2008 Waste Statistics and Current Waste Situation in Singapore (Part One)

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

The latest 2008 waste statistics for Singapore can be found at the National Environment Agency’s website. Together with previous waste data from the NEA’s annual reports, we present a snapshot of the current waste situation in Singapore below.


In the graph above, Waste Disposed refers to the total amount of waste disposed at the four incineration plants and the offshore Semakau Landfill. Waste Recycled refers to the total amount of waste that are recycled locally or exported overseas for recycling. Total Waste Output refers to the total amount of waste generated in Singapore, which is the addition of Waste Disposed and Waste Recycled.

The total waste output has increased about 28% from 4.65 million tonnes in 2000 to 5.97 million tonnes in 2008. If we factor in population growth (4.03 million people in 2000 to 4.84 million people in 2008), the actual increase in waste output per capita from 2000 to 2008 is only 7%. The 28% increase in waste output is also less than the 61% increase in Singapore’s GDP ($160 billion in 2000 to $257 billion in 2008). In addition, from 2000 to 2008, the waste disposed has dropped by 6% and the waste recycled has increased by a massive 80%.


The recycling rate in Singapore for 2008 is 56% and has been increasing steadily over the years. Based on this steady rate of increase, there should be no problem of reaching the 60% recycling rate target set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012. However, the recent financial crisis and slump in the recycling industry might pose some problems.

The waste data show that the efforts of the government in promoting waste minimisation and recycling has paid off. The increase in total waste output is low while the increase in waste recycled is high. However, to work towards zero waste, there is a need for the total waste output to reach a peak and decrease every year.

This means that we can’t depend only on high rates of recycling but we also need greater reduction in the waste disposed, in other words, more reduce and reuse of waste. Recycling is still the least effective of the 3 Rs and should be practised last after reduce and reuse.

To be continued, watch out for Part Two.

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