Opening Remarks by Mr Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Premiere of the “Road to Zero” Youth Sustainability Film Programme, on 22 November 2022
Ladies and gentlemen,
1 It is my pleasure to join you at the premiere of the “Road to Zero” youth sustainability film programme. This initiative was launched by the National Environment Agency (NEA) in collaboration with Viddsee and our supporting partners under the Youth for Environmental Sustainability programme. It supports budding young filmmakers to create meaningful films on zero waste, with the aim to spark conversations and encourage advocacy on sustainable living in Singapore.
Our Road Towards Zero Waste
2 Singapore’s ambition is to be a zero waste nation. In 2019, we launched the Zero Waste Masterplan to map out our key strategies to transition our linear ‘take-use-throw’ economy, to a circular one where we reuse and recycle, as well as produce and consume sustainably.
3 So, how are we working towards our ambition? The Government will lead the change with our policies. Let me share some examples.
- We introduced the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework for e-waste in July 2021. Under this framework, producers, manufacturers and importers are responsible for the collection and the end-of-life management of the products they put on the market.
- Next, we will be implementing the proposed Beverage Container Return Scheme as part of the first phase of the EPR framework to manage packaging waste. We want to encourage the return of clean and high-quality recyclables, to enable a circular economy where resources are recovered to be used for as long as possible.
- The last example I will share was announced earlier this March. We will be implementing a disposable carrier bag charge from mid-2023. By making the cost of the bag visible to consumers, we hope individuals will consider what they really need, instead of taking bags freely.
4 Our transition to a zero waste nation cannot be effected by the Government’s efforts alone. It is a collective endeavour, requiring support and collaboration from businesses and our community. Businesses, for instance, can look at ways to lower their resource footprint, redesign their processes into circular operational models, as well as adopt sustainable packaging for their products. As consumers, we all play an important role too. We have the power to drive change in the marketplace when we demand for more sustainable goods and services, and support businesses that produce or provide such products.
5 Our individual actions matter as well, and we can make a difference by adjusting our everyday lifestyles. We can start by adopting sustainable habits – bringing our own reusables and recycling right. We can also make conscious purchases, buying only when we really need the item. For instance, do we really need to buy the latest phone models when they are released, or have a closet full of clothes that we hardly wear?
6 Today, our youths can take part in various programmes to drive sustainable action.
- Hackathons such as the National Youth Council’s (NYC) Youth Action Challenge, as well as the DBS Foundation and NEA’s Hungry for Change Challenge empower youths to pilot innovative solutions on sustainability issues, including reducing food waste.
- Our partners also provide avenues for the community to adopt sustainable practices. Cloop, for example, has set up more than 30 textile recycling bins across Singapore and organises clothes swap sessions for members of the public to participate in. Stridy’s litter-picking app allows users to track the impact they have made and organise group litter-picking activities.
- If you would like to start your own zero waste initiative that involves the community, you can tap on NYC’s Young Changemakers Grant or the SG Eco Fund. In fact, Stridy was supported by the SG Eco Fund.
7 On this note, I would like to invite all of you to make a Green Nation pledge. Your pledge will help ensure that Singapore remains a green, liveable, and climate-resilient home for all of us. Please encourage your family and friends to pledge for a greener Singapore. Collectively, we can achieve a lot more.
Exploring Zero Waste Through Film
8 As we talk about taking actions to reduce waste, the impact of the waste we generate may not be quite so visible in our everyday lives. Initiatives like the “Road to Zero” youth sustainability film programme help to highlight the waste issue that we face. By sharing interesting perspectives on waste and its relation to our everyday lives, our young filmmakers help us to reflect on our consumption habits and the waste we generate.
9 I am very encouraged by the projects developed and produced by our young filmmakers, who were mentored by three experienced local documentary filmmakers. Let me share more about these film projects.
- Kah Jing is the co-founder of OKJ Works. His film, “Left Wandering”, adopts a comedic documentary concept to discuss the issue of disposables, while prompting us to think about the waste we generate in our daily lives.
- Weiqi is a freelance writer and director. Her film, “The Second Life of Second Hand Objects”, discusses freecycling and upcycling, and how we can give used items a second life to reduce waste.
- Chantelle is an Assistant Producer at Abundant Productions. Her film, “How to have fun while reducing food waste!”, follows the perspective of a food volunteer who whips up a delicious meal with “ugly” food in a fun way.
10 To broaden the young filmmakers’ insights into the waste management landscape in Singapore, NEA and Viddsee organised learning journeys with our partners. The filmmakers visited places that are often out of sight to the public, such as Chye Thiam Maintenance’s material recovery facility. I thank our partners for availing their premises, sharing what they do, how they are playing an important role in the landscape of waste management and recycling, as well as NEA’s main collaborating partner, FairPrice Group, for sponsoring this programme.
11 Let me conclude. As youths, you are the leaders of our future. You are conceptualising and delivering messages that are more relatable to your generation, and the next generation. You are empowered to make positive changes to protect our environment, for your generation, and future generations. We look forward to even more partners joining the Youth for Environmental Sustainability programme, to empower our youths to take meaningful action and rally their communities to champion a more sustainable future.