Singapore Waste Statistics 2011

March 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Insights

The latest 2011 waste statistics and recycling rate for Singapore can be found at the National Environment Agency website. The following infographic gives an overview of the waste figures:

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 2011, about 6.9 million tonnes of waste was generated in Singapore, and each person generated around 1,330 kg of waste in a year. The recycling rate in Singapore for 2011 is 59% (58% in 2010), and has been increasing steadily over the years. The government has set a target of 60% recycling rate by 2012 in the Singapore Green Plan 2012, and 70% recycling rate by 2030 in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.

41% of Singapore’s waste is still disposed of, with 38% going to the waste-to-energy plants for incineration and energy recovery, and 3% 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 76% 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. Ferrous Metal (18%)
  3. Construction Debris (17%)
  4. Plastics (11%)
  5. Food Waste (10%)

% Composition of Waste Disposed

The top 3 waste types make up 65% of the total waste disposed in Singapore:

  1. Plastics (23%)
  2. Food Waste (21%)
  3. Paper/Cardboard (21%)

% Composition of Waste Recycled

The top 3 waste types make up 77% of the total waste recycled in Singapore:

  1. Construction Debris (29%)
  2. Ferrous Metal (29%)
  3. Paper/Cardboard (19%)

Recycling Rate of Waste

For the 3 common types of waste disposed, the recycling rate for plastics and food waste is still low:

  • Food Waste (10%)
  • Plastics (11%)
  • Paper/Cardboard (56%)

More efforts are needed to reduce the amount of plastics and food waste disposed and to increase their recycling rates. The recycling rate for plastics in 2011 is the same as 2010, and more can be done to educate Singaporeans on reducing the use of plastics and the recycling of plastic waste. The National Environment Agency (NEA) is likely to miss the target of 35% recycling rate for plastics by 2012, set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012.

The recycling rate for food waste has dropped from 16% in 2010 to 10% in 2011. This is likely due to the closing down of IUT Global last year, which was recycling food waste into biogas and compost. There is currently no news of the setting up of new food waste recycling plants, nor is there any food waste reduction campaign by the NEA. Without any concrete plans to reduce or recycle food waste, the food waste recycling rate would remain low over the next few years, and NEA is likely to miss the target of 30% recycling rate for food waste by 2012, set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012.

For paper, the recycling rate is 56% in 2011. NEA has met the target of 55% recycling rate for paper by 2012, set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012. Nevertheless, there is still room to recycle more paper, as 44% of the paper and cardboard waste generated still ends up being burned at the waste-to-energy plants.

Waste Statistics from 2000 to 2011

From 2000 to 2011, the waste disposed has increased by only 2% but the waste recycled has increased by a massive 117%. The total waste generated has increased by 48% from 4.6 million tonnes in 2000 to 6.9 million tonnes in 2011.

The waste data show that the efforts of the government in promoting waste recycling has paid off. However, waste generated has been increasing steadily since 2003. 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.

Read the latest Singapore Waste Statistics 2012