Recycling enthusiasts awarded for innovative ideas

KOH SWEE FANG VALERIE Today Online 19 Dec 16;

SINGAPORE — While at the supermarket, Mdm Goh Bong Yeo, 83, often receives compliments for her shopping trolley made from recycled drink cartons.

It took her two to three months to collect, wash and cut up around 100 empty cartons, which she then tied onto an old trolley frame to transform it into her shopping trolley.

Yesterday, Mdm Goh won a consolation prize at the annual Central Singapore Upcycling Contest.

“I’m very happy. I always get people asking me where I get my trolley from — it can even contain a five-kilogramme packet of rice,” she said.

She first ventured into recycling about two years ago, after her daughter encouraged her to learn a new skill, instead of idling at home.

The pair have since made handbags and laundry bags out of recycled materials found at home.

“My daughter taught me how to make these items. She said we shouldn’t waste things,” said Mdm Goh.

Ms Denise Phua, mayor of Central Singapore District, urged residents to practise repurposing old objects and breathing new life into them.

“Personally, it aligns with my own values and our district’s values that we should try to make our lifestyles simpler and to reduce or eliminate wastage as much as possible (in) a society that is underlined by quite a lot of consumerism, a society that is going for a lot more better and newer things,” Ms Phua told reporters after giving out prizes to contest winners.

The top prize went to Ms Saumya Sahi Kumar and Ms Nituna Kanodia, both 34, for their serving tray made of old photo frames, wine bottle corks and discarded tiles. The two women, who are college friends, said they went from restaurant to restaurant to ask for bottle corks.

It took them about a week to collect the materials, refine the design and construct the tray.

They had started talking about recycling years ago but only got down to committing themselves to it about four months back, said Ms Saumya, who added that they sometimes rummage through garbage to find unwanted gems.

“Trends come and go a lot. But all the stuff that people are throwing out — we could actually do something with them,” said Ms Nituna. VALERIE KOH