Singapore’s First Guide For Rating F&B Retailers On Their Efforts To Reduce Plastic Disposables

October 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Insights, News

Zero Waste SG has launched the BYO Singapore Guide 2018 to encourage food and beverage (F&B) retailers to take more action in reducing plastic disposables. This guide provides a rating of 100 popular F&B retailers in Singapore based on their efforts to reduce single-use plastic disposables, encourage a Bring Your Own (BYO) culture among customers, and list recommendations for them to do more.

Single-use plastic disposables pose a serious environmental problem around the world because plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuel resources, do not break down easily in nature, could release toxic chemicals under certain conditions, and contribute to marine litter that affects wildlife, human health and the environment. Plastic waste is the most common type of waste disposed of at the incineration plants in Singapore, and the burning of plastics produces greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.

Several countries and cities have taken steps to reduce or phase out plastic disposables. In Singapore, there are currently no regulations prohibiting or reducing the use of plastic disposables, especially in the F&B industry, where retailers use a significant amount of single-use plastic disposables. Zero Waste SG believes that it is time for F&B retailers in Singapore to be more serious and take bold actions to reduce our consumption of single-use plastic disposables.

Therefore, Zero Waste SG has conducted a public audit of 100 popular retailers to assess the extent of their efforts to reduce the use of single-use disposables and published the rating results in the BYO Singapore Guide 2018. Through the guide, Zero Waste SG hopes to urge the F&B retailers to assess whether they are ahead or behind their peers, and to take the appropriate and right actions to reduce the consumption of plastic disposables.

The retailers are selected from different categories such as coffee and tea cafes, bakeries, restaurants, tea and juice kiosks, food kiosks, and fast food restaurants. The audits were completed over 2 months from mid-Jul to mid-Sep 2018 by 53 auditors, who are mostly volunteers and also staff of Zero Waste SG. For each retailer, 3 audits at different outlets were randomly conducted in order for the data collected to be more representative, and the average audit result was chosen from the 3 audit results. All the audits were “mystery shopper” audits, where the identity of the auditor was not revealed to the retail staff, so as to ensure that the audit of the experience at the retail outlet is real.

A set of 12 “Yes/No” audit questions were used. Points are awarded only for “Yes” answers to the questions, with some questions being allocated more points as they reflect greater commitment by the retailer to reduce single-use disposables, such as charging a fee for the disposables, or providing incentives if customers bring their own reusable. The points are added up and each retailer was rated from 1 to 3 stars depending on the total points achieved. The audit results show the following:

  • 3-Star Retailers: 3
  • 2-Star Retailers: 14
  • 1-Star Retailers: 83

Out of the 100 retailers, only 3 retailers were able to achieve the highest rating of 3 stars. They are Plain Vanilla Bakery, Common Man Coffee Roasters. and SaladStop!. These 3-star retailers should be commended for their holistic efforts in implementing schemes to influence consumer behaviour, altering their operations to reduce single-use disposables, and educating their staff to encourage and welcome a BYO culture.

Ms Stella Cochrane, Communications and Events Executive of Common Man Coffee Roasters, said, “As a business, Common Man Coffee Roasters aims to champion coffee knowledge, appreciation and sustainable practices throughout South-East Asia. This ethos runs from our relationships with coffee farmers through to our wholesale and cafe suppliers, and also our café customers. As such, we see it as our responsibility to help tackle the global plastic pollution problem we are facing in any ways that we can. We have bigger plans for the future but by taking our current small steps to change habits and increase awareness about the issue we hope to help our customers lead a more sustainable life whilst still enjoying our brunches and brews!”

Ms Katherine Braha Desbaillets, Director of SaladStop!, said, “We believe that environmental friendliness is a crucial responsibility and must be an integral component of our operational excellence. Our quest to improve SaladStop!’s sustainability begins with our commitment to take responsibility and reduce our environmental footprint. Our report for 2018 establishes the five key goals we’ve set for the future: greener packaging, sustainable sourcing, water conservation, efficient illumination and cleaner cleaning.”

14 retailers were able to achieve the second highest rating of 2 stars. Most of them had an incentive or disincentive scheme, and also had some initiatives to nudge the customers in reducing plastic disposables or replaced plastic disposables with other sustainable alternatives. The majority of the retailers audited (83 retailers) achieved the low rating of 1 star. This meant that most F&B retailers are not taking enough action to reduce single-use plastic disposables and there is an opportunity for them to catch up with their peers who have achieved 3 or 2-star rating.

An encouraging result from the audits was that 94 out of 100 retailers accepted BYO requests from customers. This shows that the majority of F&B retailers are open to the idea of consumers using their own reusable cup, container and bag during purchase.

Ms Pek Hai Lin, Manager of Zero Waste SG, said, “We believe that it is time for F&B retailers in Singapore to place greater priority in taking bold actions to reduce their use of plastic disposables. More consumers are demanding that retailers play a stronger role in tackling the use of plastic disposables. Retailers can improve customer and brand loyalty by showing that they care for the environment and being responsible to our future generations in conserving non-renewable resources.”

F&B retailers who hope to achieve a higher rating can follow these recommendations that were distilled from the efforts of 3-star retailers: i) identify opportunities to track, reduce and replace plastic disposables; ii) start a plastic reduction and BYO scheme to educate consumers and train staff; and iii) provide incentives or disincentives to encourage customers to BYO. Zero Waste SG looks forward to working closely with the retailers to reduce plastic disposables in Singapore, and achieve a truly Zero Waste Nation.

Download the BYO Singapore Guide 2018 at http://www.zerowastesg.com/byorating/

‘Malls, hotels must look into improving efforts to reduce waste’ [News]

November 25, 2016 by  
Filed under News

By Siau Ming En, TODAY, 24 Nov 2016

From hotels throwing out leftover food to shopping malls discarding paper and plastic packaging, such large commercial premises alone churned out about 302,000 tonnes of waste last year, taking up 4 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore.

And even though nine in 10 of such premises have their own recycling programmes, a report card on waste for the sector — the first sector required to submit such data — showed that its weighted average recycling rates remained below 10 per cent.

Click here to read the full article

Source: TODAY

Oral Reply by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamenty Question on Imposing a Charge on Plastic Bags in Supermarkets, 9 Nov 2016 [Parliament Q&A]

November 9, 2016 by  
Filed under News

Question: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Ministry will consider imposing a charge on plastic bags at supermarkets.

Answer:

In Singapore, households generally re-use plastic bags to dispose of their waste in a hygienic manner. In addition, plastic bags which are thrown away are incinerated safely at our waste-to-energy plants before they are landfilled as ash. This is in contrast to other countries where waste is directly landfilled. In these countries, plastic bags, which are not biodegradable, may remain in landfills for a long time or find their way into the sea.

2 Even though Singapore manages the disposal of plastic bags well, there is room for us to cut down on excessive usage. The recent discussions on the plastic bag issue reflect a greater environmental awareness among Singaporeans. I commend environmental groups for raising awareness on the need to curb the excessive use of plastic bags. For instance, ZeroWasteSG conducted a survey among supermarket shoppers and found that only about 15% of shoppers were using reusable bags or trolleys without taking plastic bags. I am heartened by recent media reports that major supermarket players in Singapore are open to considering measures to reduce plastic bag usage, such as a voluntary charge on plastic bags if imposed across the industry. Read more

Plastic bag charge could have ‘unintended consequences’: Amy Khor [News]

November 9, 2016 by  
Filed under News

By Lim Jia Qi, Channel NewsAsia, 9 Nov 2016

A plastic bag charge could have “unintended consequences”, such as the substitution of these bags with paper bags or even wastage of reusable bags, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor told Parliament on Wednesday (Nov 9).

Sufficient educational and enforcement measures also need to be in place to complement a charge and reduce shoppers’ demand for plastic bags, she said.

Ms Khor was responding to MP for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng’s question on whether the Government would consider imposing a charge on plastic bags at supermarkets.

Click here to read the full article

Source: Channel NewsAsia

ITE’s Culinary Students Develop Recipes For Unconsumed Food At Home [Press Release]

October 24, 2016 by  
Filed under News

Homemakers can turn unconsumed food into a new dish instead of throwing them away

Singapore, 17 Oct 2016 – Zero Waste SG and ITE College West are co-organising the inaugural “Save Food Cut Waste” Recipes Competition 2016 for ITE’s culinary students to develop recipes for unconsumed food at home. Sheng Siong is the Food Sponsor and the National Environment Agency (NEA) is the Supporting Partner for this competition.

Families who prepare and cook food at home often have unconsumed food after their meals and end up throwing them away. A survey conducted by NEA last year found that 80% of participants prepare food at home, and 39% of those who prepare food at home have unconsumed food after a meal.

Therefore, the objective of this competition is to develop suitable recipes to help homemakers learn and cook their unconsumed food into another dish the next day, instead of throwing them away. More importantly, this competition would educate the culinary students about the problem of food waste and to be mindful about not wasting food when they are working in the food and beverage industry in the future. Read more

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