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Treat the Blue Recycling Bin Right

Treat the Blue Recycling Bin Right: No Mooncake Boxes Please!

With Mid-Autumn Festival round the corner, retailers are coming up with ever more extravagant packaging to entice consumers to purchase their mooncakes.

While these boxes make for pretty gifts, the elaborate packaging generate more waste which is harmful for the environment.

This problem of excessive packaging that cannot be recycled is not confined to Mid-Autumn Festival. On various occasions where gifts are exchanged, whether it is Valentine’s Day or Christmas, packaging waste will be generated.

The more elaborate the packaging, the less likely it can be recycled. The glossy laminate and the decorative ribbons, metal studs or tassels all make recycling impossible. All that has only one place to go: straight into the incinerator.

In fact, packaging waste contributes to a third of the 1.8 million tonnes of domestic waste generated last year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment!

Repurpose or re-use where possible

Although you cannot recycle mooncake boxes or fancy packaging, with some creativity, you can repurpose them for other uses.

They can double up as serving trays or for keeping small items, from jewellery to sewing kits to stationery.

Or, turn them into pretty lanterns! Some can even be reused as bags.

Pretty mooncake boxes getting a second lease of life as containers to store treats and organise small items.

The right way to recycle

You can do your bit for the nation’s greening effort — for the past two years, only about 13% of Singapore’s domestic waste gets recycled. 

Learn what can go into the blue recycling bins and what gets recycled.

For example, consumers may conveniently deposit paper, plastics, glass and metals into the blue bin, assuming they will all be recycled. But many are not aware that only certain types of paper, plastics, glass and metals can be recycled. According to data given by the National Environment Agency, up to 40% of contents found in recycling bins cannot be recycled currently due to contamination from other non-recyclable products, including food and liquid waste. By identifying and placing only recyclable items into the recycling bins, consumers can do their bit to make sure everyone’s recycling efforts are not in vain.

Check against these charts from the National Environment Agency before you head for the Bloobin!