Green teams see pink over NEA anti-waste social experiment which generated extra waste


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SINGAPORE — Environmentalists and inexperienced teams are perplexed by a modern social experiment by the National Environment Agency (NEA) which appeared to generate extra waste whereas elevating consciousness in regards to the have an effect on of disposable ware on the setting.

Last Saturday (Jan 28), a espresso gross sales area doubling as a big arrange was organize at Paya Lebar Quarter, the place company acquired a free espresso drink in disposable paper and plastic cups.

Once they accomplished their drinks, company wanted to drop the used cups into the large clear arrange.

Within various hours on Saturday afternoon, the arrange — known as The Waste Cafe — had stuffed up with about 2,000 disposable cups.

This was intentional, an consideration grabbing illustration of the amount of waste that could be generated in a quick timeframe when disposables are used, talked about the NEA in response to queries.

This public outreach was part of the corporate’s annual Say Yes to Waste Less advertising marketing campaign, which conjures up most of the people to chop again meals waste and the intense use of disposables — key waste streams that the nation has been working to deal with.

In 2020, about 200,000 tonnes of house waste generated in Singapore had been disposables, and would have stuffed about 400 Olympic-size swimming swimming swimming pools.

The one-day social experiment was accomplished in collaboration with Paya Lebar Quarter and Starbucks Singapore.

The creative conceptualisation was led by built-in creative firm DSTNCT.

Green teams and native climate activists, nonetheless, had been alarmed {{that a}} advertising marketing campaign which aimed to chop again disposables was producing extra waste.

Ms Melissa Low, a evaluation fellow on the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, talked about: “I was troubled by the concept of offering free espresso in disposable cups in order to generate waste to indicate… They would possibly’ve started immediately with reusables and by no means disposable cups, using digital reveals for instance excessive consumption.

“There was absolutely no need to generate unnecessary disposable waste.”

She added: “The organisers could have consulted with green groups to understand the risks of such a campaign.”


Ms Woo Qiyun, an environmental advocate behind Instagram net web page @theweirdandwild, pointed to earlier waste-related campaigns that used current waste and had been able to fulfil their supposed goal.

One of them was a 2019 paintings arrange that was assembled with 18,000 disposable plastic cups collected from 26 hawker centres.

The arrange was displayed on the Sustainable Singapore Gallery at Marina Barrage as part of an exhibition highlighting plastic waste.

A guide from group organisation Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA) talked about that the arrange may need used current waste in its place of manufacturing latest waste.


SYCA and completely different individuals had been concerned adequate to contact NEA after that they had been alerted to the arrange, highlighted in NEA’s Clean and Green Singapore Instagram tales earlier this week.

But NEA talked about its arrange had succeeded in its intention.

It added: “Most feedback on the social experiment was positive, with many sharing that it was eye-opening to be confronted with the reality of our daily lifestyle habits, and that it has prompted them to be more conscious about reducing their use of disposables.”

The subsequent part of the advertising marketing campaign will see The Waste Cafe develop into a roving exhibit, beginning on Feb 24, which is ready to present the used disposable cups alongside tutorial panels on Singapore’s waste statistics and recommendations on lowering waste.

When company attend the exhibit, they have to use their very personal reusable cups to redeem their espresso.

DSTNCT account director Chloe Lim talked about: “When working with NEA to fine-tune the concept, we had been conscious of the advertising marketing campaign’s objective and sought furthermore to repurpose the cups used.

“This not only creates an impactful visual installation, but also upcycles the disposable cups for an extended use as educational exhibition panels. This is more meaningful than creating an exhibition out of wood or other fresh materials.”


Ms Woo talked about: “I understand the need for a ‘shock factor’ (in a campaign) where you get people to generate waste to show them the waste generated. But I believe that sustainability campaigns, where possible, should also embody the principle of ‘do less harm’.”

The guide from SYCA talked about that the distribution of free merchandise in numerous campaigns, and the manufacturing course of for advertisements by banks and companies to promote their environmental, social and governance efforts paradoxically ends in pointless waste as properly.

Commenting on the advertising marketing campaign, Professor Lawrence Loh, director of the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at NUS Business School, talked about the intention of the NEA advertising marketing campaign is optimistic, although the publicity methods would possibly invite critics.

But which may not be a foul issue, he well-known.

He talked about: “Interestingly, sometimes shock therapies actually induce the intended result more effectively, particularly over a longer time. The campaign seems to be like a shock to change consumer behaviour more rapidly and perhaps permanently.”

He added: “In the campaign here, the starting point may be controversial. But we have to determine the net effect of the change in waste generation over lifetimes.”

This article was first revealed in The Straits Times. Permission required for duplicate.

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