Dr. Amy Khor, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources announced Zero Waste Masterplan on August 30, 2019. The plan aims to create a Zero Waste Nation through a circular economy approach. The plan has a specific numerical target of reducing the amount of waste sent to Semakau landfill by 30%, and aims to extend the life of the landfill, which is expected to run out of space by 2035. Currently, 2100 tons of waste are sent to Semakau landfill per day, and its life expectancy, originally estimated at 2045, has now been brought forward to 2035.
Minister Khor explained as follows that the Masterplan will support countermeasures against climate change. “We deplete scarce resources when we just produce, consume, and throw away products. This is because the mining, manufacturing, and transporting activities associated with the products emit greenhouse gases.” The Minister also said that the Resource Sustainability Bill would pass the Parliament next week and expressed her hope that the bill would serve as a regulatory framework to reduce three types of waste: electrical and electronic waste, food waste, and packaging waste.
The Masterplan also refers to the infrastructure. Currently, Singapore is exploring the possibility of building recycling facilities for e-waste including large appliances and lighting, as well as determining available plastic recycling solutions and technologies and their sustainability. “We believe there are economic and environmental opportunities in closing the plastic recycling loop and turning waste into resources,” Lee Bee Wah, a Member of Parliament for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency, commented on the masterplan. “We hope that this message will spread to every individual. Even the smallest effort is important in preserving our planet for future generations”.
On the same day, Minister Khor also announced new labels for recycling trucks and garbage containers. The recycling rate of household waste in Singapore has remained low at around 20 percent. Meanwhile, the recycling rate of waste in the industrial sector was 74% in 2018. The reason for the low recycling rate of household waste is that food waste is dumped into recyclable waste containers, contaminating the materials. In order to address this problem, recyclable waste containers are to be labeled stating that food and liquids should not be discarded. A spokesperson for the National Environment Agency (NEA) explained that if residents follow this instruction, the recycling rate will increase, and work efficiency of waste collectors will improve.
The chapters of the Masterplan are as follows, which can be viewed from the following URL.
Chapter 1 – Towards a Zero Waste Nation
Chapter 2 – Keeping our Resources Within a Closed Loop
Chapter 3 – A Circular Economy Approach to Closing Three Resource Loops
Chapter 4 – Optimising Infrastructure for Maximum Resource Recovery
Chapter 5 – Transforming the Environmental Services Industry
Chapter 6 – Shaping a Greener Future with Science and Technology
Chapter 7 – Towards a Zero Waste Nation, Together