Why some see red on Green Day

weekly roundup Sunday was Earth Day, though John McConnell may dispute the date, and Singapore decided to do its part in reducing waste by embarking on a new initiative to encourage its citizens to bring their own shopping bags.Specifically, on the first Wednesday of every month, shoppers will be charged 10 cents for each plastic bag requested at checkout counters of participating retailers including Carrefour, NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong.

weekly roundup Sunday was Earth Day, though John McConnell may dispute the date, and Singapore decided to do its part in reducing waste by embarking on a new initiative to encourage its citizens to bring their own shopping bags.

Specifically, on the first Wednesday of every month, shoppers will be charged 10 cents for each plastic bag requested at checkout counters of participating retailers including Carrefour, NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong. The money collected will be donated to the Singapore Environment Council to fund its environmental activities.

The first dry run took place last week ago. Supermart chain NTUC FairPrice said it reduced the use of plastic bags by about 30 per cent and sold 8,000 to 10,000 reusable bags on Wednesday.

While the National Environment Agency (NEA) says "the non-biodegradability of plastic bags is not a problem in Singapore", the island-state uses 2.5 billion plastic shopping bags, or about 2,500 bags per household, each year. When every family consumes one less bag per week, Singapore cuts down by over 50 million plastic bags a year.

Incinerating a tonne of its waste plastic bags produces almost 2,900 kilograms of carbon dioxide--a cause of global warming--in Singapore.

Needless to say, the initiative last week is a good start. But, the efforts seemed lost on some, in particular, the elderly folks--some of whom took to yelling profanities at the cashiers when asked to fork out 10 cents. When put in the spotlight, such unpleasantry can place crucial campaigns in peril and overshadow the real cause of running the campaign.

To overcome potential barriers and appease any, erm, frugal customer, a colleague suggested that it would probably have been a better idea to encourage retailers to pay 10 cents to customers who choose not to take a plastic bag, instead of "forcing" consumers to do the "monetary legwork".

In the IT realm, the focus on being environment-friendly is concentrated on attempts to cut down power and energy consumption. The U.K. government, for example, passed a directive which includes legislation stipulating companies must dispose their IT waste responsibly.

It's high time Asia catches up on global green efforts, and if countries such as Singapore, prefer not to impose legislation, they need to identify and lobby initiatives that provide strong incentives for companies and consumers to go green.

In other news last week, find out why outsourcing services providers in India are eyeing Europe. Also, read why Intel is choosing to go slow on China when Microsoft and Lenovo are researching toward China. And find out how some video clips may no longer be accessible on You Tube.

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