Don’t leave your reusable bag at home!
By Patricia Wong
Over the last month, youths in Kuching rallied together to promote environmental awareness in secondary schools, shopping malls, and on Swinburne University’s campus in conjunction with the ASEAN Reusable Bag Campaign (RBC).
The campaign in Kuching had three focus activities: Reusable Bag Goes to School, Reusable Bag Goes to Campus, and Shopping with Reusable Bag.
The Reusable Bag Goes to School activity was carried out in three secondary schools- SMK St Joseph, St Joseph’s Private School, and SMK St Thomas- with a total of 300 students.
Focusing on student-centred learning, the workshop incorporated different elements to ensure that environmental education could be delivered in a fun and memorable way while also being flexible in its delivery to adapt to different age groups and time frames.
At the end of the workshop, students did not just walk away with environmental knowledge, but also learnt to work in teams and to speak in public. The highlight of the school workshop was usually the one-minute videos which students had to prepare. In the videos, you will see students unleashing their creative juices to increase awareness on various environmental issues, from deforestation to land reclamation.
The Reusable Bag Goes to Campus activity was initiated at Swinburne University in collaboration with the university’s student council. A project planning workshop saw participants work in groups to design projects addressing environmental issues in the university.
There were a total of four project ideas pitched during the workshop, each serving to address different issues on campus such as waste production of plastic bottles and tin cans, over usage of papers, and take away habits of using Styrofoam boxes and plastic bags.
The winning idea will get to work closely with the university’s student council to implement their project in Swinburne University with assistance from the RBC team in Kuching.
Shopping with Reusable Bag saw the team going into Boulevard Shopping Mall and CityONE Megamall to get support from the public and gauge their response towards a No Plastic Bag Day in Kuching.
Although there is already such an initiative in the city, yet, implementation and enforcement has been lacking from supermarkets and the authorities. One of the main concerns of shoppers regarding the introduction of a No Plastic Bag Day is the lack of alternatives.
Without the habit of bringing along reusable bags, shoppers tend to not remember to bring along their bags on No Plastic Bag Days. Hence, alternative measures- such as boxes and reusable bags- should be introduced at supermarkets, instead of just charging extra for plastic bags.
We hope to be able to bring together and get support from all stakeholders to agree upon an implementation plan in order for the No Plastic Bag Day in Kuching to be successful as it has been in other cities across Malaysia.
The first month of ASEAN Reusable Bag Campaign activities had been a success thanks to the support from various people and institutions. We will be looking forward to more impactful activities in the upcoming months!