How to dispose trash down rubbish chutes if there are no plastic bags, ask readers

How to dispose trash down rubbish chutes if there are no plastic bags, ask readers
PHOTO: AFP

It looks like Singaporeans still want their supermarket plastic bags for free - and for a good reason.

Here in Singapore, plastic bags are mostly reused to contain the daily garbage that's discarded down high-rise rubbish chutes and some people also reuse them to carry items.

Some 30-odd Facebook users who responded to AsiaOne's article on whether major supermarkets here should follow the example of some countries to charge shoppers for the use of a bag, felt they should be given away free since many people are reusing them to dispose trash.

Facebook user Harry Yip said: "My family uses those thin plastic bags from the supermarkets as garbage bags for food waste, packaging waste, vaccum bag and sweeping floor waste, etc. One can only go to any bin centre and see that these bags are extensively used as garbage bags."

Another user, Ah Hong, is against a ban on supermarket plastic bags as the rubbish chute will be "dirtier and smelly" if people just discard rubbish without sealing them in a bag first. Those living on lower floors will suffer if this happens, he added.

Also against a ban or levy, Esther Lee said: "No doubt there are lots of plastic waste but what is the percentage contributed from supermarket plastic bags? The amount of trash may likely come from industrial waste, buildings being pulled down, food courts and hawker centres using plastic disposables. Singapore should lead by example and not always a blind follower."

We must examine our whole waste management system, and make better change. Plastic bags have been recycled in Singapore as part of our waste management so please don't make the change for the sake of changing.

- Facebook user KM Chia

KM Chia agreed: "We must examine our whole waste management system, and make better change. Plastic bags have been recycled in Singapore as part of our waste management so please don't make the change for the sake of changing."

For another user, Eng Seng Lim, the problem lies in the rubbish chute system that is being used in HDB flats and apartments across Singapore. 

In a comment on AsiaOne's Facebook page, he attributed the unavoidable use of bags on the rubbish chute system and the distant location of the bin centre. He added that the authorities should come up with a better way to transfer waste from a residential unit to a common bin centre more effectively.

Two Facebook users think the charging of supermarket bags will drive more people to shop online.

Another two feel that supermarkets should restrict the use of thinner plastic bags used for containing vegetables, fruits and meats instead as they are usually discarded and not recycled after use.

One user highlighted a method to dispose of compost waste in Singapore, which is currently being used in some Western countries - to install a waste food disposer at all kitchen sinks in HDB flats. 

Such disposers are used to grind kitchen food waste into tiny particles so that it can be flushed down the water waste system together with the rest of the sewage.

While most highlighted the lack of feasible waste disposal methods in Singapore, some supported extreme measures of a ban and a charge on bags to make people cultivate environment friendly habits.

Said Tong Bn: "I can bring my bags."

chenj@sph.com.sg

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