Emission impossible: Pre-loved goods sold to benefit needy and reduce waste

Gracia Lee Straits Times 3 Mar 18;

SINGAPORE - An annual drive to collect "pre-loved" goods such as clothing, toys, books and accessories pulled in its biggest haul yet this year.

This weekend, the items went on sale to the public at City Square Mall with the aim of benefiting disadvantaged children - and the environment.

EcoBank collected more than 17,500kg of second-hand goods which, had they been sent to the incinerator, would have produced 7,012 tonnes of carbon emissions - equal to what is produced from 1,121 homes in one year.

The total was up from 10,770kg last year and 6,100kg in 2016, when the initiative began.

The public donated the items at eight collection points across Singapore.

The weekend-long sale, organised by sustainability firm Eco-Business and property giant City Developments (CDL), aimed to encourage conscious consumption and raise awareness of waste generation.

All proceeds from the bazaar will be donated to the six charities under The Children's Charities Association of Singapore, while unsold items will be passed on to the association and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their fund-raising efforts.

Singapore produced 7.81 million tonnes of rubbish in 2016, up from 7.67 million tonnes in 2015, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Giving a speech at the bazaar's official opening ceremony on Saturday (March 3), Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor, the guest of honour, said reducing waste will help to decrease emissions and combat climate change.

She added that initiatives such as EcoBank are important and support the Year of Climate Action 2018, a national awareness campaign.

Fashion 3R, a sister initiative that aims to spread awareness about sustainable fashion and the true cost of consumption, was also launched at the opening ceremony.

Jointly organised by CDL, the NEA, Eco-Business, NGO Connected Threads Asia and the Raffles College of Higher Education, the initiative has conducted several activities, including a showcase and sale of outfits "upcycled" by students of the Raffles College of Higher Education.

Fashion 3R will also hold an upcycling workshop by local textile artist Agatha Lee on Sunday at the Singapore Sustainability Academy. Upcycling involves using discarded items to produce something of higher value.

Paramedic Patrick Chua, 39, who volunteered to tend the premium items booth at EcoBank, said about $600 worth of items were sold at the booth in three hours.

Meanwhile, Ms Dianna Ella, 33, an administrator at a property company, spent about $50 at the bazaar. She said: "The clothes are quite on trend, and at least I'm spending on something with a purpose."