With its colourblock facade and clean, brightly-lit interior, it almost feels like you’re stepping into a convenience store — except this isn’t one. Instead, The [Not-So] Convenience Store is a conceptual space that does away with easy use-and-throw items; what you’ll find are eco-friendly ware and thoughtful, sustainable alternatives, all in a bid to challenge our “culture of convenience”.
With reusable bags, metal straws, bamboo toothbrushes and more on the shelves, it last opened back in 2019, but is back for a limited run from 25 January to 30 March, at the National Design Centre.
”Convenience is a big part of modern life; unfortunately, so are its effects. Globally, the volume of waste exceeds 2 billion tonnes every year. Singapore alone generated over 7 million tonnes in 2019, enough to fill more than 14,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools,” says Astri Nursalim, Creative Director at Kinetic Singapore, the agency behind the store concept. ”With The [Not-So] Convenience Store, we want to tell people that there is a price to convenience — and it is being borne by the Earth.”
First commissioned by Temasek Shophouse in 2019, this second edition is also supported by the DesignSingapore Council, and sees an expanded range of items. The store’s a welcome reminder of how mindful we can be in our daily lives, since eco-friendly alternatives are displayed instead. These are categorised into four main categories — electronics waste, food waste, household product waste and plastic waste.
Reusables may be more “inconvenient” since they require washing, but if you’re looking to cut down on single-use items, sandwich bags and reusable lunchboxes may be small steps we can make to reduce waste. There are also compost bins for food waste; DIY toolkits so we can extend the shelf life of our home appliances and devices; even menstrual cups. Do note that these items are not for sale at the store, though there are QR codes you can scan that will lead you to the item’s product page.
You may also donate a bunch of items at the store — either drop off clean reusable bags, which will be distributed to shoppers to cut down on retail packaging, or bring along your old electronic items for e-waste recycling. In addition to these, certain sections of the store feature educational boards that touch on recycling dos and don’ts, as well as showcase eco-friendly local businesses.
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The [Not-So] Convenience Store, from 25 January – 30 March 2021, at the National Design Centre. Open daily, including public holidays, from 9am – 9pm.