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Plastic Recycling In Singapore: Bottles, Containers, And More



Singapore is taking serious strides in addressing the problem of managing plastic waste. With plastic consumption at an all-time high worldwide, plastic recycling in Singapore presents a model worth examining. So, let's delve into plastic recycling in this vibrant city-state.



State Of Plastic Recycling In Singapore

Singapore, a city known for its forward-thinking urban planning, has adopted numerous measures to improve recycling rates, especially concerning plastic waste.


Recycling Programs

First, let's talk about the National Recycling Programme. This program is initiated by government agencies and ensures that recycling facilities are within reach of every Singapore resident. From plastic packaging to PET bottles, many materials can be sorted and placed in the blue recycling bins spotted around the neighbourhoods. This simplifies recycling processes and encourages households to recycle their plastic waste actively.


Semakau Landfill

We must mention Semakau Landfill. This offshore solution for waste management has been handling a significant portion of Singapore's non-recyclable waste. However, the landfill's limited space has driven the nation to explore more sustainable solutions, such as boosting the recycling rate in Singapore. Looking at the recent statistics, around 3.20 million tonnes of waste were generated in 2022. Despite this daunting figure, Singapore's overall recycling rate witnessed a slight upward trend, rising from 55% in 2021 to 57% in 2022. Non-domestic recycling made a commendable leap, showing a 2% increase from 70% to 72% within the same time frame. On the flip side, domestic recycling recorded a slight dip, falling from 13% in 2021 to 12% in 2022. These figures underscore Singapore's ongoing efforts and challenges in managing plastic waste recycling.


Zero Waste Masterplan

Next in line is the Zero Waste Masterplan, launched in 2019. The plan aims at achieving a 30% reduction in the waste sent to the Semakau landfill by 2030. Key to this strategy is improving plastics recycling, turning discarded items like plastic bags and bottle caps into valuable resources.


Exporting Only Clean Plastic Waste

Singapore's dedication to responsible plastic waste management is further demonstrated by its decision to restrict the export of contaminated plastic waste. Stemming from the Hazardous Waste (Control of Export, Import and Transit) Amendment Bill passed in February 2020, Singapore now imposes stricter controls on the transboundary movement of mixed plastic waste. Now, exporters can only ship out plastic waste that is contaminated, difficult to recycle or mixed with other materials with prior consent from the receiving countries. Clean, homogeneous plastic waste that's pre-sorted and destined for recycling is excluded from this rule. It's a significant step that aligns Singapore with its obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.


Plastic Bag Charge

To further curb single-use plastics, Singapore made a significant stride in July 2023 by implementing a mandatory charge for plastic bags at supermarkets. For each disposable carrier bag, regardless of the material, customers must shell out a minimum of 5 cents. This does not apply to non-carrier bags used for fresh produce, meat, or seafood. While the implementation of this charge initially sparked debates, it has been largely well-received thus far. Nevertheless, it's still early days, and only time will tell how deeply this measure will influence Singaporeans' consumption habits. However, the underlying intention of the plastic bag charge is to cultivate a mindful approach towards resource usage. It nudges people to carefully consider their needs and take, or in this case buy, only what is necessary. As we watch this new chapter of environmental consciousness unfold in Singapore, it's hopeful to see the beginnings of a shift towards more sustainable consumer behaviour. This receptiveness to change aligns with an earlier sentiment expressed by Singapore residents in a National Environment Agency (NEA) survey conducted in September 2021. In the survey, approximately 90% of the 1,000 respondents agreed that they have a role to play in reducing the use of disposable bags. Over 80% agreed that the excessive use of these bags had a detrimental impact on the environment, while more than 70% believed that a mandatory charge would contribute to reducing usage. This shared belief among residents provides a sturdy foundation for these decisive steps taken by the city-state in the battle against excessive plastic waste.


Framework On Single-Use Plastics

Another pillar of Singapore's commitment to managing plastic waste is the Single-use Plastic Framework, introduced in 2020. This comprehensive strategy is primarily geared towards curbing the prevalent use of disposable plastic items, which are seen as one of the main contributors to the global plastic waste issue. The framework primarily targets common items such as straws, utensils, and containers, which often end up in waste streams after a single use. It encourages consumers and businesses alike to reconsider their reliance on these disposables, promoting behavioural change that could significantly reduce plastic waste generation.



How You Can Play Your Part In Singapore’s Plastic Waste Recycling

There are many avenues through which residents can actively contribute to plastic waste management. Singapore is dotted with various recycling facilities, including dedicated plastics recycling centres. Here are other tips to reduce your plastic consumption or increase your recycling rate:


1. Head To A Local Plastics Recycling Centre

Various recycling centres/facilities are peppered across Singapore. You can bring PET bottles, plastic bags, and other recyclables to these centres for proper processing. You can also head over to our plastic recycling facility at Semula-Asia where we can collect your plastic waste accordingly.


2. Use Reverse Vending Machines

This is a convenient and efficient way to recycle plastic bottles. The machines accept used plastic bottles and reduce them to smaller pieces for further processing. Remember to remove the bottle cap before recycling as it's made of a different type of plastic.


3. Participate In Awareness Campaigns

Stay updated with the various campaigns to educate Singaporeans on the importance of recycling plastic waste. Knowledge is power, and it empowers you to make environmentally conscious decisions. You can also participate in recycling talks and hands-on sustainability workshops hosted by Semula-Asia.


4. Recycle E-Waste

Don't just focus on plastic. Other items like e-waste also need proper disposal. Various government agencies provide designated collection points to drop off old electronics for appropriate treatment and recycling.


5. Reduce Food Waste

Try to minimise your food waste as much as possible. Composting is a great option if you have the facilities.


6. Recycle Right

Not all plastics are recyclable. While you can recycle plastic bottles in Singapore, fully understand what other materials can and cannot be recycled. When in doubt, check with the NEA guidelines or the recycling symbols on the items.


7. Be Mindful With Packaging

When shopping, choose products with less plastic packaging. If metal or other more sustainable packaging options are available, opt for those instead.



Sustainable Plastic Recycling In Singapore: Semula Asia

It's time to step up and make a real difference to the environment. Let Semula-Asia guide you in the right direction. As a plastic recycling company in Singapore, we're not just processing waste – we're starting a revolution in sustainable living. Our recycling processes transform your discarded plastics into materials ready for reuse, creating a cycle that breathes new life into what was once considered waste. Let's shape a sustainable future for Singapore together. Get involved with Semula-Asia today because every piece of plastic recycled is a step closer to a greener world.



Frequently Asked Questions About Plastic Recycling In Singapore


How Much Plastic Is Recycled In Singapore?

In 2022, Singapore achieved a domestic plastic recycling rate of about 6%.


Why Is Plastic Waste A Problem In Singapore?

Plastic waste presents a significant challenge in Singapore due to its high consumption rate and low recycling rate, leading to excessive waste generation and environmental pollution.


What Kind Of Plastic Can Be Recycled In Singapore?

In Singapore, recyclable plastics include PET bottles, HDPE containers, plastic bags and packaging materials. Plastic marked with recycling code 7 is typically not recycled.


Does Singapore Export Plastic Waste?

Singapore does export clean plastic waste for recycling in other countries. Singapore is committed to not exporting contaminated plastic waste.



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