Household Recycling Study: Summary

Household Recycling Study: Summary

Household Recycling Study - report coverThe Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) recently released the Household Recycling Study, which was conducted from Aug 2012 to Jan 2013, involving a nationwide survey of 2,500 respondents and 5 focus group discussions of 10 participants each.

The study was done to understand the state of household recycling in Singapore and the factors that hinder or motivate recycling.

Here are some of the key findings:

Recycling Participation Rate

95% of the survey respondents said that they recycled, and the top 5 types of items recycled were newspaper (87.2%), old clothing (67%), magazines (63.9%), plastic bags (61.3%), and plastic drink bottles (55.5%).

The other items recycled were:

Household Recycling Study - Recycling participation rate

Recycling Method

For the recycling of paper items, respondents tend to give them to the karung gunis, use the recycling bins, or use the door-to-door collection of recycling bags. For the recycling of non-paper items, respondents tend to reuse the items, use the recycling bins, or give to others to reuse.

Household Recycling Study - recycling methods for paper

Household Recycling Study - recycling methods for non-paper

Reasons for Recycling

The top reason why respondents recycled items is because “recycling helps save the environment” (~69%).

Household Recycling Study - reasons for recycling paper

Household Recycling Study - reasons for recycling non-paper

Reasons for Not Recycling

The top reason for not recycling items is because of “none/too few/too small an item to recycle” (60%-65%).

Household Recycling Study - reasons for not recycling paper

Household Recycling Study - reasons for not recycling non-paper

Reasons People Start to Recycle

The top reason why respondents start to recycle is because “I want to do my part to save the environment” (64.2%).

Household Recycling Study - reasons why people start to recycle

Influencers of Household Recycling Behaviour

74% of respondents said that they were not influenced by anyone to recycle.

Household Recycling Study - influence to recycle

Encouraging Others to Recycle

78.2% of respondents indicated that they would encourage others to start recycling. Most of them would encourage their family members (77.9%) and friends (66.6%) to recycle.

Household Recycling Study - encourage to recycle

Knowledge and Convenience of Nearest Recycling Bin

64.8% of respondents are aware of where the nearest recycling bin was located from their homes. They agreed (54.4%) or strongly agreed (15.4%) with the statement that “the recycling bin is conveniently located to my home”.

Knowledge of Which Items Can Be Recycled

Most respondents are aware that the following items can be recycled:

Household Recycling Study - can be recycled

Perception of Level of Recycling Knowledge

On average, respondents agreed with the statements: “I know where to bring my household waste for recycling” and “I know which item(s) can be recycled”.

On average, respondents are neutral on these statements: “I believe I recycle more than most people” and “I believe my household recycles more than most Singapore households”.

Household Norms

On average, respondents disagreed with the statements: “My family does not believe in recycling” and “No one in my home recycles”, which suggested that their family believed in recycling and had at least one member who recycled.


On average, respondents somewhat agreed that “I will still recycle no matter how busy I am”, and agreed that “I will recycle more often if the recycling bin is nearer to my home”, but disagreed that “I do not recycle due to hygiene reasons”.

Information on Recycling

56.5% of respondents replied that they would want to know more about recycling, and the top 5 info that they would like to know more about are:

Household Recycling Study - know more about recycling

Suggestions on Encouraging Household Recycling

The most common suggestions from the respondents on what the government could do to encourage household recycling are to: have “more media coverage” (47.7%), and “place more recycling bins around my house/give more recycling bags/have more recycling points” (42.9%).

Household Recycling Study - suggestions to encourage recycling

Focus Group Discussions Summary

Here’s the summary of the key findings from the focus group discussions:

Household Recycling Study - summary of focus group discussions

Source and images credit: MEWR


  • bytracy
    Posted July 30, 2014 2:13 am 0Likes


    This was my recent message to mediacorp regarding their recent initiative.
    I hope that much more can be done for recycling, instead of half-hearted rolled out efforts, unlike places like Japan/ EU. i.e.: info graphics on items that can be recycled to households, large bins that have graphics on what to throw, (people will hate this) impose fines on not recycling etc.

    For your company to do consultancy for government bodies/ companies on recycling is no small feat.
    It is tremendous amount of research, money into it, education, management and what have you.

    However, how much do people on the ground level know?

    We have only started recycling in the recent year, it made me realize a single family churns out a fair bit of stuff that can be recycled. But a block of flat with 4 units on each level, given One recycling bin? and we do not know how often/ frequent is the collection; risked getting items being rummaged.
    So much more can be done on the ground level…(vs Semb Corp + Town councils)

    “Hello MediaCorp Saving Gaia,

    I must say that its great that you have come up with green initiatives, and have done well consistently for 3 years- with the visuals and using the likable jingle which appeals to the mass-young and old.

    Whilst the campaign gains more awareness to the people, likely getting them to be motivated about going green; the recycling bins provided by Sembcorp/ Town councils around certain areas have gone 2 steps backwards instead of making progress.

    As much as there are people who would really like to do more for recycling and the environment, the recycling bins around certain districts are appalling. Say for instance: the Thieves Market area.

    (a) As soon as pillows/bedsheets are put into the bins for recycling, 2 ladies picked it up and sells it at the thieves market across the road as witness by my relative. And she stopped her recycling efforts thereafter, knowing that there are people (likely garang kuni) will pick up after her and perhaps sell the items.
    (b) yesterday, I had to confront a chinese national for emptying the recycling bin and picking the newspapers/ Papers that I have just put into it. It seemed to put our recycling effort to a naught, when you realize whatever you put in, scavengers goes through it and make a mess of it all.

    These 2 incidences are not MediaCorp’s problem. However,
    it is a real situation that such initiative is likely to involve a larger scale in educating people and setting a better operations system to combat such problems.

    i would suggest linking up with recycling companies and proposing infographics posters set up.

    So that locals and foreigners alike are educated about the program; and that people who are genuinely in participating will not be disheartened by the lack of better operations systems and stop putting in efforts.

    Yours Sincerely,

  • byjaesonG. Sambat
    Posted May 27, 2015 4:04 pm 0Likes

    i work at the provincial government of pampanga, philippines as a Supervising environmental management specialist… working mostly for the improvement for the solidwaste management of the province… if ever theres any training . seminars regarding on solidwaste management could you please invite us for us to attend…

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