Reminders help to instil turn-return habit at food centres
Putting up more reminders may prompt more people to return their trays at food centres.
At two hawker centres, reminders to return food trays - emblazoned on banners, tables and even aprons worn by cleaners - have had good results, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor yesterday.
At Zion Riverside Food Centre, four months after these reminders were introduced in March last year, more customers returned their trays and dirty cutlery to designated tray-return stations.
From a daily average of five in 10, the return rate went up to seven in 10, based on an assessment last year by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.
The rate of tray return has also improved at Adam Food Centre in Adam Road, going from 9 per cent in July last year to 51 per cent in November.
Dr Khor said her ministry plans to introduce such behavioural cues at more hawker centres, starting with Marsiling Mall and Bukit Merah Central food centres.
She said that inculcating a tray-return habit can ease the work of cleaners, allow for faster turnover of tables and improve hygiene.
A common misconception is that encouraging people to return their trays may deprive cleaners of their jobs, said Dr Khor, but this was not the case.
"Cleaning companies cannot hire enough cleaners, and existing cleaners have difficulty coping with clearing crockery and cleaning the tables, particularly during peak hours," she said.
- SAMANTHA BOH