The National Environment Agency (NEA) has launched the third Say YES to Waste Less (SYTWL) campaign, which takes place from 27 September to 7 November 2021. The campaign spans 169 partners across almost 3,000 premises and is aimed at encouraging the public to lead a sustainable lifestyle by reducing food wastage and the use of disposables. This is an increase from the 95 partners across 2,100 premises involved last year.

In the spirit of the Singapore Together movement, the partners comprise corporates, social enterprises, interest groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and Community Development Councils (CDCs).

Environmental impact of food wastage and consumption of disposables

At our current rate of waste generation, Semakau Landfill (SL) is expected to be fully filled by 2035. To extend the lifespan of SL, one of the targets set under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 is to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in waste-to-landfill per capita per day by 2026.

In 2020, Singapore generated around 665,000 tonnes of food waste, which is equivalent to each individual discarding about 1.5 bowls of food per day. Food waste puts a burden on our waste disposal system and represents a loss of the resources used to grow, transport and prepare the food.

In addition, about 200,000 tonnes of disposables were discarded, comprising items such as carrier bags and takeaway containers/cutlery. These are enough to fill up about 400 Olympic-size swimming pools. Each disposable item has a life cycle impact – requiring resources such as water and energy in its manufacturing, use, and disposal, and contributing to global warming.

Therefore, it is crucial for all of us to do more to reduce food wastage and the excessive consumption of all disposables. SYTWL’s call-to-action features simple tips that everyone can adopt, such as bringing your own reusable carrier bag, bottle and container when heading out, as well as buying and ordering just enough food.

Partner initiatives to encourage customers to waste less

In support of this year’s campaign, 169 partners have committed to various actions to reduce food wastage and/or the use of disposables. These include prompting customers to order just enough food, plan meals in advance, make use of blemished or surplus food, and offering perks such as free drink toppings, discounts or loyalty points for customers who bring their own reusable carrier bags and containers.

Examples of partners with initiatives introduced in support of SYTWL this year include:

  • F&B outlets – Starbucks is gifting a limited-edition 50th Anniversary Reusable Cup to customers for every purchase of a handcrafted beverage on 28 Sep, to encourage the use of reusables. This comes on top of their year-round 50 cents discount for all customers who bring their own cup.
  • Retailers – Watsons Singapore has introduced ‘Bring Your Own Bag Monday-Wednesday’, where plastic bags are charged at 10 cents per transaction from Monday to Wednesday every week, across all its outlets, to discourage the excessive use of plastic bags.
  • Fashion brands – Love, Bonito, a home-grown fashion brand with a global following, is offering a $1 discount to customers who shop bag-free at their store from 27 September to 31 October 2021, with no minimum spend required.
  • DBS, the first bank to join the Say YES to Waste Less campaign in 2020, has partnered with Singapore’s largest hawker food delivery platform, WhyQ, to launch ‘DBS x WhyQ Last Hour Deals’. The initiative offers attractive discounts to encourage customers to order in the final hours before hawkers wrap up their lunch and dinner service daily, to minimise wastage of fresh produce. Close to 270 hawker stalls and growing from across Singapore are participating in the initiative.
  • Small enterprises such as Amudhini Minimart, a neighbourhood provision shop in Bukit Batok, is encouraging customers to bring their own carriers by offering 20 cents discount to those who do so.

These partners’ initiatives illustrate how companies of various sizes can work together and help contribute to a sustainable Singapore. Please refer to Annex A for more information on the partners and their initiatives, and Annex B for the SYTWL campaign visuals.

To support more innovative and creative projects to reduce waste, NEA will be issuing a Call for Ideas Fund grant call that will open for applications from 28 September to 7 November 2021. More information will be available on the Call for Ideas Fund website at https://go.gov.sg/callforideasfund.

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