Thursday, 24 November 2016

Recycling - pursuing the last grain of rice

From a TODAY article:

‘Malls, hotels must look into improving efforts to reduce waste’

SINGAPORE — From hotels throwing out leftover food to shopping malls discarding paper and plastic packaging, such large commercial premises alone churned out about 302,000 tonnes of waste last year, taking up 4 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore...

From the data gathered, on an average day last year, a hotel room generated 3.87kg of waste, of which 0.26kg was recycled and the rest disposed of.
Likewise, malls generated 5.5kg of waste per square foot per year last year and 0.49kg was recycled while the rest was disposed of...

One way that malls and hotels here are helping to reduce waste is by recycling their used light bulbs, a practice adopted by Ikea furniture store and City Square Mall near Little India. 
Ikea goes further by extending this initiative to its customers, allowing them to discard light bulbs in its bins. [Wow. I can recycle my lightbulbs! Woohoo! Wait. My LED lightbulbs last 10 to 20 years... ] 
Crowne Plaza Hotel at Changi Airport recycles used soap bars and donates them to the underprivileged, while Jem mall in Jurong collects kitchen oil to be recycled into biofuel. It also uses a “digester”, a disposal system that turns food waste into water. 
Marina Bay Sands (MBS) uses food digesters as well, and donates excess food to charity body Food Bank Singapore instead of throwing it away. 
The casino-resort also distributes unused amenities such as shower gel and shampoo to its employees. 
Despite these efforts, MBS said that there are difficulties in executing sustainability programmes on such a “big scale”, given that it has operations in food and beverage, meetings and conventions, entertainment, retail and museum.
Comment online: 
Do you know the accompanying photo above (with a bulldozer in what looks like a landfill) is totally irrelevant and immaterial to Singapore? Have you seen our "landfill" at Pulau Semakau? Looks nothing like that. That photo is intended to evoke a visceral, emotive response. 

Did you read the article carefully? The alarming figure is that hotels and malls contributed 302,000 tonnes of waste last year! Alarming isn't it? Except for the next part "taking up 4 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore" (First paragraph)


What that means is that even if Hotels and Malls recycle 100% of their waste and produce NO waste at all, it would reduce the amount of waste produced by Singapore by.... (drumroll)... 4%.

Of course if you believe that every effort counts, and you run a hotel or a mall, you should do something about it.

Keep the image of the bulldozer and the generic landfill in mind as you pursue 100% recycling in the hotel and mall industry.

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