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    May 10, 2016

    Styrofoam packaging: No ban but hawkers urged not to use

    HAWKERS are being discouraged from using disposable plates, bowls and utensils made of polystyrene foam, better known as styrofoam, which are non-biodegradable and environmentally unfriendly.

    But the Government will not impose a ban on them, in view of factors such as the cost of alternatives and inconvenience to hawkers and consumers, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor told Parliament yesterday.

    Other types of disposable ware, such as plastic containers and coated paper boxes, cost about two to three times more than the clamshell polystyrene foam packaging, she added.

    She was responding to a question from Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC) on whether the National Environment Agency will consider imposing a ban on the use of styrofoam packaging at hawker centres.

    Dr Khor noted that the use of reusable crockery is more cost-effective than using styrofoam packaging, even after taking into account the costs of manual collection and washing.

    However, there may be manpower constraints.

    The Government is working to discourage hawkers, through the hawker associations, from using disposable ware, Dr Khor said, particularly for dining in.

    She pointed out that polystyrene foam packaging is incinerated safely in Singapore at waste-to-energy incineration plants, which are fitted with pollution control equipment.