Thursday, August 22, 2019

Citizens’ workgroup to be formed to help improve recycling culture

Jul 18. 2019
Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said that climate change and environmental protection are
Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said that climate change and environmental protection are "complex and multifaceted problems". Photo by Timothy David, the Straits Times
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By The Straits Times
Asia News Network

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 Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said that climate change and environmental protection are "complex and multifaceted problems".

The Government will convene a citizens' workgroup as part of its efforts to tackle climate change and environmental issues.

This was announced by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor during the Partners for the Environment Forum yesterday.

Dr Khor said that climate change and environmental protection are "complex and multifaceted problems that cannot be addressed by the Government alone", and which require businesses and individuals to also do their part.

Though the public has already been engaged widely on the Zero Waste Masterplan which will be launched later this year, Dr Khor said that the Government wants to go beyond discussion to action, and work with Singaporeans to co-create effective solutions to environmental issues.

The citizen's workgroup is an example of such collaboration. Comprising 50 Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds, it will work with the authorities on solutions to improve the way people here recycle at home.

Dr Khor said the workgroup will be granted access to policy-relevant information such as household recycling surveys as well as experts who can share their experience and explore solutions.

Dr Khor said that climate change and environmental protection are "complex and multifaceted problems that cannot be addressed by the Government alone", and which require businesses and individuals to also do their part.

She also presented the Singapore Packaging Agreement Awards to 19 companies for having made notable efforts to cut their packaging waste.

This year's top three awards went to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Six Senses Singapore and Greenpac.

Since February, RWS has stopped providing plastic bottles for water and soft drinks at its themed attractions, dining establishments, hotels and at some of its events.

Instead, it provides refillable carafes in each of its hotel rooms and has installed water stations on its hotel floors.

It also previously introduced reusable tumblers at Universal Studios Singapore and reduced the use of plastic packaging for its slippers, instead taking a bulk-packing approach which it also applies to retail merchandise.

An RWS spokesman said that the company is committed to improving the well-being of the community through sustainable business operations.

"We will continue to explore new and innovative eco-friendly practices to protect the environment," he added.

In October last year, hotel chain Six Senses Singapore worked with its suppliers to replace single-use paper trays for eggs and foam boxes for seafood with reusable plastic trays and containers.

Separately, it facilitated recycling at its offices, and organised activities to educate its employees about the importance of minimising waste.

The company's general manager Murray L. Aitken said it engages its employees, suppliers and guests in order to make the zero-waste goal a reality in its operations.

Greenpac reduced the size of packaging used for one of its clients, cutting the weight of each package from 144kg to 113kg, while maintaining the package's integrity.

This enabled the company to reduce both packaging waste and freight costs.

Noting that a reduction in carbon footprint is important for a sustainable future, Greenpac's chief executive officer Susan Chong said her organisation's commitment to reducing packaging waste would help the industry become more environmentally friendly.

Dr Khor highlighted the pivotal role the corporate sector plays in promoting sustainable consumption and production.

"With your networks, reach and influence, you can lead the way in adopting circular economy practices," she said.

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