Press Releases

MEWR’s Inaugural Masterplan Charts Singapore’s Path Towards A Zero Waste Nation

Masterplan sets target to reduce waste sent to Semakau Landfill by 30% by 2030, to help extend Semakau’s life-span beyond 2035

Singapore, 30 August 2019 – Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Amy Khor, unveiled Singapore’s inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan today at a launch event organised in partnership with the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS). The Masterplan maps out Singapore’s key strategies to build a sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient nation. This includes adopting a circular economy approach to waste and resource management practices, and shifting towards more sustainable production and consumption.

New Zero Waste Target to #SaveSemakau

2          The amount of waste disposed of in Singapore has increased seven-fold over the last 40 years. At this rate, Semakau Landfill, Singapore’s only landfill, will run out of space by 2035. There is limited land for building new incineration plants or landfills in Singapore. Furthermore, the incineration of waste, while efficient and avoids the problems of land and marine contamination, generates carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change. The Masterplan has set a new waste reduction target for Singapore – to reduce the waste sent to Semakau Landfill each day by 30 per cent by 2030 -  which will help to extend Semakau Landfill’s lifespan beyond 2035. 

3          This is in addition to existing targets under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint to increase our overall recycling rate to 70 per cent, non-domestic recycling rate to 81 per cent and domestic recycling rate to 30 per cent by 2030.

4          While ambitious, these targets are achievable if the various measures outlined in the Masterplan are implemented successfully. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) has introduced the Resource Sustainability Bill in Parliament. The Bill will give legislative effect to the regulatory measures targeting the three priority waste streams of electrical and electronic waste, food waste and packaging waste including plastics.

Developing local recycling capabilities and creating jobs

5          Adopting the circular economy approach will enable Singapore to close our resource loops by turning trash into treasure – this means recycling, creating value and manufacturing useful products out of waste. Such an approach will create new economic opportunities, industries and jobs for Singaporeans. Companies will also be able to tap into the regional and global markets brought about by a circular economy.

6         One of the key strategies highlighted in the Masterplan is the development of local recycling capabilities to support our plans. A recycling landscape study commissioned by the National Environment Agency (NEA) last year identified opportunities for growth in Singapore’s recycling capabilities. NEA is exploring the establishment of local e-waste recycling facilities for large household appliances, household batteries and lamps. NEA is also studying the development of local recycling capabilities for plastics, and has conducted a closed-door industry consultation session on this today. In addition, NEA is exploring plastics recycling solutions and technologies available in the market, and assessing their suitability for adoption in Singapore.

New labels for blue recycling bins; new livery for recycling trucks

7          SMS Dr Amy Khor launched new labels for the blue recycling bins at the event today. The refreshed labels aim to convey more clearly what can and cannot be deposited in the bins, to reduce contamination of the recycling bins. The new labels were refined through consultations with Singaporeans. The current labels on bins will be replaced progressively and the replacement process is expected to be completed by mid-2020. (Please refer to Annex A for the design of the revised recycling bin label.)

8          All recycling trucks from the public waste collectors (PWCs) have been refreshed with new identical livery, to help the public readily identify recycling trucks and differentiate them from waste collection vehicles. Since August this year, they have been painted blue to match the blue recycling bin, and have a large recycling logo (the Mobius loop) and labelled “I am a recycling truck”. (Please refer to Annex B for examples of the blue recycling trucks.)

Towards a Zero Waste Nation: Everyone has a part to play

9          Achieving our vision of a Zero Waste Nation requires partnership with the People, Public and Private (3P) sectors to co-create and implement new solutions. In formulating the Masterplan, MEWR and the NEA had sought diverse views from 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 eight focus group discussions and dialogues. Next month, MEWR will convene a Citizens’ Workgroup to improve the way households recycle. More details on the Citizens’ Workgroup will be announced soon.

*The full Zero Waste Masterplan document is available at

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Annex A


New recycling bin label for the blue recycling bin

Annex B


Blue recycling trucks from the Public Waste Collectors (PWCs)