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.
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.
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.
- [ 9] https://eservice.nlb.gov.sg/item_holding.aspx?bid=12715042
-  https://www.mewr.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/grab-our-research/sgp2012_2006edition_new.pdf
-  https://www.mewr.gov.sg/docs/default-source/module/ssb-publications/41f1d882-73f6-4a4a-964b-6c67091a0fe2.pdf
-  https://www.nccs.gov.sg/media/publications/sustainable-singapore-blueprint
-  https://www.towardszerowaste.sg/images/zero_waste_masterplan.pdf
-  https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/home