NEWS

Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, to Parliamentary Question on Circular Economy on Waste-producing Sectors on 20 November 2018

Question:

Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To asked the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what is the circular economy framework in place for various waste producing sectors in Singapore including those for packaging and electronic products; (b) whether the current legislation is sufficient to sustain a circular economy in the waste sector; and (c) if not, whether there are plans to introduce further legislation.

Reply by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:

     The circular economy framework is aimed at closing resource loops and creating economic opportunities by maximising resource use and minimising waste. Key elements include sustainable production and consumption, as well as managing waste as a resource, such as by promoting the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. These elements are already embedded in our existing policies and form the basis of our strategy towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation. 

2    We will introduce new legislation to implement Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, for e-waste by 2021. EPR adopts circular economy principles by incentivising better design of electrical and electronic products to make them last longer and easier to recycle, while ensuring that these products are properly collected and recycled at their end-of-life. 

3    Another example of the circular economy is the industry-led Singapore Packaging Agreement, where companies commit to reduce packaging waste through changes in packaging processes, designs or usage practices, or recycling of packaging waste. We will build on this to introduce mandatory reporting of packaging data and packaging waste reductions plans in 2020. We are also studying the feasibility of extending EPR to manage packaging waste. 
 
4    Our industries have also adopted circular economy principles in their business models. For example, many construction companies recycle demolished concrete into aggregates which can be used to construct roads or manufacture concrete. In 2017, the recycling rate of construction and demolition waste was 99%. 

5    My Ministry is working on a Zero Waste Masterplan. We will consult our stakeholders, including households, businesses and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and invite feedback and ideas. At the same time, we can all play a part in the circular economy. Consumers can repair damaged furniture, appliances and clothes and prolong their use, or share less commonly used household items with neighbours. The industry should design products to last longer or to make recycling easier. Our NGOs can help rally the ground in this effort. With our combined efforts, we can move closer towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation. 

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