National University of Singapore

Since August 2009, Styrofoam takeaway food boxes in NUS canteens have been replaced with the more eco-friendly Microwave Packaging food boxes which are certified with Green Label Singapore.

This is an initiative started by Students Against Violation of the Earth (SAVE),which the Office of Estate Development (OED) – Retail and Dining has agreed enthusiastically and supported the implementation throughout NUS canteens. All 5 NUS canteens - Frontier, TechnoEdge, The Terrace, The Deck and Central Square - are part of this green initiative, although not every stall has switched to using these green label boxes due to certain packaging constraints.

Why are Microwave Packaging boxes more environmentally friendly?

Supplied by GFood Packaging (M) Sdn Bhd, these non toxic and non Styrofoam boxes are made from renewable fibre, this is a much more environmentally sustainable source of raw materials as compared to Styrofoam packaging which are made from non renewable fossil fuel.

Microwave Packaging boxes are also biodegradable; hence they are better for the environment as compared to Styrofoam boxes which practically lasts forever without breaking down.

It is not an excuse to not use your own takeaway containers

One should note that up to 90% of municipal solid waste in Singapore is being incinerated. Even though these Microwave Boxes are biodegradable and are hence environmentally friendly, this environmentally friendly characteristic do not apply in Singapore’s context.

That is, switching to biodegradable boxes alone would not suffice. Rather, avoid takeaways or use reusable takeaway boxes will be more environmentally sustainable. Consider ProjectBOX by SAVE which rewards you for bringing your own reusable containers.

Although the Microwave Packaging Pte Ltd states that the boxes are reusable after washing, we do not expect most users to be doing so. These Microwave packaging boxes are also recyclable – that is you can recycle it after finishing your food. However, please note that you should rinse the box first before recycling it as paper because remaining food on the packaging boxes will contaminate the better grades of paper that are being collected in the recycling bins.


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