Customers at 25 hawker centres in Singapore will soon be charged a fee if they don’t return their food trays

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Customers at 25 hawker centres will soon be charged a fee if they do not return their food trays at the tray return area. Customers are these hawker centres will be required to pay a deposit between S$0.50 and S$1 when they use a tray. This amount will be returned to them if they return their tray at the appropriate station.

This change is part of the new Automated Tray Return System (ATRS) that is being implemented at the 25 hawker centres, starting with Marsiling Mall Hawker Centre, which will charge 50 cents deposit per tray, and Bukit Merah Hawker Centre, which will charge a dollar for the same.

This move will supposedly allow cleaners to clean tables more quickly for the use of more customers.

Centralised Dishwashing Services (CDW) are also a new change that is being introduced at these hawker centres, where hawkers will be charge for dishwashing services at a centralised area according to the amount of dishware they use each day. Used dishware that is sent to the CDW area will be cleaned in an industrial-scale automated dishwashing machine.

In order to encourage hawkers to make use of the CDW services, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will pay for up to 70 per cent of operating costs for 2 years.

Both the ATRS and CDW services are being implemented after they were recommended by the Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee which was convened to lower hawkers’ workload and boost productivity in the face of manpower challenges in the industry.