Companies cut packaging waste – and save $15m [News]

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By Grace Chua, The Straits Times, 6 Oct 2011.

Companies here have cut back on 7,100 tonnes of product packaging in the last four years, and saved $14.9 million in the process.

They are signatories to the Singapore Packaging Agreement, a five-year programme started in 2007 to reduce waste.

For example, Asia Pacific Breweries made its aluminium cans thinner. This saves the firm, which produces 45 million cans of Tiger, Heineken and other drinks, 7.9 tonnes of the metal a year.

And food giant Nestle Singapore saves about 30 tonnes of plastic laminate material a year after making its Milo-powder packages shorter.

They were among 21 firms which received 3R Packaging Awards yesterday from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the start of the Regional 3R Forum waste-management conference.

Click here to read the full story.

Efforts to cut packaging waste bear fruit [News]

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By Today, 6 Oct 2011.

The 127 companies that have pledged to reduce packaging waste have together reduced 7,100 tonnes of waste and saved a total of S$14.9 million in costs over four years, as the Singapore Packaging Agreement enters its fifth and final year.

Their efforts were commended by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, who handed out the 3R Packaging Awards to 21 of the companies at the third Regional 3R Forum, which opened yesterday.

The agreement provided a platform for signatories to collaborate with the Government on better production processes as well as product and packaging design to reduce waste over five years. They include the private sector, industry groups, recyclers, government and non-governmental organisations.

Read more

Source: Today

3R Packaging Awards recognise companies for their efforts to reduce packaging waste

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Insights

The Singapore Packaging Agreement signatories received the 3R Packaging Awards this morning at the Third Meeting of the Regional 3R Forum in Asia, held at Sheraton Towers Singapore for their efforts to reduce packaging waste.

The Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) is a voluntary programme by the industry, the National Environment Agency (NEA), and NGOs to reduce the amount of waste from product packaging through improvements in product packaging design and packaging processes. The annual 3R Packaging Awards have been presented by NEA since 2008 to recognise the signatories of SPA for their efforts.

For this year’s 3R Packaging Awards, 6 companies received the Distinction Award and 15 companies received the Merit Awards from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. Read more

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

Choose Products with Less Packaging

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Reduce

Some products come with unnecessary plastic or paper packaging for aesthetic and advertising purposes, and these packaging usually end up as waste. You can choose products with less or no packaging, thus reducing the packaging wastage and cost.

The Problem of Packaging Waste

As more companies compete to advertise and promote their brands, they use all forms of media and excessive packaging. These unnecessary advertising and wasteful packaging are used to attract consumers to buy and use more. As Daniel Imhoff quotes in his book, Paper or Plastic:

Waste could result from a competitive “arms race” in which one company adopts larger, more elaborate packaging solely to compete with another company’s larger, more elaborate packaging, in the struggle to win the attention of consumers. Producers could misinterpret consumer acceptance of increasing levels of packaging as evidence of a desire for even more.

Excessive packaging often end up as waste. If the advertising campaigns are successful, more consumers buy and this result in more waste generated – the waste cycle continues.

What Can I Do?

Make a conscious effort to choose products with less packaging. By buying and supporting products with less packaging, you are sending a signal to the companies on the increasing demand of products that have minimal packaging.

Vote. And I don’t mean voting at a voting booth. Anybody of any age can vote because you vote every day that you pay for something. Every time you lay money down on the counter to buy something, you are saying that I approve of this object. I approve of how it was made, the materials that are in it, and what’s going to happen to it when I no longer need it and throw away. – Gloria Flora, Director of Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, in the film The 11th Hour

Can you influence companies to reduce their excessive packaging? Nowadays, companies have become increasingly aware of their corporate responsibility to the community and the environment. As a consumer, you can make use of this increasing awareness to feedback or remind companies to be more environmentally friendly and minimise their packaging waste.

Support the Singapore Packaging Agreement

You can support companies that are signatories to the Singapore Packaging Agreement. The voluntary Singapore Packaging Agreement came into effect on 1 July 2007 and companies that signed the Agreement will commit to reduce their packaging waste. Learn more about the Agreement and signatories from this NEA website. Show your support for the companies by buying their products.

If your company is interested in reducing packaging waste, you can also consider participating in the Agreement or seek help from the NEA.

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