This post may not be exactly related to composting, but it kinda reiterates the recycling problem in Singapore (or perhaps just at my area in Bukit Batok East).

I have walked by the recycling point near my area a couple of times, and each time I do, these two thoughts never fail to cross my mind:

  • How can I ever squeeze my way into this narrow space with my trash?
  • I support recycling, but do I have to walk all the way just here to do so?

Perhaps the following pictures can illustrate why:

See that 3 colourful bins? If you think this is quite a distance to walk to recycle your trash, what about people who live a few blocks away? I do, in fact, live a few blocks away.

Getting closer...

We're finally here! Wait a minute. Where do I insert my trash?

Ah, it's on the other side. Oh my, will I fall into the drain on the right?

A better perspective of this "narrow" walkway - which is really just beside a drain. In other words, be careful when you recycle!

Quite thought-provoking, isn’t it? That’s really why the aforementioned thoughts never fail to cross my mind whenever I walk by these recycling bins.

Next, I realise that one might be unable to confidently identify them as recycling bins, unless you are always able to correctly assume that 3 brightly-coloured bins placed next each other are recycling bins.

Why do I say so?

If you have noticed from the pictures above, none of them show that they are recycling bins, unless you read the sign “recycling bins” from the front.

And the only way to the front (in this case) is to carefully maneuver yourself near or right onto the narrow little space between the bins and the drain.

How about perspectives from far off, such as walking towards the front side of the bins from a distance?

Well, I took a few shots to show that it is quite difficult to do so because of the way the bins are positioned:

Walking towards the front side of the recycling bins from a distance on a leveraged walkway - notice that the front view of the bins is almost completely blocked

Halfway up the leveraged walkway. Ah! Now I can see "recycling bins". However, I stand at about 1.63m, and I was on a leveraged walkway too. Would shorter people be able to see the same thing?

Almost at the end of the leveraged walkway - a better view, no doubt

Finally at the end of the leveraged walkway. *Poof* The recycling label's quite gone again.

Despite all that, there are a few things I like about these recycling bins:

  • They have English and Mandarin labels on them, therefore properly catering to our Mandarin-speaking elder folks, uncles and aunties.
  • The recycling bins have so far been very well-maintained. You don’t see bugs or creepy crawlies anywhere, and there are no odours too. I would like to give these observations a benefit of doubt, instead of immediately assuming that people are not using these recycling bins at all.

Check out the large and clear English and Mandarin labels

The "papers" recycling bin labelled in both languages

The "bottles" recycling bin labelled in both languages - but I wonder why they are mixing plastics and glass together

Likewise, the "cans" recycling bin labelled in both languages

Lastly, since this post came up, I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you know that I will be starting a mini recycling project within my block.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always wanted to have a first-hand understanding of the recycling habits of Singaporeans (e.g. what they would actually put in recycling bins) and whether they will be more motivated to recycle if the bins were much nearer their home (e.g. within the HDB block itself).

Excited? I am! 😀

More updates soon, I promise!

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4 responses »

  1. Neo Jing Ci says:

    Maybe the reason why people don’t conserve is because they have no connection with nature? Connection comes before conservation, people are not addressing the root cause with their conservation efforts. Why are people not even willing to walk a few blocks to recycle? Why are they easily deterred by inconvenience? Why are they not actively seeking measures to ensure convenience?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Jing Ci, thank you for dropping by at our blog. You’ve raised good questions that were some of the reasons why we started this blog. We hope to create some awareness and to show how composting (also a form of recycling) can be convenient, easy and gratifying. Recycling and composting have not been main points of concern in Singapore, and we believe these are partly due to other pressing needs since Singapore’s conception. Singapore is also a relatively young nation (we are after all less than 50 years old). However all these will change, especially in view of climate change and shifting importance/focus on sustainability. We remain optimistic! 🙂

  2. Neo Jing Ci says:

    Why compost though? Recycling I can understand, it helps conserve limited resources. But we can just buy soil if we want to grow plants. Does composting help the environment or is it just a fun project?

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Jing Ci, thank you for getting in touch with us again. We apologise for the delayed response as we’ve been fully occupied with our jobs—amongst other things!

    Based on our experience of composting at home over the past years, it has been fun, rewarding and good for the environment 🙂 Composting is a natural process that turns organic waste back into humus (a form of soil or fertiliser), which can be added back into the ground as nutrients for growing plants.

    Therefore, what we do at home is recycle raw kitchen scraps, old newspaper, cereal boxes etc instead of throwing them away. We simply add some water, ensure the right mix of greens and browns, and wait for them to break down into soil / fertiliser again. Then, we’ll add the resulting mixture into our potted chilli plants, pandan, chilli padi etc.

    It has been an extremely rewarding experience which we are always very happy to share with readers like you! We hope to be able to post some of our composting updates on our blog again sometime soon 🙂

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