31% of Singaporeans cited hygiene reasons for buying plastic bottled water: Survey

Many consumers reportedly disregard worsening environmental issues, exacerbating the region's ongoing plastic pollution crisis.

Maisy Phua

Self-proclaimed fashion icon, pomeranian mom and Paris Hilton fan.

Published: 5 June 2023, 3:32 PM

A total of 3,500 respondents were surveyed by Southeast Asian consumer research firm Milieu Insight to understand the prevalence of single-use plastic bottles.

The survey aims to better understand how policymakers and organisations can help foster a greater culture of recycling plastic water bottles.

Findings published on Jun 1 showed that the persistent consumption of single-use plastic bottled water across Southeast Asia is prevalent, with 21 per cent in the region purchasing them as their primary source of water consumption. 

In addition, many consumers reportedly disregard worsening environmental issues, exacerbating the region’s ongoing plastic pollution crisis. 

The study found that Singapore was among the countries with the lowest rates of purchasing plastic bottled water as their main source of water consumption in the region, highlighting its lower levels of reliance on plastic bottled water.

However, this “lower level” is still a cause for concern – despite having clean tap water, 31 per cent of Singaporeans cited a fear of tap water hygiene issues as a reason for consuming single-use plastic bottled water.

The study also found that on a regional level, the top three factors for not recycling were the lack of easily accessible recycling bins, chutes, or areas (44 per cent), insufficient storage space for recyclables (43 per cent), and a habit of disposing rather than recycling (35 per cent). 

In Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, the inaccessibility of recycling bins or chutes was the primary reason for not recycling single-use plastic bottles.

The study also highlights that the majority of Singaporean respondents (84 per cent) acknowledge that the consumption of single-use plastic bottled water has a substantial environmental impact.

Respondents also indicated that carrying one’s own water bottle to reduce purchases of bottled water (79 per cent) was the most popular when asked what they would be willing to do to minimise single-use plastic bottles.

These findings reflect a growing consciousness and highlights the willingness of Southeast Asians to embrace sustainable practices.  

In efforts to make recycling convenient for households and raise awareness among residents on the benefits of recycling,  the National Environment Agency (NEA) recently launched a Recycle Right campaign earlier this year.

Every residential household in Singapore was encouraged to collect a free home recycling box, known as a Bloobox, to help kickstart their own home recycling efforts.

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