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Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what
measures will be in put in place to incentivise businesses to rely on
sustainable packaging material instead of single-use plastics; and (b) what steps
are being taken to deter or reduce the usage of single-use plastic containers
or plastic bags in Singapore.
Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli:
waste, including plastics, is one of the three priority waste streams in
Singapore. To tackle this issue, my Ministry and the National Environment
Agency (NEA) have adopted a holistic approach to reduce the excessive use of all types of packaging, not just
single-use plastics. We do not target plastics alone. The NEA conducted a life-cycle
assessment of single-use carrier bags and disposables and found that substituting
plastics with other types of single-use packaging materials is not necessarily
better for the environment. As such, our focus is to promote the use of
National Environment Agency (NEA) recently launched the nation-wide “Say YES to
Waste Less” campaign to drive awareness of the impact of excessive consumption
of disposables and the need for reduction. Some 1,600 premises, ranging from retailers,
food and beverage establishments, supermarkets, hotels, Community Development
Councils, grassroots organisations, schools and non-governmental organisations,
have come forward to partner NEA. Partners commit to actions such as prompting
customers to bring along reusables, encouraging them to decline disposable
cutlery with online orders and displaying campaign visuals at cashier points. NEA
has also launched the ‘Towards Zero Waste Grant’ to support individuals,
interest groups, non-governmental organisations, grassroots organisations and
corporations to initiate or scale up waste reduction and recycling initiatives.
upstream, starting next year, NEA will require brand owners, manufacturers and importers
of packaged goods, as well as supermarkets with an annual turnover exceeding
$10 million to report information on the packaging they place on the market, and
their plans for reducing, reusing or recycling packaging annually. This will
increase companies’ awareness of the potential for waste reduction in their
business operations. Companies should take action to reduce the amount of
packaging used, and minimise waste generation at source. This mandatory
reporting framework will also lay the foundation for an Extended Producer
Responsibility (EPR) framework for managing packaging waste including plastics,
which NEA will put in place no later than 2025.
reducing waste, we are taking actions to increase our recycling rate. For example, we are working with the industry
to tap on the Towards Zero Waste Grant to roll out 50 reverse vending machines starting
this year. Through this initiative, we hope to engage the public to consciously
recycle used PET bottles and aluminium cans.
the same time, we are developing the local recycling industry. We want to
better extract resources from waste and close the waste loop through a circular
economy approach. NEA is currently studying recycling solutions and
technologies, and assessing their suitability for adoption in Singapore. This
may include mechanical recycling to turn waste plastics into plastic pellets
for manufacturing new products, or chemical recycling to turn plastic waste into
chemical feedstock or fuel. The Government will work with industry stakeholders
to explore how these technologies can be applied to Singapore, such that it is
both environmentally and economically sustainable. These are efforts which could
help grow local enterprises and create good jobs for Singaporeans.
needs to play our part to reduce packaging waste, including single-use
can do this in different ways. For example, we can opt out of receiving
disposable cutlery when ordering food for takeaway or delivery, or we can bring
our own reusable bags and containers and take only the plastic bags we need. The
support of the public, businesses and the community is key to successfully
reducing our packaging waste.
Last updated: 06 Aug 2019
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