Singapore 2009 Waste Statistics

May 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

The latest 2009 waste statistics and recycling rate for Singapore can be found at the National Environment Agency’s website. An overview of the waste figures can be found in the following infographic:

Singapore 2009 Waste Statistics

Waste Generated refers to the total amount of waste generated in Singapore, which is the addition of Waste Disposed and Waste Recycled. Waste Disposed refers to the total amount of waste disposed at the four waste-to-energy or incineration plants, and at the offshore Semakau Landfill. Waste Recycled refers to the total amount of waste that is recycled locally or exported overseas for recycling.

In 2009, about 6.1 million tonnes of waste was generated in Singapore, and each person generated around 1,230 kg of waste. The recycling rate in Singapore for 2009 is 57% and has been increasing steadily over the years. Based on this rate of increase, there should be no problem in reaching the targeted 60% recycling rate by 2012 set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012, and the targeted 70% recycling rate by 2030 set in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.

43% of Singapore’s waste is still disposed, with 41% going to the waste-to-energy plants for incineration and energy recovery, and 2% of non-incinerable waste such as construction and demolition waste, used slag and treated sludge, going to the Semakau Landfill for landfilling.

% Composition of Waste Generated

The top 5 waste types make up 74% of the total waste generated in Singapore, which are either disposed of at the waste-to-energy plants and landfill, or recycled locally and exported:

  1. Paper/Cardboard (20%)
  2. Construction Debris (19%)
  3. Ferrous Metal (14%)
  4. Plastics (11%)
  5. Food Waste (10%)

% Composition of Waste Disposed

The top 3 waste types make up 68% of the total waste disposed in Singapore:

  1. Plastics (24%)
  2. Paper/Cardboard (24%)
  3. Food Waste (20%)

% Composition of Waste Recycled

The top 3 waste types make up 72% of the total waste recycled in Singapore:

  1. Construction Debris (33%)
  2. Ferrous Metal (23%)
  3. Paper/Cardboard (16%)

Recycling Rate of Waste

For the 3 common types of waste disposed, their recycling rate is still low:

  • Plastics (9%)
  • Food Waste (13%)
  • Paper/Cardboard (48%)

More efforts are needed to reduce the amount of paper, plastics and food waste disposed and to increase their recycling rates. Half of the paper and cardboard waste generated still ends up being burned.

Waste Statistics from 2000 to 2009

From 2000 to 2009, the waste disposed has dropped by 6% and the waste recycled has increased by a massive 88%. However, the total waste generated has increased 31% from 4.6 million tonnes in 2000 to 6.1 million tonnes in 2009.

The waste data show that the efforts of the government in promoting waste minimisation and recycling has paid off. However, to work towards zero waste, there is a need for the total waste generated 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.

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19 Responses to “Singapore 2009 Waste Statistics”
  1. Pamela says:

    May I know the disposed waste 42%, is disposed to where?
    Very curious…..

  2. Kenny says:

    Hi.. I am curious about the number of the plastic. Hope to seek some advice from you.

    For year 2009, 6,114,100 tonnes of waste is generated. Of this Plastic consists of 11% ++, which is about 672,551 tonnes. And out of this 672,551, only 9% is recycled.

    This will means, 612,021 tonnes of plastics are being disposed off. Are they being landfilled or burnt? Plastic toxic will be released if burnt but never get decomposed if landfilled?

    Is there any statistics on the annual production of plastic or plastic bag/bottles in details showing declining in the demand?

    Thanks and sincerely appreciated it.

    • Eugene says:

      Hi Kenny, most plastics are send to the incineration plants for burning while PVC are sent to the landfill. You would have to check the details on bags and bottles from NEA.

  3. ken says:


    I am doing a survey on waste generated by each Singaporean in year 2009. Could you help by showing the calculation on how you get the 1230kg/person of waste?


  4. Jackie says:

    I would like to know why in the year 2000 to 2001 there is a raise in the waste, but at 2001 to 2002 there is a sudden plunge? Is there some good policy that cause the drop?

    • Eugene says:

      Hi Jackie, you have to check with NEA on that. Maybe it’s due to the implementation of the National Recycling Programme (NRP) since 2001.

  5. alison says:

    hi! I am doing a project on recycling in Singapore. I am very curious as to why plastic has such low recycling rate when it is the top waste disposed in Singapore. Is it because that recycling of plastic is too energy consuming that makes it not economically viable? Or are there any reasons?

    Thank you for your help in advance 🙂

  6. Jackie says:

    Hi Eugene, can I know how you derive the amount of waste generate per person to be 1230kg for 2009? Which report did you get it from? Is it from the NEA annual report on amount of waste generated divide by the population for that year?

  7. Xin Yi says:

    Hi Eugene, could you explain what is meant by “food waste”?

    Cause I was wondering, if it refers to food, then surely it is biodegradable?

    • Eugene says:

      Yes, food waste is biodegradable. But not all food waste is collected for recycling, most of it goes straight to the incineration plants. Mainly due to smell and pest problems with food waste.

  8. I am thinking whether rubber chips can’t be embedded in plastic and the material then be used in – like dams or some kind of building material. It can be a win – win situation.

  9. Andy Phil says:

    Thanks dude 🙂 show this post a nice statistics about Waste. I consider that half of the paper and cardboard waste produced immobile trimmings up being blazed.

  10. Deborah says:

    Hey! May I know how many CDs were wasted? Are they classified under metals?

  11. May I know why is it only 10% of food waste generated in Singapore. Thanks


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