Located offshore, the island is Pulau Semakau. It is the home to our trash and it is in trouble. Most of us Singaporean have probably heard of it, but few have likely put much thought into this final resting place for all the dirty, used and unwanted detritus from our lives.
Well, now is the time to start thinking and talking about it. There is a pressing need for us to reduce our waste by 30% by the year 2030. Only then will we be able to extend the landfill's lifespan beyond 2035. This one and only landfill is a critical element in keeping Singapore as famously spotless as it is today.
Without it (in time to come), where will all of our trash go to then? Surely, we do not want to see this trash overpopulating our clean and green city. Once generated, this trash is here to stay. They do not simply disappear in thin and they have to be managed. While the problem of waste generation is a pressing matter, multiple factors specific to our context places greater urgency on the problem at hand.
Firstly, this matter is made even more dire due to our island’s tiny size. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) says that there is simply no room for a second landfill on the mainland.
Secondly, Singapore is independent in this situation. Recyclable materials such as paper, plastics, glass, and metal, used to be exported to countries such as Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand for processing and recycling. However, several of these countries now want to put a stop to the influx of rubbish to their shores. Furthermore, while exporting trash may seemingly solve the problem locally, it creates a new set of problems elsewhere. This is not an acceptable solution to any problem.
Thirdly, Singapore isn't all that proud of our recycling culture. With a reduction in domestic recycling rate from a low 17% in 2019 to a disappointing 13% in 2020, the recycling culture in Singapore simply isn’t one that Singapore takes pride in. This problem is further worsened in times of pandemic as recycling programs and the karang-guni (that we are all familiar with) can no longer carry out business as usual. The main challenge lies in inculcating an environmentally friendly mindset. On top of a lack of interest, a lack of awareness is identified as well. Singaporeans often chug items that do not belong into designated recycling bins. These thoughtless acts end up contaminating the contents of the whole bin. Eventually, all efforts are in vain and everything ends up at Semakau instead of being recycled.
So what can be done?
The most straightforward solution would be to target the problem at its root cause. Simply cutting down on the generation of waste. Specifically, BarePack focuses on takeaway waste. This is especially so a pressing issue during this pandemic where there has been a surge in disposables. With the tightened regulations during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), dining is no longer a viable option for every one of us. With Work From Home (WFH) arrangements being a default, many (including myself) find it a hassle to make a trip out, for the sole purpose of takeaway. Thus, many of us have opted for food deliveries. Not only is it convenient, but many of us also view it as a little treat myself.
While not compromising on the joy and convenience derived from takeaways, BarePack is here to provide a practical solution through the use of reusables. With our Flex Box and Kind Cup, BarePack aims to directly deal with the problem by generating less trash. All you simply have to do is opt for the BarePack option that can be found on our three delivery giant applications. Whether you are a user of GrabFood, Deliveroo, and FoodPanda, BarePack is made available across 150+ F&B outlets located islandwide.
We recognise that it takes a collective effort to become a more socially conscious society and truly effect positive change. The good news is, a little goes a long way to ensuring that we can leave behind a better world for future generations.
Start small, start today. Subscribe to BarePack today.