Recycling Week, which started as Recycling Day in 2004, is a key Clean and Green Singapore event organized by National Environment Agency (NEA) in partnership with the Public Waste Collectors (PWCs), schools, Town Councils, National Library Board, the People’s Association and grassroots organizations.
This year, a series of activities were organized between 4 to 11 Jun to spread the 3R message with three community outreach events held on 11 Jun at Toa Payoh Central, Bukit Batok East Point and Chong Pang Community Club to wrap up Recycling Week 2011.
With support from Bukit Batok Town Council, the Bukit Batok East Point Recycling Week event was hosted by Colex Holdings, the public waste collector of the neighhourhood to promote recycling awareness.
Being one of Tzu Chi Foundation’s long-term partners in community recycling, Colex Holdings highly recognized Tzu Chi's efforts in reducing the amount of trash and cordially invited Tzu Chi to set up an educational exhibit at the event to help raise environmental awareness among the neighbourhood dwellers.
On 11 Jun, the volunteers arrived at the venue at 7.30am to set up the exhibit. They put up eye-catching posters and even props hoping to attract the residents; a special corner was also designated for the display of eco-friendly garments and cutlery developed by Da Ai Technology and Jing Si Publication.
As the main organizer, Colex Holdings prepared various interesting activities suitable for people of all ages like the recycled art competition and children’s colouring contest in hope that the residents would have a fun-filled and meaningful weekend.
Besides Tzu Chi, there were several other organizations that strived to promote environmental protection in their creative ways, among which was a book exchange activity planned by a group of secondary school students.
Many residents who passed by Bukit Batok East Point that day were curious to know what was happening under the tents. Attracted by the colourful posters, many residents stopped by Tzu Chi's exhibit and listened to Tzu Chi volunteers’ explanation on the ideas and concepts of eco-living.
The pithy recycling slogan of “Ping, Ping, Guan, Guan, Zhi, Dian, 1, 3, 5, 7” which means “(plastic) Bottles, (glass) Bottles, (aluminium) Cans, (iron) Cans, Paper, Electrical Appliances, Garments, 3C (Computers/Communications/Consumer) products, Ironware, and Others” was well-received by the residents because it was simple and easy to remember yet fun to learn.
Although many local households are giving away their recyclable items to the PWC, some residents still know little of the rationale behind recycling.
After learning from the volunteers that recycling helps prolong the lifespan of landfills and saves energy, the residents found themselves relating more to the need to recycle and the importance of keeping an eco-conscious lifestyle. Some were surprised that they could help the environment even by just recycling a piece of receipt or a drink can. Some who identified with Tzu Chi's recycling endeavour decided to become part of Tzu Chi's community recycling force.
At the Da Ai Technology corner, many residents could be seen touching and feeling the texture of the eco-garments developed by Da Ai Technology Co. Ltd, a company established and run in Taiwan by five Tzu Chi entrepreneurs with profits channelled toward Tzu Chi’s charitable work.
While holding a piece of T-shirt produced from recycled PET bottles, a resident said it was his first time seeing clothes made from plastic. "It's amazing to see trashed plastic bottles being turned into clothes."
After a busy day, nearly 30 volunteers who participated in the event went home with joy knowing that they had inspired many residents to join the force in protecting the environment.