Tray return initiative faces resistance

Winifred Wong

The tray return initiative started by the National Environment Agency (NEA) in March this year has met some resistance.

A Facebook page named “Say NO to Tray Return Singapore” was set up on 19 May this year and has garnered close to 300 likes.

According to the “About” section of the Facebook page, tray return “robs patrons of service” and “only benefits for (sic) operators”.

One of the reasons cited against the initiative is that cleaners will lose their jobs.

Asked by Yahoo! Singapore whether it is a reflection of social graciousness that patrons are clearing their own trays, one of the organisers of the Facebook page responded that they feel it is more socially gracious for cleaners to clear the trays, and in doing so provide better service to patrons.

“If customers are expected to do everything, there must be a price benefit for them, since they are made to serve themselves throughout,” said Roland Yuen, spokesperson of the movement.

The latest post on the page is a call to action for supporters of the “Say NO to Tray Return” movement to post “creative” videos that are “witty” and “funny”. Selected submissions will win vouchers, it said.

The organisers have received 3 videos to date, including a rap video. The videos will be posted on the Facebook page late next month.

The page was set up on the same day NEA announced that 17 major food vendors had joined the tray return initiative, which includes a commitment from outlets to set aside counters to which patrons can return trays.

These vendors include food court operators like Kopitiam and Koufu, and fast-food outlets like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Burger King.

NEA hopes that the movement will encourage patrons to return their trays as an act of social graciousness.

The NEA also believes that the movement will help cleaners increase their efficiency, emphasising that the initiative would not affect the job security of cleaners.

Related stories:
Top 8 hawker food centres taxi drivers patronise
Singapore ‘lunchtime hero’ skips daily meals to bring food to needy
Fish oil found to slow down effects of junk food on the brain