Consumer works to avoid disposables with own utensils

Low Li Ping Today Online 30 Apr 18;

Since January, Miss Khee Shihui has avoided using more than 200 single-use disposable utensils, straws, plates, bowls, cups and takeaway boxes - all made from plastic and styrofoam.

The 35-year-old freelance facilitator does so by bringing reusable utensils such as cups and lunchbox wherever she goes.

As @tabaogirl on Instagram, she regularly posts about her successes and failures at avoiding disposables.

It all started last May when she found out about the frightening extent of coral bleaching, caused by global warming, on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

In her journey to zero waste, she has received mixed responses from food and beverage (F&B) businesses here.

REJECTED

Workers at one place once rejected her request to put the cold drink in her own cup for fear that she would complain on social media that she received "less quantity", Miss Khee told The New Paper.

But she has also encountered accommodating workers at F&B outlets who have even offered to help wash her containers.

Local halal F&B chain Stuff'd started allowing customers to use their own containers from last month.

Previously, it did not allow that due to the possibility of cross contamination.

Mr Chin Zheng, a customer service officer at Stuff'd, said: "Since then, we reached out to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) again for clarification, and they reassured us that as long the containers are clean, dry and empty, food can be packed into them."

Ms Sandra Zhang, 45, a project manager at Food from the Heart, a non-profit organisation that distributes food to the needy, said hawkers have never rejected her request to use her own containers.

"Some remember my special requests when I bring my own food containers," she said.

"It is such a shame to throw away plastic food containers that have only been used for less than an hour but took so much more time and resources to make." - LOW LI PING

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