Zero Waste SG: New Community Initiative to Help Senior Citizens #RecycleMore

Zero Waste SG: New Community Initiative to Help Senior Citizens #RecycleMore
Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore, Lions Befrienders, and Zero Waste SG, together with seniors of Lions Befrienders and Guest of Honour, Mr. Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary of MCCY and MSF at the Let’s Recycle Together community recycling programme launch event.

Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore, Zero Waste SG, and Lions Befrienders join hands to empower seniors with recycling knowledge and enable them to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

While Singapore pledges towards a Zero Waste Nation, the latest statistics from the National Environment Agency (NEA) showed that the domestic recycling rate in 2022 fell to 12 per cent – the lowest in over a decade. Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Singapore, Zero Waste SG, and Lions Befrienders recognise that everyone has a role in reducing waste, and help should be offered to demographics requiring more support in taking action to meet the national goal of achieving a 30 per cent household recycling rate in 2030.

With Singapore facing an ageing population, it is vital to keep seniors holistically engaged and enable them to be active contributors to the nation’s ambition of becoming a green and sustainable city. The newly launched community recycling programme under Zero Waste SG’s ‘Let’s Recycle Together’ movement sees corporate and non-profit organisations co-creating solutions to drive education and action on recycling among the silver generation. The community recycling programme is customised to help seniors aged 60 and above with physical constraints and target neighbourhoods with a higher proportion of elderly.

“Singapore is facing an inevitable silver tsunami, and we see the growing importance of engaging seniors in environmental conservation efforts. Sustainability is an integral part of our business, and we believe in mobilising like-minded partners to raise the bar in supporting the UN SDGs and accelerating efforts to enhance the social agenda. Through the partnership with Zero Waste SG and Lions Befrienders, we are a step closer to bringing the community closer together to protect the environment,” said Patricia Lee, Corporate Affairs Director at APB Singapore.

The community recycling programme will start with a 3-month pilot campaign at Mei Ling Street in the Queenstown estate, with the ambition of scaling the programme to more estates in Singapore and, increasing the recycling rate and driving the habit of recycling among seniors. From August to November, Zero Waste SG will conduct various educational talks and DIY workshops at Lion Befrienders’ Active Ageing Centre to empower seniors with the knowledge to #RecycleMore and #RecycleRight. On alternate Wednesday mornings, volunteers from Lions Befrienders, APB Singapore and like-minded organisations will provide door-to-door recycling collections at 11 blocks in the estate, reaching approximately 1,000 seniors. The collected recyclables would be picked up by local recyclers EnvCares and Abraclean.

“Zero Waste SG is happy to partner up on this initiative, which aligns with our core outreach focus on household recycling. We hope to see if door-to-door collection and just as importantly better sorting of waste will help drive up recycling rates in the community, and from there consider different ways of nudging behaviours to recycle more,” said Steve Tunstall, Board Director of Zero Waste SG.

According to the Population in Brief Report 2022, approximately 25 per cent of Singapore’s population is predicted to be 65 and older by 2030. Engaging senior citizens in recycling activities provides them with opportunities for meaningful participation and involvement in their communities. It cultivates a sense of environmental stewardship, creates a more sustainable society, and allows them to leave a positive legacy for generations to come.

“We are heartened to see different fabrics of the society coming together to empower seniors to incorporate recycling into their lifestyles. By visiting our seniors more often and putting in place a community recycling programme, it helps foster a sense of purpose, social connection, and continued contribution, which can enhance their overall well-being and quality of life,” said Karen Wee, Executive Director, Lions Befrienders.

This programme is in support of the National Environment Agency’s Recycle Right programme.