2008 Waste Statistics and Current Waste Situation in Singapore (Part Two)
Continued from Part One, which looks at the waste disposed, waste recycled, total waste output and the recycling rate for Singapore from 2000 to 2008.
Just to recap, 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.
To find out opportunities for greater waste reduction, let’s take a closer look at the % composition by weight of the waste output, waste disposed and waste recycled in 2008.
The above graph shows the % composition of total waste output. We can see that the top 5 waste types make up the bulk or about 70% of the total waste output in Singapore. The top 5 types of waste that are generated, which are either disposed of at the incineration plants and landfill or recycled locally and exported, includes:
- Paper/Cardboard (21%)
- Construction Debris (15%)
- Ferrous Metal (13%)
- Plastics (11%)
- Food Waste (10%)
The two graphs below show how these 5 waste types differ in terms of disposal and recycling.
From the above graph on waste disposed, we can see that the top 3 waste types make up the bulk (about 70%) of the total waste disposed in Singapore:
- Paper/Cardboard (25%)
- Plastics (24%)
- Food Waste (19%)
The top 3 types of waste disposed (also in the top 5 waste output) are not a surprise as they are common waste that Singaporeans throw away frequently: junk mail, used paper, paper and plastic packaging, plastic bags, plastic bottles and containers, disposable cutlery, leftover and expired food from homes, eating outlets and industries.
The other 2 types of waste (in the top 5 waste output), Construction Debris and Ferrous Metal, only make up 3% of the total waste disposed, which means that they are mostly recycled.
The above graph shows the waste recycled and we can see that the top 3 waste types make up the bulk (about 70%) of the total waste recycled in Singapore:
- Construction Debris (27%)
- Ferrous Metal (22%)
- Paper/Cardboard (18%)
Construction Debris and Ferrous Metal are indeed being recycled and they make up about 50% of all the waste that are being recycled in Singapore. Although a large quantity of Paper/Cardboard is being recycled, there is a similar amount that is being disposed. The other 2 types of waste (in the top 5 waste output), Plastics and Food Waste, only make up 4% of the total waste recycled.
Where are the opportunities for greater waste reduction? Obviously, we should focus on the top 5 waste types that make up the bulk of the total waste output in Singapore.
However, we would place less emphasis on Construction Debris and Ferrous Metal because of two reasons. One, it is not easy to reduce the waste quantity of construction debris and ferrous metal as they are tied to the economy. The generation of construction and metal-related waste varies according to the construction and business activities, which ultimately depends on the economy. Two, the waste quantity of construction debris and ferrous metal being recycled are already high.
Therefore, the focus should be to achieve greater waste reduction in Paper/Cardboard, Plastics and Food Waste, as they are common in households and offices, and there exist opportunities for projects and campaigns to reduce their output.
To be continued, watch out for Part Three.