Public response ‘overwhelming’ for Singapore’s first EcoBank

Collection drive exceeds fundraising target of S$40,000 as Singaporeans donate pre-loved items generously and help extend lifespans of books, toys and clothes.

EcoBank, a national initiative launched by media firm Eco-Business and Singapore’s eco-developer City Developments Ltd. (CDL), has raised nearly S$48,000 for disadvantaged women and children in Singapore - exceeding its target of S$40,000. 

Launched in support of the 50 For 50 initiative in Singapore, EcoBank kicked off on 26 December 2015 with a collection drive of pre-loved clothes, books and toys at seven CDL locations over two weeks. The items were then sorted and sold at a two-day Bazaar on 16 and 17 January at CDL’s City Square Mall. 

The ‘reduce and reuse for good’ initiative aimed to increase public awareness of waste reduction and sustainable consumption in Singapore. This was achieved through encouraging the public to extend the lease of daily items they no longer need by donating them, or by buying from the EcoBank Bazaar to reduce waste and raise funds for a good cause. 

The 50 For 50 project is a youth-led initiative that raises awareness and funds for needy charities.

More than 3,500 Singaporeans turned up for the Bazaar, buying the items from the collection. The total amount of funds raised came up to S$47,776, CDL said on Monday. This includes a pledge of S$10,000 by CDL to the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) - the beneficiary of EcoBank. It supports disadvantaged women and children in Singapore and also runs Star Shelter, the only secular refuge centre for victims of family violence. 

CDL’s contribution and funds raised from the Bazaar will be matched by the SIngapore government under the Community Chest’s dollar-for-dollar Care & Share movement. 

On Saturday, the opening of EcoBank was graced by guest-of-honour Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of Health.

Addressing the EcoBank crowd, Dr Khor noted that last year, Singapore generated 7.5 million tonnes of waste, which is 50 per cent more than what it generated a decade ago. At this rate, the city’s only landfill at Pulau Semakau will run out of space by 2035.

“The joint EcoBank project by CDL and Eco-Business is the first-of-its-kind in SIngapore, and is an example of a ground-up intiative that promotes the message of sustainable consumption,” she said. “Such outreach and enagement efforts will no doubt bring us closer to realising Singapore’s vision of a zero waste nation.” 

This vision was first unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2014 under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, which outlines a S$1.5 billion effort for Singapore to become a smart, eco-friendly city with a zero waste culture by 2030. 

Mr Grant Kelley, CDL’s chief executive officer, said public response to the call for donations was “overwhelming”.

“EcoBank is our latest outreach initiative serving many objectives. We hope to not only encourage waste reduction but also support the needy through the donations collected,” Kelley said. “Response has been overwhelming. Over the past three weeks, over 6,000 kilograms of pre-loved items were collected from seven CDL commercial and retail properties.” 

CDL employees, as well as volunteers from the partner organisations, also contributed more than 500 volunteer hours to sort and organise the collected items, as well as man the booths at the Bazaar. 

Jessica Cheam, founder and editor of Eco-Business, said that EcoBank enables consumers to reduce their waste footprint and contribute to a good cause. “Our traditional ‘take, make, dispose’ model (of consumption) needs to change to a circular one in which resources are circulated back to the economy and used for as long as possible.”

“EcoBank enables this, and combines it with a social cause,” she said. 

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