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Close to 2,000 Activities Organised in Support of the Year Towards Zero Waste

Singapore, 25 November 2019 – 2019 is a milestone year for Singapore’s journey towards Zero Waste, in support of our climate action and sustainability agenda.

 

2 Since the launch of the Year Towards Zero Waste on 12 January 2019 by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), close to 2,000 ground activities have been organised in support of Zero Waste. Collectively, the activities reached out to more than 670,000 people.

 

3 Two hundred and seventy activities received funding under the Towards Zero Waste Grant, which was set up to support ground-up initiatives that drive waste reduction efforts or encourage households to recycle right. Projects supported included the Bread Without Bags initiative by Project bECOme, a youth interest group, as well as the Taman Jurong Community Club Youth Executive Committee Recycling Project 2019. (Please refer to the Annex for more details.)

 

Leveraging the Transformational Possibilities of a Circular Economy

 

4 In August, MEWR launched Singapore’s inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan, which charts our strategies to build a sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient Singapore. A new waste reduction target was set for Singapore — to reduce the waste sent to Semakau Landfill by 30 per cent by 2030. If we can achieve this, we will be able to extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill beyond 2035.

 

5 In September, MEWR introduced the Resource Sustainability Bill in Parliament, which supports our strategies laid out in the Masterplan. The Resource Sustainability Act puts in place legislative powers to mandate key responsibilities for electrical and electronic waste, food waste, and packaging waste, including plastics. These are three priority waste streams identified by MEWR and the National Environment Agency (NEA), that are generated in large quantities but have relatively low recycling rates.

 

6 We are also investing in innovation and R&D to bring Singapore closer to our vision of becoming a Zero Waste Nation. Our efforts include the S$45 million ‘Closing the Waste Loop’ initiative, the upcoming Tuas Nexus which will harness synergies between water, waste and energy to maximise resource efficiency, and the development of NEWSand to close the waste loop. (Please refer to NEA’s media release for more details.)

 

Working together to change behaviours

 

7 A key part of reducing waste lies in changing consumer behaviour. In February, NEA launched a Food Waste Reduction campaign which partnered 25 hawker centres, supermarkets and schools to engage consumers at points-of-consumption. The campaign encouraged consumers to take three simple actions: (i) order only what you can finish; (ii) ask for less rice/noodles if you can’t finish them; and (iii) say ‘No’ to side dishes you won’t eat.

 

8 In June, NEA launched the nation-wide “Say YES to Waste Less” campaign to raise awareness of the impact of excessive consumption of disposables. For this campaign, NEA partnered 59 organisations to cover more than 1,600 premises, reaching out to millions of consumers to interrupt and nudge behaviour at points of consumption.

 

9 To encourage Singaporeans to recycle more and recycle right so as to reduce the waste sent to landfill, NEA also launched a new label for the blue recycling bins, which provides clearer information on what can and cannot be recycled. The label was a product of consultations with Singaporeans. All recycling trucks from the public waste collectors have also been refreshed with new identical livery so that the public can readily differentiate recycling trucks from other waste collection vehicles.

 

10 To make recycling more convenient and to encourage households to form the habit of recycling, NEA has been partnering IKEA Singapore since August to provide residents of Build-to-Order flats in new HDB precincts with a free household recycling bin. NEA and F&N Foods have also jointly launched the “Recycle and Save Programme”, which will see the progressive rollout of 50 reverse vending machines across Singapore in the coming months. The programme offers Singaporeans a convenient and rewarding way to recycle empty plastic drink bottles and aluminum drink cans.

 

11 In September, MEWR convened its first Citizens’ Workgroup to co-develop ways to improve household recycling. The Workgroup has submitted nine key ideas for MEWR’s consideration. MEWR and NEA will be working with the Workgroup members to further develop and implement their ideas, including plans to follow up on four pilot projects. (Details at www.towardszerowaste.sg/citizens_workgroup/).

 

Whole-of-nation effort for a Sustainable Singapore

 

12 At today’s event, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Mr Masagos Zulkifli expressed his appreciation for the support of the 3P (People, Private and Public) sectors, and stressed the importance of working with industry and the community to build a resource-resilient and climate-resilient Singapore. He said: “The Government can make the right policies, but we need the strong partnership of all stakeholders, including our partners here today, to take effective climate action. This is a whole-of-nation effort.”

 

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ANNEX

 

Key initiatives in the Year Towards Zero Waste

 

Policy initiatives

Zero Waste Masterplan

In August 2019, MEWR launched the Zero Waste Masterplan, which maps out Singapore’s path towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation. The Masterplan outlined our key strategies to manage three priority waste streams – electrical and electronic waste (or e-waste), food waste and packaging waste, including plastics. These are the types of waste that we generate in high quantities but recycle little of.

 

In formulating the Masterplan, MEWR and NEA sought views from diverse stakeholders, including companies, non-governmental organisations, households and youths. We consulted more than 250 companies through industry engagements, conducted door-to-door surveys with more than 5,000 households, received more than 1,300 contributions through our online public consultation, and held seven focus group discussions and a dialogue.

 

Resource Sustainability Act

In September 2019, Parliament passed the Resource Sustainability Act, which gives legislative effect to our regulatory measures targeting the three key waste streams. The Act extends the regulation upstream, and sends an economic signal to producers to take into account their impact on the environment.

 

Under the Resource Sustainability Act, producers of packaged products will need to report data on the packaging used, and submit plans to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging. This will be implemented in 2020. We will also impose the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework on producers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) in 2021, and mandate the segregation and treatment of food waste by large food waste generators by 2024.

 

Raising public awareness

#RecycleRight campaign

As part of the Year Towards Zero Waste, MEWR and NEA embarked on a #RecycleRight movement to improve Singaporeans’ knowledge of recycling. The #RecycleRight movement sought to address the contamination of the blue recycling bins by raising public awareness of: 1) the need to ensure that recyclables deposited into blue recycling bins are free from food and liquids; 2) what can and cannot be placed into the blue bins.

 

To support the movement, NEA has redesigned the labels on the blue recycling bins to provide clearer information on what can and cannot be deposited in the bins. The replacement of the labels is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

 

To make recycling more convenient and to encourage households to form the habit of recycling, NEA has been partnering IKEA Singapore since August 2019 to provide residents of Build-to-Order flats in new HDB precincts with a free household recycling bin. This bin, redeemable via a voucher at IKEA Singapore stores, will make it easier for residents to recycle in their homes.

 

Food Waste Reduction Campaign

As part of the Year Towards Zero Waste, NEA partnered 25 hawker centres, supermarkets (such as Dairy Farm Singapore, NTUC FairPrice, Prime Supermarket and Sheng Siong Supermarket), schools and Institutes of Higher Learning, to engage consumers at points-of-consumption, to encourage them to reduce food waste through three simple actions:

 

1. Order only what you can finish

2. Ask for less rice/noodles if you can’t finish them

3. Say ‘No’ to side dishes you won’t eat.

 

The campaign made use of visual reminders such as wobblers, table-top stickers and pillar wraps. An edutainment web series that inspired viewers to incorporate food waste reduction practices into their day-to-day lives was also produced.

 

3P (People, Private, Public) efforts

Towards Zero Waste Grant

In early 2019, a Towards Zero Waste Grant was set up to support ground-up initiatives that drive waste reduction efforts or encourage households to recycle right. The grant supported individuals, groups and organisations in projects to facilitate dialogues and gather feedback, or galvanise the community to adopt greener habits. It also supported the development of mobile applications that provided innovative ways for people to take action to reduce waste and #RecycleRight.

 

As of 12 November 2019, the Towards Zero Waste Grant had supported 270 events and projects.

 

One project supported by the Towards Zero Waste Grant is the Bread Without Bags initiative by Project bECOme, a youth interest group. The initiative aimed to promote bringing one's own reusable containers and bags to buy bread. A Bread Without Bags Fair was held at City Square Mall on 20 and 21 July 2019 to rally the public to Bring Your Own (BYO). The initiative also reached out to more than 20 bakery brands to try out a BYO scheme at their stores.

 

Another project that was supported was the Taman Jurong Community Club Youth Executive Committee Recycling Project 2019. The project encouraged Taman Jurong residents to reduce, reuse and recycle the items within their homes. Student and youth volunteers visited more than 8,000 HDB households on 1 June 2019 to collect items such as newspapers, clothes, books and portable electronic waste items. A bazaar was also held at the Taman Jurong Community Club, where residents could purchase donated items at affordable prices. Proceeds went to the Taman Jurong Welfare Fund.

 

Say YES to Waste Less

NEA launched the nation-wide “Say YES to Waste Less”campaign on 8 June 2019 to raise awareness of the impact of excessive consumption of disposables and the need for reduction.

 

One of the key areas of action for this campaign is to interrupt and nudge behaviour at points of consumption. To this end, NEA has partnered 59 organisations such as food and beverage establishments, malls/retail chains, e-retailers, supermarkets, hotels, educational institutions, Community Development Councils and NGOs, which covered more than 1,600 premises reaching out to millions of consumers.

 

#RecycleRight Citizens’ Workgroup

In September 2019, MEWR convened our first #RecycleRight Citizens’ Workgroup comprising 48 Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds, to look at ways to improve household recycling. The Workgroup marked a new chapter in our citizen engagement efforts. This new engagement mode allowed us to tap on our stakeholders’ unique strengths, experiences and ideas, to co-create and co-deliver pragmatic solutions which work for Singapore.

 

MEWR provided a detailed response to the Workgroup’s recommendations on 23 November 2019, including plans to follow up on four pilot projects identified from the broad range of recommendations. The pilot projects will be formalised by the first quarter of 2020.

 

 

 

 


 

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