In the first episode of my recently launched podcast, I kind of ranted about the blue bins in the National Recycling Programme that Singapore has. My major gripe was that the system for blue bins which was completely open access and operated by riding on the back of the public waste collection system was designed to fail because by seeking to include everyone, it made securing a clean stream of recyclables harder.
I noted that an alternative system where people sign up to gain access to the blue bin, and pledge to abide by the ‘rules’ of using the blue bins could do better. They could pledge the following:
- they will use the blue bin only for recycleables allowed,
- they will ensure the items are cleaned and ready for recycling,
- they will only access the blue bin themselves,
- they will ensure the blue bin is locked after their use,
- they will not deposit into the blue bin when it is full or when they note it is contaminated
Friends at Upcircle has shown that by giving assurance to people who care and show up for the environment that you are able to deal with the recyclables properly, you can actually obtain good quality post-consumer recyclable stream. By preventing those who doesn’t care about recycling from taking part in pseudo-recycling by their own terms, we can actually do better.
Recycling better by excluding people isn’t exactly the best narrative to the ears but in due course, that can actually change the culture.