Do you know that Singapore produces a lot of packaging waste?
Sustainable packaging has become an increasingly important issue in recent years as people become more aware of the impact of packaging on the environment. A recent study published by Singapore Environment Council (SEC) in 2022 found that 70% of respondents believe packaging material should be reduced[i]. If you’re amongst the 70%, let us help! In this article, we share some easy tips and best practices that you can use to reduce packaging waste.
1) Opt for Reusable Packaging When Available
Reusable packaging is packaging that can be returned to e-commerce retailers to be used multiple times. It’s a lesser-known option but one that’s been trialled in Singapore: there were several initiatives underway. Here are some of them!
WWF Singapore launched a pilot with twelve merchants to test resuable packaging from April to September 2022. Buyers could return the packaging, free of charge, directly to the courier, at the merchant’s physical store, or via Singapore Post mailing boxes.
About one-third of packages were delivered with the resuable packaging. To maximise reuse, the packaging used materials such as Velcro for sealing.
- Barepack Singapore
Barepack shut down local operations in 2022, but previously partnered with over 150 food and beverage merchants to offer reusable packaging. Consumers could return the containers without washing them.
It is our hope that reusable packaging will become a norm soon. When it does, will you adopt it?
2) Donate Your Packing Materials
There are a few organisations collecting single-use packaging that is in good condition! When opening your mails, make sure to remove all sensitive information.
- Bamboo Straw Girl
The business collects small cardboard boxes (flattened) and clean, un-popped bubble wrap. Their requirements can be found on their site.
- Package Pals
Package Pals is a circular packaging initiative that collects second-hand packaging and distributes it to businesses for reuse. It is powered by volunteers, so you can also contribute your time toward their cause over semester breaks or holidays!
They currently accept poly mailers and paper mailers A4 sized or larger, padded envelopes and bubble wrap. These can be dropped off at Our Tampines Hub or at The Sustainabilitt Project during the months of March, June, and September.
- Woods in the Books
The delightful children’s bookstore collects clean and dry paper bags for reuse! You can drop them off at the store, located at 3 Yong Siak Street, or at Books Ahoy located in Forum The Shopping Mall.
They take in clean CNY cookie containers and instant coffee jars! Do remove the labels and call them beforehand to ensure they have sufficient space to take these in.
Other places also take in packing materials; keep an eye out! If you have a favourite small store doing e-commerce, why not check in and see if they could use some packing material?
3) Purchase Items with Minimal Packaging
You can eliminate packaging waste from the source — your orders! Some businesses allow you to indicate that you’d like your order shipped with minimal packaging, but if there isn’t that option, you can always make a request via the instructions/notes boxes at checkout.
You could also do a group buy with a few friends if they are looking to purchase the same items as well! Alternatively, some stores adopt packaging made from recyclable or biodegradable materials: if this is a more sustainable option you could choose it*.
*Reminder: Some biodegradable packaging may take a longer time to break down and may not necessarily be an eco-friendlier choice!
4) Bring Your Own Containers
What if you’re not shopping online but in person?
There are great stores that sell you only what you need or pack items in your own containers! One of them is the very popular Scoop Wholefoods, and you can purchase health and beauty items from Oasis Beauty Kitchen’s refillery bar. Unpackt stocks groceries and other items!
You can also bring your own containers for eating out, of course. A good alternative to plastic bags, for example, are beeswax wraps!
5) Avoid individually packaged snacks
Why not choose snacks or beverages that come in larger packages instead of individually wrapped ones? You could also opt to take snacks that don’t require packaging at all to work, such as fresh fruit!
We can significantly reduce the waste we generate by making these simple changes to our shopping and consumption habits. So, let’s get started one small change at a time! Together, we can do our part and take action to reduce packaging waste!