Singapore 2009 Waste Statistics

May 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

The latest 2009 waste statistics and recycling rate for Singapore can be found at the National Environment Agency’s website. An overview of the waste figures can be found in the following infographic:

Singapore 2009 Waste Statistics

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 2009, about 6.1 million tonnes of waste was generated in Singapore, and each person generated around 1,230 kg of waste. The recycling rate in Singapore for 2009 is 57% and has been increasing steadily over the years. Based on this rate of increase, there should be no problem in reaching the targeted 60% recycling rate by 2012 set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012, and the targeted 70% recycling rate by 2030 set in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.

43% of Singapore’s waste is still disposed, with 41% going to the waste-to-energy plants for incineration and energy recovery, and 2% 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 74% 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. Construction Debris (19%)
  3. Ferrous Metal (14%)
  4. Plastics (11%)
  5. Food Waste (10%)

% Composition of Waste Disposed

The top 3 waste types make up 68% of the total waste disposed in Singapore:

  1. Plastics (24%)
  2. Paper/Cardboard (24%)
  3. Food Waste (20%)

% Composition of Waste Recycled

The top 3 waste types make up 72% of the total waste recycled in Singapore:

  1. Construction Debris (33%)
  2. Ferrous Metal (23%)
  3. Paper/Cardboard (16%)

Recycling Rate of Waste

For the 3 common types of waste disposed, their recycling rate is still low:

  • Plastics (9%)
  • Food Waste (13%)
  • Paper/Cardboard (48%)

More efforts are needed to reduce the amount of paper, plastics and food waste disposed and to increase their recycling rates. Half of the paper and cardboard waste generated still ends up being burned.

Waste Statistics from 2000 to 2009

From 2000 to 2009, the waste disposed has dropped by 6% and the waste recycled has increased by a massive 88%. However, the total waste generated has increased 31% from 4.6 million tonnes in 2000 to 6.1 million tonnes in 2009.

The waste data show that the efforts of the government in promoting waste minimisation and recycling has paid off. However, 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.

2008 Waste Statistics and Current Waste Situation in Singapore (Part Two)

March 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

Continued from Part One, which looks at the waste disposed, waste recycled, total waste output and the recycling rate for Singapore from 2000 to 2008.

Just to recap, Waste Disposed refers to the total amount of waste disposed at the four incineration plants and the offshore Semakau Landfill. Waste Recycled refers to the total amount of waste that are recycled locally or exported overseas for recycling. Total Waste Output refers to the total amount of waste generated in Singapore, which is the addition of Waste Disposed and Waste Recycled.

To find out opportunities for greater waste reduction, let’s take a closer look at the % composition by weight of the waste output, waste disposed and waste recycled in 2008.

waste-output

The above graph shows the % composition of total waste output. We can see that the top 5 waste types make up the bulk or about 70% of the total waste output in Singapore. The top 5 types of waste that are generated, which are either disposed of at the incineration plants and landfill or recycled locally and exported, includes:

  1. Paper/Cardboard (21%)
  2. Construction Debris (15%)
  3. Ferrous Metal (13%)
  4. Plastics (11%)
  5. Food Waste (10%)

The two graphs below show how these 5 waste types differ in terms of disposal and recycling.

waste-disposed

From the above graph on waste disposed, we can see that the top 3 waste types make up the bulk (about 70%) of the total waste disposed in Singapore:

  1. Paper/Cardboard (25%)
  2. Plastics (24%)
  3. Food Waste (19%)

The top 3 types of waste disposed (also in the top 5 waste output) are not a surprise as they are common waste that Singaporeans throw away frequently: junk mail, used paper, paper and plastic packaging, plastic bags, plastic bottles and containers, disposable cutlery, leftover and expired food from homes, eating outlets and industries.

The other 2 types of waste (in the top 5 waste output), Construction Debris and Ferrous Metal, only make up 3% of the total waste disposed, which means that they are mostly recycled.

waste-recycled

The above graph shows the waste recycled and we can see that the top 3 waste types make up the bulk (about 70%) of the total waste recycled in Singapore:

  1. Construction Debris (27%)
  2. Ferrous Metal (22%)
  3. Paper/Cardboard (18%)

Construction Debris and Ferrous Metal are indeed being recycled and they make up about 50% of all the waste that are being recycled in Singapore. Although a large quantity of Paper/Cardboard is being recycled, there is a similar amount that is being disposed. The other 2 types of waste (in the top 5 waste output), Plastics and Food Waste, only make up 4% of the total waste recycled.

Where are the opportunities for greater waste reduction? Obviously, we should focus on the top 5 waste types that make up the bulk of the total waste output in Singapore.

However, we would place less emphasis on Construction Debris and Ferrous Metal because of two reasons. One, it is not easy to reduce the waste quantity of construction debris and ferrous metal as they are tied to the economy. The generation of construction and metal-related waste varies according to the construction and business activities, which ultimately depends on the economy. Two, the waste quantity of construction debris and ferrous metal being recycled are already high.

Therefore, the focus should be to achieve greater waste reduction in Paper/Cardboard, Plastics and Food Waste, as they are common in households and offices, and there exist opportunities for projects and campaigns to reduce their output.

To be continued, watch out for Part Three.

2008 Waste Statistics and Current Waste Situation in Singapore (Part One)

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

The latest 2008 waste statistics for Singapore can be found at the National Environment Agency’s website. Together with previous waste data from the NEA’s annual reports, we present a snapshot of the current waste situation in Singapore below.

waste-statistics

In the graph above, Waste Disposed refers to the total amount of waste disposed at the four incineration plants and the offshore Semakau Landfill. Waste Recycled refers to the total amount of waste that are recycled locally or exported overseas for recycling. Total Waste Output refers to the total amount of waste generated in Singapore, which is the addition of Waste Disposed and Waste Recycled.

The total waste output has increased about 28% from 4.65 million tonnes in 2000 to 5.97 million tonnes in 2008. If we factor in population growth (4.03 million people in 2000 to 4.84 million people in 2008), the actual increase in waste output per capita from 2000 to 2008 is only 7%. The 28% increase in waste output is also less than the 61% increase in Singapore’s GDP ($160 billion in 2000 to $257 billion in 2008). In addition, from 2000 to 2008, the waste disposed has dropped by 6% and the waste recycled has increased by a massive 80%.

recycling-rate

The recycling rate in Singapore for 2008 is 56% and has been increasing steadily over the years. Based on this steady rate of increase, there should be no problem of reaching the 60% recycling rate target set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012. However, the recent financial crisis and slump in the recycling industry might pose some problems.

The waste data show that the efforts of the government in promoting waste minimisation and recycling has paid off. The increase in total waste output is low while the increase in waste recycled is high. However, to work towards zero waste, there is a need for the total waste output 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.

To be continued, watch out for Part Two.

« Previous Page