attaining that focus on? Whereas the obligatory plastic bag cost is an efficient place to begin, extra may be performed when it comes to work and educating the general public.
Whereas we laud the assorted plastic-free initiatives in Singapore, change begins with all of us. This extends past plastic luggage and single-use waste: being conscious and conscious of recycling, and enjoying a extra energetic position in ending plastic waste. Is that this a troublesome factor to do? Properly, in Coldplay’s phrases: no one mentioned it was simple… slowly however absolutely, it’ll get simpler. And earlier than you understand it, life can be extra improbable with out plastic.