SINGAPORE: Emptying out a bag packed with the plastic I’d used in a week, I was a little shocked and definitely embarrassed.
After all, it had never truly struck me just how much of such waste I generated.
Throughout the week, I tried to live “normally”. This meant behaving exactly as I would have if I wasn’t doing this experiment which served to audit my plastic use, so that I would have a true picture of my wastage.
So, scattered on the table in front of me were plastic spoons, forks, bags, packaging, straws, plates and bottles.
Singapore uses about 1.76 billion plastic items each year, according to the Singapore Environment Council’s position paper published in 2018. This includes 820 million plastic bags from supermarkets, 467 million PET bottles and 473 million plastic disposable items.
Based on latest figures from the National Environment Agency (NEA), more than 1 million tonnes of plastic waste was generated in Singapore last year. Of this, only 6 per cent was recycled and 944,000 tonnes was disposed of – the most of any form of waste.
To be clear, plastic isn’t the only problem.
Disposables – any items designed for single use before they are thrown away – aren't great for the environment too. Such disposables are often made from plastic but can come from other materials such as paper.
In 2020, about 200,000 tonnes of domestic waste disposed of in Singapore were disposables, according to NEA.