Avoid Disposable Items

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Reduce

Disposable items such as plastic bags, plastic cutlery and batteries are thrown away after a single use. This is a waste of resources and creates unnecessary wastage. We should try to avoid buying and using disposable items if possible.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) to Reduce the Use of Plastic Bags
  2. Avoid Disposable Plastic Containers and Cutlery
  3. Avoid Using Individually Packaged Disposable Items
  4. Use Rechargeable Batteries Instead of Normal Single-Use Batteries
  5. Skip Gift Wrapping

1. Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) to Reduce the Use of Plastic Bags

In Singapore, we use about 3 billion plastic bags a year. Plastic bags are commonly used to bag our waste for disposal. However, excess plastic bags are thrown away as waste and are also often thrown away as litter, dirtying our streets and clogging up the drains.

Plastic bags that end up in the sea may also pose a threat to marine lives. In addition, plastic bags are made from oil, thus using up this non-renewable resource.

Support the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) campaign and bring your own reusable bags for shopping and help to reduce the need for excessive plastic bags. Avoid taking excessive plastic bags and if you have excess plastic bags, consider reusing them for bagging refuse or giving them to others.

2. Avoid Disposable Plastic Containers and Cutlery

Make an effort to have your food at the food outlets or restaurants, and avoid takeaways using disposable plastic containers. If you often need to buy food back to your home or office, consider bringing your own reusable container, cutlery and bag instead of taking the disposable ones.

In addition, you can bring your own reusable cutlery to avoid using disposable cutlery when eating at food outlets and restaurants.

If you are organising an event, use non-disposable plates, cups and cutlery for your catered food. Ask the caterer to use chinaware or glassware instead. This helps to reduce the amount of waste from paper or plastic disposables.

3. Avoid Using Individually Packaged Disposable Items

When serving hot beverages, avoid the use of disposable stirrers and individually packaged sugar, milk and creamer. Use a spoon for stirring and place the sugar and milk in reusable containers or jugs.

Avoid using individual sachets of chilli or ketchup sauce. Store the sauce in reusable bottles and dispensers instead.

Avoid disposable bottled water or plastic cups in your office or event. You can switch to reusable water bottles and reusable plastic, ceramic or glass cups for water.

4. Use Rechargeable Batteries Instead of Normal Single-Use Batteries

Rechargeable AA and AAA batteries can be reused many times and this will help to reduce the disposal of normal single-use batteries. If 5% of the local population switched to rechargeable batteries, this would prevent the annual disposal of more one million single-use batteries (assuming each person throws away five batteries a year).

Switching to rechargeable batteries also helps to save money. A pack of four AA alkaline batteries costs about $5 and can be used once, whereas a pack of four rechargeable batteries and a charger costs about $50, and the batteries can be reused about 500 to 1,000 times. If you switch to rechargeable batteries and reuse them 10 times, the purchase cost between normal and rechargeable batteries would breakeven.

5. Skip Gift Wrapping

Consider skipping gift wrapping and put the gift in a reusable bag instead. Excessive paper wrappers are a hassle and usually end up as waste. What is inside is more important.

Don’t Waste Food

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Reduce

Singaporeans waste a lot of food each year. In 2013, we threw away about 0.8 million tonnes of food waste and only 13% was recycled. We should not waste food and let’s try to find ways to reduce food wastage in our homes, for our events and for companies that produce food products.

Here’s a few tips:

For Homes

Before cooking, confirm the amount of food needed and plan the type of food to be cooked and how to cook the food. This helps you to prevent excessive food wastage.

You can also refer to the food storage chart from the AVA website to check some guidelines on how long you can keep your food in the refrigerator. By keeping to the food storage duration and temperature, you can reduce food spoilage.

For Events

Confirm the number of participants attending the event and their dietary requirements. This would help you to prepare or order the right amount of food. It might also be good to cater slightly less food (about 10 to 20 percent) than required so as to avoid unnecessary wastage.

Arrange for any leftover food to be given to the venue staff, event organiser or donate it to a charity. The leftover food should not be wasted.

For Food Companies

If your company has unsold or soon-to-be expired food products, you can sell them at a cheaper price before the expiry date to clear stock or donate the food products to schools, charitable organisations or anyone who wants them before the expiry date.

You can also contact the following organisations:

A local non-profit organisation, Food from the Heart, collects unsold bread and pastries from bakeries and hotels and distributes them to welfare organisations, needy families and individuals.

Food Bank Singapore collects excess or unwanted food from food companies, retailers and home consumers, and distributes them to the needy.

More Tips

Also check out more tips on reducing food waste from the Save Food Cut Waste campaign.