Reduce, Recycle, Reuse.
Recycling - a word that keeps coming up very often when u live in a forward society like that of Singapore. 2 years ago when I was in Chennai, we were asked to separate waste but like the millions of people in the city, I didnt follow the advice. But after coming here, I have slowly taken recycling seriously. Cant explain why but somehow I have become very particular about this. And Am happy doing it cos I feel its my moral responsibility towards the environment.
I have consciously made it a habit to avoid buying too much plastic bottles and taking plastic bags. Simple changes like taking a bag when I go shopping, buying cartons/refills instead of plastic containers, buying recycled bags, products that are made from recycled stuff,etc are quite effective and cost effective too. Its not difficult at all, but I wonder why most people dont even think about it. I have seen people taking plastic bag after purchasing a chocolate bar! Some even insist on separate bags for different items!!
With the thousands of convenience stores, supermarkets and malls all around the city, I can only imagine the amount of plastic bags that are used in a day. Though huge supermarkets like NTUC have a "Bring your own bag, get 10cents off your bill" scheme, I hardly see people utilising it...and in reality the discount is negligible and not all sales clerks notice you bring your own bag! Another scheme that is available through the community centres is the recyclables - for - food exchange programmes which I think is a good way to involve the public and educate them. But the best thing in Singapore is I dont even have to leave my house to recycle - twice a month the waste disposal team collects all recyclables rite outside my door step - COOL!!! I just need to put all the stuff into the provided cover and leave it outside.
Its not always easy to change habits and I know that very well. Am still trying to get my husband to avoid plastic bags :). Once we were at the Changi beach and I noticed some plastic covers floating in the water, I went ahead to remove it and trash it. Now what surprised me is the stares I got from the onlookers...they were looking as if I had gone nuts. Sometimes my husband gets irritated that I make it a point to reuse plastic bags, but I feel someday he will understand and remember why its needed.
I think this all started with a visit to the Singapore Zoo where in one of the animal shows the otter showed that its necessary to reduce, recycle and reuse. I kind of took it all too seriously....and am ok with it. I dont know if I can change anyone else but am happy to have changed my view on this. And am happy I wrote it down, maybe some one else will get inspired :)