Towards reduced plastic waste

In the age of monumental advancements in technology, the anti-plastic movement has become a more discussed topic in the media, for good reason.

The abundance of plastic waste has become a normal occurrence in our daily lives. As of now, we haven’t figured out a simple way to get rid of plastic or reduce the usage at an equal rate as its consumption. This has caused an externality with its cost now borne by the earth and its inhabitants.

One of the roots of the problem is the excessive use of plastic in everyday life. It is our goal to change that.

Economics students in Meragang Sixth Form Centre (PTEM) were assigned to spread awareness among the students by gathering information and finding ways to help save the environment.

By doing surveys and studies of the students’ consumption of plastic in a typical day, there are roughly around 1,800 pieces of plastic being used every day in the school – a number that is a cause for concern.

ABOVE & BELOW: Economic students of PTEM brief their peers on plastic waste at the awareness booth. PHOTOS: PTEM

Students in a group photo

We also asked the students if they would agree to a change in the canteen’s utilities, such as using metal plates and cutlery instead of plastic ones. The results have been encouraging, with the students seem to be open to the ideas.

Armed with the data, we started our mission. We created digital fliers to be spread around social media and informed the students of our goals for Green Week. As of now, the students are advised to utilise the reusable options provided by the canteen instead of the disposable plastic packaging that were used before.

Most of our students had already started using their own refillable bottles even before the project started, but gratifyingly, the number seems to have increased since our drive began.

The results were so uplifting that at the end-of-year PTEM CCA Carnival 2019, we were prompted to create an awareness booth, providing free cupcakes and paper bags for the students to use while buying food during the carnival.

We were able to convince people to not ask for plastic lids for their cups and to go without a straw. In addition, we directed them to our booth where we shared harmful effect of plastic pollution to the environment. Our efforts seemed instantly rewarded in many cases, but it was not easy to convince everyone to decline the use of plastic.

We realised we need to reach a bigger audience to achieve greater results, but change takes time and we need to be patient. For the moment we are still happy to know that at the beginning of the year 2020, the change we made might just be monumental to future generations however small it may be.