In order to find better alternatives, the study will analyse raw materials used in such disposables; the production of the packaging and how it is distributed, used and ultimately disposed of. It will also examine smaller plastic bags commonly used for sauces and drinks, paper boxes, single-use bags made of paper or biodegradable materials and reusable plastic bags.
The study is expected to begin in September, or October 2016, and will be completed by the Q2-2017.
Jessica Cheam, editor of Eco-Business, a website on green issues, said: “It’s long overdue and it’s encouraging to see NEA finally looking closely at Singapore’s packaging problem. A third of household waste comes from packaging… We might incinerate our waste, but these materials are fossil fuel intensive to make, extremely pollutive and hard to break down.”
Eugene Tay, executive director of environmental group Zero Waste SG, noted that Singaporeans’ busy lifestyles are resulting in fewer cooking and more taking away food over the last 10 years. He said: “The study will provide more information to consumers and companies to enable them to make the switch to greener alternatives.”
In 2009, the National University of Singapore launched a campaign to encourage the use of reusable containers at its canteens, which has helped to cut down on more than 47,000 pieces of disposable packaging.