What Happens to the Used Bulky Furniture and Items Collected by the Cleaners From the Housing Estates in Singapore

February 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Insights

Do you know what happens to the used bulky furniture and items collected by the cleaners from your housing estates? Are they sent to the incineration plants and landfill or recycled? We are not sure too, so we sent an email to ask all the town councils in Singapore. Here’s their reply:

Jurong Town Council referred our enquiry to NEA and a manager from the Licensing and Operations, Waste Management Department, replied: The Town Council conservancy contractor engages a licensed general waste collector (GWC) to remove the bulky furniture. The GWC will usually segregate the waste – sending recyclable parts for recycling and the non-recyclable parts for incineration.

Hong Kah Town Council: All the bulky collected by our cleaner will send to 800 Super Waste. They will send to incineration plants.

Pasir Ris- Punggol Town Council: In general, bulky furniture and items will be collected by our conservancy workers and are taken to the dumping ground.

Tanjong Pagar Town Council: Most of the bulky items collected were not reusable. The metal parts of the bulky will be separated for recycle, burnable parts will be ended in incinerator and other go for landfill.

Tampines Town Council: The bulky refuse items are disposed of by the public waste collectors, most items are sent to incineration plants.

Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang Town Council: Our conservancy contractor will dismantle the large pieces and dispose them in a specially arranged bulk-bin container. The contents go to NEA’s incinerator plants.

East Coast Town Council: The bulky refuse would be sent to Sembcorp which would then decide to incinerate, use the refuse as landfill or recycle them.

West Coast Town Council: The discarded bulky household items collected by the conservancy workers will be send to the incineration plant.

Aljunied Town Council: To answer to your enquiry, NEA has provided the following answers – if waste can be recycled, they will be removed at source for recycling; the balance that can be incinerated will be moved to the incinerator plants; only those that cannot be recycled or incinerated will end up at the landfill.

Sembawang Town Council: We would like to inform you that the Town Council works closely with the National Environmental Agency in recycling domestic refuse as it forms the main bulk of our recyclables. A proper network of recycling bins was setup and it is easily accessible to our heartlanders. (The reply did not answer our question so we sent another email to say that we are referring to bulky items like furniture. We have not received a reply.)

The rest of the town councils did not bother to reply.

So are the used bulky furniture and items collected by the cleaners from your housing estates sent for recycling? The answer is: it depends. From the town councils’ replies, it is up to the general waste collector who is engaged to dispose the bulky furniture and items, to decide whether to recycle the items and what to recycle.

Some of the used furniture that we see are still in good condition or just need some repair and refurbishment. If you have used furniture in good condition to throw away next time, consider giving them away at Freecycle, or to Salvation Army and Pass It On.

We also think that there could be a potential for a dedicated furniture reuse and recycling centre in Singapore. Used furniture could be collected and refurbished or the furniture parts could be reused and made into new furniture, and sold to the public or the needy at cheaper prices.

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9 Responses to “What Happens to the Used Bulky Furniture and Items Collected by the Cleaners From the Housing Estates in Singapore”
  1. Suelynn says:

    I often look at these stuff thrown away and think that we should find a way to recycle and redistribute… do let me know if you have something in mind that we can work on. 🙂

    • Eugene says:

      Hi Suelynn, we have a business plan to turn used furniture into recycled designer furniture. Still in the planning stage.

  2. stalla ng says:

    my child always want to turn used furniture into recycled furniture(she say when she grow up,she want to be a recycled designer haha!:p)

  3. stalla ng says:

    my child always want to turn used furniture into recycled furniture(she say when she grow up,she want to be a recycled designer haha!:))

  4. Estacy says:

    I know what happens to the furniture. The disposal workers at my place just dumps them at the void deck where I stay. I saw it myself. Initially thought they would send it to salvation army or break it down into recyclable parts. But found the bb bed, sofa they had collected at the void deck of my block. That much for responsible disposal. Only saves us the trouble of bring it down ourselves.

  5. Girlie says:

    this kind of furniture should be given to those people that are in need. People from haiti, africa, etc… or calamity stricken countries such as the philippines recently. This will be a big help for them.

  6. Marcus Tay says:

    Working with the vendors right now, I have come to know that in Singapore – there are commercial solutions to:

    a) Recycle metal
    b) convert wood into bio fuel

    but for things like sofa and mattress, there are really no commercial solutions as yet and they are just broken down for incineration.

    However, if they are in good condition – I did have very good success giving away my old Sofa and chair at FreeCycle SG. No need to think about giving to other countries, there are enough people who needs your stuff locally.

  7. Irene Lim says:

    I am glad someone is in the plan of turning the used furnitures to designer furnishing that will fix to the new generation who will buy or reuse it. Yes I totally agreed there are needs locally who need used furnitures especially low income family but however there are minority people who computer idiot they can’t go to sgfreecycle at facebook nor yahoo group to get it. I had been helping a group of these types of people and I also came to know another group of people are also helping those low income family but too bad the appointed administrator of the facebook sgfreecycle are very arrogant they ban & kick us out from the freecycle group which forbid us to help the unfortunate people in Singapore. They are bias they only keep high calibre people or “Angmo” in the group. Very sad none of us can do anything to this sgfreecycle in the facebook. Due this reason a new freecycle group had formed and many of old timer freecycle migrated to Singapore Neighbourhood Freecycle.There again hopefully those who want to recycle their furnitures will join this group.

    • Marcus Tay says:

      To Irene,

      No wonder there are a few freecycle groups in SG. Interestingly, they also did not welcome my offer to think of creating a website to list all the items over using an email list.

      Still, you can give your efforts more “authenticity” through using passiton.sg to request for furniture for needy?

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