Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Disposables in Hawker Centres, on 3 Feb 2020

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources with regard to the Zero Waste Masterplan (a) whether the Ministry is aware of the number of hawkers and stalls that are providing only disposable utensils for dine-in customers; and (b) whether there are measures or plans to encourage and ensure that these hawkers and stalls introduce reusable utensils for dine-in customers. 

Reply by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:

1. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has been working with stakeholders to reduce the use of disposables at hawker centres managed by NEA. NEA has disallowed their usage for dine-in meals at all 7 new hawker centres, and at 5 existing hawker centres which have adopted the use of common crockery and centralised dishwashing services under the Productive Hawker Centres programme. In addition, from September 2018, NEA does not allow new cooked food stallholders who commence their tenancies at existing hawker centres to provide disposables to patrons for dine-in meals. NEA works closely with the Hawkers’ Associations and our appointed operators to ensure that these stallholders do not use disposables for dine-in meals. NEA does not collect statistics on the number of stalls that provide disposable utensils for dine-in customers.

2. NEA is actively engaging the remaining stallholders to phase out the use of disposables for dine-in meals. Some concerns that stallholders commonly cite are the cost of reusable crockery and the cost of manpower required to wash crockery. On this front, we are working to introduce centralised dishwashing services at more hawker centres, and we have a grant scheme in place to defray some of the costs. We will continue to engage stallholders through the Hawkers’ Associations to encourage them to switch to reusables.

3. At the national level, NEA launched the “Say YES to Waste Less” campaign in June 2019 to raise awareness of the impact of excessive consumption of disposables and the need for reduction. We are heartened that over 59 partners, covering more than 1,600 premises ranging from retailers, food and beverage establishments to supermarkets and hotels, have come forward to partner NEA in this endeavour.

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