Committee of Supply Debate 2010: Recycling and Waste Minimisation

March 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources gave his speech during the Committee of Supply Debate under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) recently. His speech addresses various environmental policies, including recycling and waste minimisation:

Improving Recycling Efforts

Singapore’s overall recycling rate increased from 40% in 2000 to 57% in 2009 and we are on track to meet the target of 60% by 2012. We are studying how we can enhance the effectiveness of existing recycling efforts. For instance, there is scope to reduce the amount of domestic waste disposed and we are working with the public waste collectors to review the National Recycling Programme. This includes studying the provision of more recycling bins in HDB estates and the collection and recycling of other waste streams such as garden waste from landed homes and food waste from markets.

Bring Your Own Bag Day

We limit the environmental impact of disused plastic bags by incinerating them in our waste-to-energy incineration plants, rather than landfilling them. Many households also re-use plastic bags to bag their refuse. The focus of efforts like the Bring Your Own Bag Day campaign, which was launched by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) in April 2007, is therefore to discourage the excessive use of plastic bags via public education, and to foster a more conservation-oriented mindset. I understand that close to 300 retail outlets now participate in this effort. This is encouraging. I assure that NEA will continue with efforts to educate the public on the importance of recycling and waste minimisation as well as the proper use of recycling facilities.

3R Fund

To support new waste minimisation and recycling projects, NEA launched an $8mil 3R Fund last year. To date, we received 43 applications, of which 9 were approved with grants amounting to $137,000, and 18 are still being evaluated. One of the applications approved is the National University of Singapore’s Recycling Master Plan to improve the recycling infrastructure and enhance the 3R culture in the University. The project is expected to reduce or recycle 540 tons of waste over 3 years.

Singapore Packaging Agreement

To reduce waste at source, NEA has collaborated with the food and beverage industry on the voluntary Singapore Packaging Agreement since July 2007. The Agreement demonstrates that environmentally friendly practices make sound business sense – the participating companies saved $4.4mil from a reduction of 2,500 tons of packaging waste over the last two years.

For instance, F&N Coca-Cola Singapore shortened the neck closure and reduced the weight of their plastic bottles, saving about 200 tonnes of materials a year. Tetra Pak Jurong introduced a process to recover and reuse waste plastic packaging materials, saving about 380 tons of packaging a year. Following the extension of the Agreement to cover all types of product packaging since October 2009, we can expect to see avoided waste and reduced packaging in other sectors as well.

Development of Recycling Industry

Since 1995, land has been set aside for the recycling industry at the Sarimbun Recycling Park or SRP. The SRP is now fully leased out to 13 companies recycling waste items such as wood and horticultural waste, and construction and demolition waste. NEA is exploring other areas where recycling industries can be sited. Companies can also apply to JTC for industrial land to set up recycling facilities.

NEA has various funding schemes to incentivise and develop the waste management and recycling industry. These schemes include the 3R Fund which I touched on earlier, the Innovation for Environmental Sustainability Fund, as well as the Environment Technology Research Programme. SPRING Singapore also has assistance schemes targeted at SMEs, including loan schemes and capability upgrading programmes.

Source: MEWR

National Environment Agency’s 3R Fund Opens For Applications

April 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

News Release from National Environment Agency.

The National Environment Agency’s S$8 million 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) Fund was officially launched by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the 3R Seminar today.

Now open for applications, the 3R Fund will co-fund up to 80% of the qualifying costs of new waste minimisation and recycling projects, subject to a cap of S$1 million per project. The Fund will help organisations overcome the start-up costs for facilities, and offset part of the cost of technologies to further increase recycling. With this funding, the recycling industry has a better chance of achieving critical mass in the collection of recyclables for economic scale of operation. Singapore companies and organisations can use the fund to minimise waste especially in waste streams with low recycling rates such as food, plastic and glass, as well as to introduce recycling in waste streams such as used household batteries, which are currently not recycled. Read more

Summary of Waste Issues in the Committee of Supply Debate 2009

February 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, gave his speech at the annual Committee of Supply Debate yesterday in Parliament. Here’s a summary of the waste issues covered:

The participation rate in the National Recycling Programme (NRP) has increased from 15% in 2001 to 63% in 2008.

Since 2007, there are 1,600 centralized recycling bins at HDB estates and one for every five blocks of HDB flats. The average amount of recyclables collected from each set of bins increased from 65 kg per month in 2007 to 103 kg per month for 2008.

NEA targets to achieve full implementation for the mandatory provision of recycling receptacles in condominium and private apartments by the end of 2009.

Singapore’s recycling rate has improved from 40% in 2000 to 56% in 2008 and we are on track to meet the Singapore Green Plan 2012 target of 60%.

NEA will be launching a $8 million 3R Fund to co-fund new waste minimisation and recycling projects. The fund will co-fund up to 80% of qualifying costs and subject to a cap of $1 million per project.

We are aware that some developed countries have used legislation to mandate recycling. In view of the current economic downturn, we are not looking at introducing legislation in the near future as it would likely increase costs for businesses and households. However, in the longer term, we will study the use of legislation to further improve our recycling rate.

The Ministry is developing a plan to turn Semakau landfill into an Eco Park, where companies can conduct field testing of renewable and clean technologies.

Source: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources