It was a rare sight – despite the dwindling amount of food left on the catered food table, the disposable utensils were left almost completely untouched. There were also no black trash bags filled with plastic single-use utensils. The conference was a unique one, attended by environment-conscious advocates who fervently practised what they preached, to further their goal of loving the earth.
In conjunction with World Cleanup Day 2018, the Inaugural Sustainability Conference 2018 that happened on 28 July was the first major event organised by Kindred Community. The event attracted many participants and eco-activists from various walks of life. The crowd was a close-knit community where students and working professionals bonded effortlessly over their passion for caring for the environment. The highlight of the event was the insightful talk given by keynote speaker Mr Pal Martensson, a Zero Waste Expert. Mr Martensson has been in the waste management industry for over two decades, and has been active in the Zero Waste movement for over 15 years. The creator behind the first eco-park in the world, Mr Martensson is also a member of the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). He has participated in clean-up movements in more than 30 countries, educating people about Zero Waste implementation skills and strategies.
During the Sustainability Conference with the theme of “Beyond a Clean and Green Singapore”, Mr Martensson spoke engagingly about what waste is, what the elements that make up a Zero Waste system are, and how we can work towards the goal of Zero Waste. Over the past 40 years in Singapore, waste disposed has increased a staggering seven-fold – approximately 7.23 million tonnes of waste were generated in 2019. This amount is almost enough to fill 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools! To nip the problem in the bud and work towards a zero-waste lifestyle, we can always fall-back on the trusty three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reducing our consumption of materials may not be as hard as we think, especially with single-use plastics. Do we really need that straw, or can we drink directly from the cup? When we visit the bakery, can we avoid using clear plastic bags that will probably end up in the bin in a matter of minutes? By arming ourselves with reusable bottles, snack bags or containers, by inchmeal we can work towards victory.
The conference proceeded with a panel discussion, featuring enthusiastic members from Trash Hero, a global volunteer movement that brings communities together to clean and reduce waste. The conference concluded with a networking session where participants mingled and exchanged views on environmental issues over light food and drinks in reusable containers, cutleries and cups.
Many environmental issues continue to plague our homeland, but we at Kindred Community believe that with every effort taken, no matter how small, it will be less of a burden for our earth and our future generations to bear.