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Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, at the Session to Discuss the Recommendations of the #RecycleRight Citizens' Workgroup, on 23 Nov 2019 at Temasek Shophouse

Good morning everyone.

 

It is a great pleasure to see all of you again.

 

2 Thank you Szue Hann for the insightful presentation. Miniwiz is at the forefront of the circular economy approach. The company has shown the transformational possibilities of closing the waste loop, by upcycling industrial and consumer waste like cigarette butts and plastic bottles into products of exceptional quality and design. This includes the furniture that you see here today.

 

3 Indeed, recycling is the fundamental enabler of a circular economy. It allows us to convert trash into treasure, and recover precious resources that would otherwise be disposed or adding to pollution. This is why we have chosen to work on improving our household recycling rate, through the Citizens’ Workgroup.

 

The Citizens’ Workgroup Journey

 

4 Our journey with you — the #RecycleRight Citizens’ Workgroup — has been meaningful and enriching. You have dedicated significant time and effort to find thoughtful solutions to improve household recycling in Singapore. Some of you have even conducted field trials to test and refine your ideas. The final report you submitted was beautifully put together. It is a reflection of your care and dedication to this effort. Congratulations on a job well done!

 

5 My colleagues at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) have studied your ideas in detail. Today we would like to provide our response to your recommendations, and the possible avenues for us to take them forward together.

 

Four pilot projects to improve household recycling

 

6 You have submitted a broad range of proposals in your final report — including more targeted education and awareness campaigns, engaging communities on a deeper level to effect change, and developing incentives to drive positive behaviours.   

 

7 We note that some of your ideas had complementary themes and approaches. To tap on potential synergies between the ideas, we have streamlined them into four pilot projects — “Developing A Sustainable Community”, “Piloting a New Blue Bin Design”, “Study of the Deposit Return Scheme (or DRS) System” and “Developing the #DabaoRight app”.

 

8 For example, under the “Developing A Sustainable Community” pilot, MEWR and NEA will identify suitable communities or neighbourhoods, and work with you and relevant stakeholders to trial the various community-based recommendations proposed by the Workgroup. These will include targeted outreach to foreign domestic workers and the elderly in the community to raise awareness on recycling, identifying and training community influencers and eco-champions to nudge behavioural changes towards recycling, and encouraging food waste segregation in the community. My MEWR colleague will be elaborating on these four projects after my speech.

 

9 We hope to formalise the four pilot projects and their scope of work by the first quarter of next year. We will trial these projects, evaluate their outcome before deciding if some of these initiatives could be scaled up.  To ensure the success of these projects, we need your continued support and participation. I would like to invite you to sign up for the projects and work with us to see your ideas through to fruition.

 

Working together towards a Sustainable Singapore

 

10 We are excited to embark on this next phase with you. We hope that you will keep the conversations going, and cherish the friendships and community that you have forged through this Workgroup. And do rally your family and friends to take positive action for the environment too!

 

11 In addition to working with you on implementing your ideas, we will provide regular updates on MEWR family’s initiatives, and invite you to our events. We also welcome any further suggestions and ideas to address our evolving environmental challenges.  We hope that you will become our Green Advocates and Champions in the community!

 

12 On behalf of the MEWR family, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to each and every one of you for joining us on this journey. This is just one of many steps, as we collectively work towards Singapore’s vision of a Zero Waste Nation. I look forward to seeing you again on Monday at our year-end appreciation lunch.

 

13 Thank you.

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