China’s restrictions on low-quality waste imports revealed a broken global waste management system and the unsustainable practices of developed countries shipping their waste to developing ones for disposal. In the context of Singapore’s Year Towards Zero Waste and the dramatic changes in the recycling landscape, professionals worked together to relook and reimagine how we handle waste and ask critical questions about the future of recycling.
Eco Action Day is a business-led environmental initiative co-organised by Ricoh and Eco-Business. During this event, professionals explored the following questions:
- Can repurposed materials retain the same quality as virgin material?
- What are some innovative solutions today that will define the recycling of the future?
- Will a policy of extended producer responsibility fill the gaps when it comes to material innovation, design for recovery, and collection?
- What are viable solutions for decentralised and localised waste recycling and how can this be implemented in Southeast Asia, which is struggling to take on the world’s waste problems?
Several workshops were organised to cover the different aspects of the waste management spectrum, from the manufacturers to the consumers, and via the regulator.
Each workshop was facilitated by high-quality professionals and speakers:
- Mr Tan Meng Dui, CEO, National Environment Agency Singapore, for the regulators
- Mr Mohit Grover, Executive Director, Deloitte Singapore, for the social behaviours
- Ms Pek Hai Lin, Manager, Zero Waste SG, for the consumers
- Mr Tan Szue Hann, Managing Director, Miniwiz, for the innovations in the circular economy
- Mr Anirban Mukherjee, Director Global Packaging – Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson Consumer, for the manufacturers
Finally, the facilitators summarised the findings from each round tables in a panel discussion.
The roundtable for manufacturers
Zero Waste City joined the round table discussing the role of the manufacturer. Along with representants of Johnson & Johnson, Metabolic, Dyson, Australian Fruit Juice, Singapore Environment Council, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Deloitte, and Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, we highlighted the challenges faced when sourcing recycled materials and how the manufacturing of products affect the sorting at the recycling plants.
Overall, it was convened that the key areas where manufacturers can have the strongest impact are:
- Design of recyclability – designing products so they can be recycled once discarded by the consumer.
- Design of specification – specifying products so they do not include hazardous substances
- Include energy and material efficiency in their operating procedures.
During the conversation, we highlighted the challenge for the manufacturers and brand owners to know if their products are recyclable in the area where they are being used. Zero Waste City is supporting the launch of a Not-For-Profit organisation dedicated to this cause, Label for Recycling (L4R). L4R will give access to manufacturers and brand owners to assess the recyclability of their products in the Singaporean and Malaysian context (and then the rest of South-East Asia).
This event was inspirational as it showcased the commitment of businesses to tackle the sustainability challenges we are facing.
Recycling: The Road to Zero Waste?
Ricoh Asia Pacific (Ricoh), the Japanese multinational imaging electronics company, held its third Eco Action Day Roundtable today at the Ricoh Printing Innovation Centre, bringing together more than 60 government, senior business and academic leaders to address topics on sustainable waste management and recycling via a circular economy.
The title of this year’s roundtable was “Recycling: The Road to Zero Waste?”. Speakers and participants reimagined the future of recycling in Singapore and discussed potential solutions and actions to advance Goal 13 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) – climate action.
The following speakers are involved in this year’s roundtable discussion:
- Guest of Honour, Mr Tan Meng Dui, CEO of National Environment Agency
- Mr Anirban Mukherjee, Director Global Packaging of Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson Consumer
- Mr Mohit Grover, Executive Director of Deloitte Singapore
- Ms Pek Hai Lin, Manager of Zero Waste Singapore
- Mr Tan Szue Hann, Managing Director of Miniwiz
- Moderator, Mr Robin Hicks, Deputy Editor of Eco-Business
Please refer to the press release for more details.
The report of the roundtables can be found here.
Also, you can see the summary video here.