It is something which we see every day in our lives. They are everywhere. They can be found in our grocery stores, food storage boxes, bags, bottles and even our smartphones. Plastics have been useful in making our lives better and easier due to its durability and longevity.
Photo by Getty Images
However, scientific literature and evidence points to us that plastics are in fact, harmful to the environment and even to our health. They can cause illnesses and diseases and even death. Yet, plastics continue to remain in use despite the ill effects it can cause. In fact, we keep using plastics to store our food to reduce wastage.
According to research organisation Plastics Europe, plastics have played and will continue to play a significant role in improving sustainability across society, environment, and economic environments. Plastics are in many of the useful and beneficial products we use such as protective packaging, lightweight and safety components in cars, smartphones, medical devices, insulation and so on.
So, what exactly is plastics? Why has plastics, playing such an important role in our lives, ended up being harmful? Why the contrary, we ask?
THE BANE OF PLASTICS
It all boils down to this: the chemical properties that make up plastics.
There are many different types of plastics. Plastics can be synthetic or organic, depending on the materials used in the manufacturing process. Most synthetic plastics are manufactured using materials such as natural gas, coal, crude oil, and petrochemicals derived from crude oil. Organic materials that make plastics include vegetable oils and fats, bacteria and other natural-occurring substances.
Most plastics we use are synthetic in nature. These plastics are made up of polymers: long-chain molecules made of repeating links or monomers. Chemicals are added during the manufacturing processes to enhance plastics. The properties are what make plastics so desirable: light, durable and long-lasting. And not to mention cause problems for the environment if discarded carelessly.
Infographic by San Diego Coastkeeper
Scientific research has revealed that plastics tend to be used only for a few hours before being discarded, and it can take about 500 years for plastics to break down.
SINGAPORE PLASTIC WASTE
In Singapore, according to statistics provided by the National Environmental Agency (NEA), we use about 1.76 billion plastic items each year, including 820 million plastic bags from supermarkets, 467 million PET bottles and 473 million plastic disposable items. Many of these plastics tend to be single-use items. For example, packaging waste, including plastics, form about a third of domestic waste disposed of in Singapore.
Graphic by Singapore Environment Council
To combat this problem of growing plastic waste, the Singapore Government has launched several initiatives and campaigns through its various agencies to encourage consumers to reduce plastic waste and adopt sustainable practices and habits. The government is also working with several business organisations such as local supermarket NTUC FairPrice and Coca-cola to help educate consumers on reducing plastic waste and advocating responsible consumption.
ECO-FRIENDLY JOURNEY – ONE STEP AT A TIME
Thus, to strive for better health and environmental sustainability, Market for Good has partnered with many like-minded local businesses, companies, and social organisations to provide eco-friendly and sustainable options for daily use. In fact, adopting sustainability is an easily achievable goal. We just need to adopt and refine some of our daily habits one step at a time to become eco-friendlier and more sustainable.
Given that we use about 820 million plastic bags yearly from supermarkets, we can change our habits by using reusable tote bags instead.
L-R: 8oz Cotton Canvas Bag ($2.45) and Canvas Tote Bag ($11.00)
These tote bags featured are available from Market for Good at great prices apiece. What’s more, they are made up of eco-friendly materials and are durable. These bags are very versatile and functional, and can be reused for other means as well. Do hop over to Market for Good for more eco-friendly design options available from different vendors. Some of the bags allow customisation like colour choices or logos added.
Tote Bag ($10.00)
In fact, this Tote Bag produced by Dagiz, is customisable and is the same bag commissioned for a client for a previous NDP celebration. Given that National Day Parade 2021 is around the corner, you can get them from Market for Good and join in the festivities 😉
Getting these reusable tote bags and using them for grocery shopping is a good start to your sustainable journey. As these bags are made of strong canvas or cotton materials from sustainable sources, we can use them as many times as we want, compared to a one-time use of plastic bags from the grocery store. So, next time when you head out for the grocery store, be sure to grab a reusable tote bag. This will help reduce Singapore’s plastic waste - one step at a time.
To add to your arsenal of eco-friendly inventory, it is still not too late to hop onto the bandwagon of those cool and trending reusable straws. And not to mention, an additional bonus that you are doing good when you purchase these reusable straws from social organisations that employ persons with disabilities.
Yes! Market for Good does collaborate with various social organisations such as Dagiz, an all-woman-run social enterprise, and Bizlink Centre, a social arm under National Council of Social Service (NCSS) to bring you these reusable metal straws.
L-R: Reusable Metal Straws ($3.00), 3pcs metal straw with brush ($3.83), and Metal Straw Set with Velvet Pouch ($3.23)
Starting from $3.00, you can purchase them from Market for Good, and at the same time, leaving a social impact. The straws are also available in various colours and packaging.
So, do bring these reusable straws along with you and skip the plastic straws each time you go for a drink.
If that is not convincing enough for you to go green, according to statistics, Singapore uses up to a whooping 2.2 million plastic straws daily (!). As part of Singapore’s efforts to curb plastic waste, several F&B companies, including fast-food chains, restaurants, and bars in hotels, have stopped dispensing plastic straws since 1st July 2019. This movement is part of the initiative Plastic Action by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and is supported by the National Environment Agency and Zero Waste Sg.
What are you waiting for? Hop over and grab your reusable straws now from Market for Good!
MARKET FOR GOOD - A PLATFORM OF ECO-GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE GIFT-GIVING
Market for Good supports and contributes to Singapore's environmental and sustainable policies and practices by being a platform and a one-stop shop in offering various eco-friendly products and experiences. Going green doesn’t have to be expensive. We offer quality products that are not just environmentally-friendly but friendly to the wallet too.
To help companies achieve their corporate social responsibility (CSR) of sustainability and going green, we have partnered with Dagiz to create and provide eco-friendly gift solutions and experiences to our clients. We advocate sustainable consumption and production too.
As responsible business owners, it is important we need to play our role in considering eco-green and sustainable options for the future. In turn, we are helping Singapore to become an environmentally friendly, livable and sustainable city for living and playing.