50 years of waste management in Singapore – waste management roadmaps

Like energy, waste, or food, waste management is an essential service for a community to sustain itself. Considering the land constraints and evolution of the population and society, the Singapore government must review and redefine the long-term strategy and goals of the city around waste management.

In the last 30 years, the government has redefined its waste management goals three times. Table 1 summarises those three frameworks and the main goals.

Table 1 - Major Sustainability Plans of Singapore
Table 1 - Major Sustainability Plans of Singapore
50 years of waste management in Singapore – waste management roadmaps
Cover of the three main sustainability plans of Singapore (The Green Singapore Plan 2012 - Revision 2006, Sustainable Singapore Blueprint – original revision 2009, Zero Waste Masterplan – original revision 2019)
Here is the list of the main engagements of the Singapore Green Plan 2012 and Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.
Engagements of the Singapore Green Plan 2012 and Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Although no engagement is taken, the Singapore Green Plan 2012 mentions the concept of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). An EPR is a framework in which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.

We will note that the terms “Extended Producer Responsibility” were recorded for the first time in Singapore parliament debates only in 2018.13

Furthermore, the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint does not mention the concept of EPR.

The concept of EPR is finally re-introduced in the Zero Waste Masterplan (2019) with the engagement to enforce an EPR on packaging waste no later than 2025.

Zero Waste Nation

The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint introduces the concept of a “Zero Waste Nation” although it does not define the terms or set any targets.

Again, the concept is mentioned in the Zero Waste Masterplan without being defined.

Review roadmap's objectives

In retrospect, we can see the successes and drawbacks of the different waste management roadmaps. For instance, as it can be observed in Figure 9, Singapore successfully achieved the recycling rate target defined in The Singapore Green Plan 2012: 60% overall recycling rate by 2012. However, it is unlikely that Singapore will meet the 2020 recycling target (65%) set in the 2009 Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.

The 70% overall recycling target by 2030 was reaffirmed in the 2019 Zero Waste Masterplan. As it can be observed in Figure 10, the recycling rate of both the domestic and no-domestic sectors have been very stable over the last 8 years. As a result, a paradigm shift will be necessary to significantly increase the recycling rate.

Singapore did pursue its work towards the industry and consumers by multiplying collaborative projects such as the Singapore Packaging Agreement, funding programs such as the 3R Fund, marketing campaigns such as the 3R Campaign. However, based on these roadmaps, it is difficult to determine if those programs have had a significant impact since 2012.

Figure 9 - Percentage of waste recycled, incinerated, or landfilled from 1999 to 2019
Figure 9 - Percentage of waste recycled, incinerated, or landfilled from 1999 to 2019
Figure 10 - Recycling rate of the domestic and non-domestic sectors from 2012 to 2019
Figure 10 - Recycling rate of the domestic and non-domestic sectors from 2012 to 2019

Future of the waste management in Singapore

The 2019 Zero Waste Masterplan introduces several policy changes and government initiatives to drive an improvement of the recycling rate of Singapore. Among the objectives defined by the Zero Waste Masterplan, the reduction of waste generation from the domestic sector by 30% is certainly of high interest. 

We will analyse the implications of the Zero Waste Masterplan’s goals in a later article.

Sources:

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About Zero Waste City

Zero Waste City is a consulting business specialised in waste reduction for commercial and industrial facilities. We help companies to save money by reducing waste and to achieve Zero Waste goals. Our services include:

Our services include:

  • Waste audit (quantifying waste streams and identifying immediate cost saving opportunities)
  • Compliance with regulations such as:
    • Mandatory Packaging Reporting
    • Mandatory Waste Reporting
    • Mandatory Food Waste Segregation
  • Project implementation and on-going support
  • Measurement and Verification of savings
  • Guidance to achieve Zero Waste goals and certifications.