Excerpts fron the Speech by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Committee of Supply Debate 2013 [Speeches]

March 18, 2013 by  
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Read the full speech of the COS debate by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan – Part 1 and Part 2.

On Waste:

We have made some changes. We have reduced the number of Public Waste Collection sectors from nine to six in order to improve economies of scale. Again, I am trying to bring the cost of waste collection down whilst recognising that the cost of energy, transport, trucks and all that is also going up.

We are also building a new Waste-to-Energy incineration plant to maximise resource recovery and to reduce landfill space. If I could show the picture of Pulau Semakau, you would see that we already have the area marked out for Phase 2. Again, I can give the House the assurance that we are good to go until 2035. In fact, the beauty of Pulau Semakau is that it is probably the only landfill in the world that is a tourist attraction. Just last December, the Prime Minister himself went there and if you go to his Facebook page, you will find some beautiful pictures of that site. So the point is, it can be done, it will be there for the long term and it can be beautiful at the same time.

Our recycling rate in households, to be honest, is still not good enough. In fact, in survey after survey, people have said they want to recycle but for some reason, this is not translated into practice. We will continue to make recycling facilities more convenient for households by enhancing recycling infrastructure in neighbourhoods. In some new HDB flats, we have even tried to pilot projects with dual-refuse and recycling chutes in order to make it more convenient, and some early data shows that this perhaps may increase recycling rates.

Excerpts from the Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the Eco-products International Fair 2013 [Speeches]

March 16, 2013 by  
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Read the full speech by Ms Grace Fu here.

On Waste Recycling:

Besides the adoption of green innovations and resource-efficient technologies, households can also help push the sustainability agenda through recycling. Currently, our household recycling remains poor, but our recent nationwide study on household recycling behaviour shows that most households actually want to recycle but do not do so for a variety of reasons.

Beyond making it more convenient for households to recycle by enhancing the recycling infrastructure, for example more bins and more collections, my Ministry plans to encourage behavioural change among individuals by providing incentives. Many countries including the United States and Japan charge households according to the weight of waste disposed. To encourage households here to reduce their waste and recycle more, we are currently exploring the feasibility of moving towards a usage-based pricing waste disposal system that will allow households to directly reap the benefits of reducing waste. We will be conducting a few “Save-As-You-Reduce” pilot projects in the Punggol and Bartley areas, involving a small number of HDB blocks, condominiums and landed properties, as well as at the first HDB Greenprint precinct at Yuhua. During these pilots, residents will be regularly informed on how much they have recycled and thrown away.

IKEA to stop providing plastic bags [News]

March 15, 2013 by  
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By Woo Sian Boon, Today, 26 Jan 2013.

In an effort to get shoppers to use fewer plastic bags here, a major retailer has decided to stop providing them in stores.

Come March, customers visiting Swedish furniture giant IKEA at both its Alexandra and Tampines outlets will either have to bring their own bags or purchase its blue reusable bags for their shopping.

The prices of the reusable bags have been reduced to S$0.90 for the large ones and S$0.30 for smaller versions, down from S$1.20 and S$0.60 respectively.

Said its Managing Director Christian Rojkjaer: “This initiative is the next natural step for us to further reduce the use and consumption of disposable plastic bags in Singapore and, at the same time, support change in people’s everyday behaviour for a positive sustainable impact for the environment.”

In 2007, IKEA became the first retailer here to charge for plastic bags.

Proceeds from the 18 million plastic bags sold since the start of the initiative have been donated to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to boost eco-education programmes.

Click here to read the full article.

Source: Today