On 25th July 2020, the new government in Singapore was appointed and there had been a few changes among the ministries. Grace Fu Hai Yien has now been appointed Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources has been renamed accordingly) and Dr. Amy Khor is maintained as the Senior Minister of Sustainability and Environment.
In the following weeks of the nomination, the new Minister for Sustainability made a few speeches where she reinforced the commitment of the government to pursue several initiatives and reminded the industry about existing programs. Below are some of the key points related to waste management and resource efficiency .
The Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment and the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been actively promoting the use of reusable containers in place of disposable. This included the following:
- From September 2018, NEA has disallowed the use of disposables in dine-in meals at all its new hawker centres and for cooked food stallholders. https://www.nea.gov.sg/media/readers-letters/index/nea-strives-to-design-and-encourage-environmentally-sustainable-hawker-centres-and-reduce-consumption-of-disposables
- A nation-wide “Say YES to Waste Less campaign” was launched in 2019 to encourage consumers to bring along reusables and decline disposables when ordering food for takeaway or delivery. https://www.nea.gov.sg/programmes-grants/events-calendar/past-events/index/launch-of-say-yes-to-waste-less
- A Citizens’ Workgroup by the Ministry and NEA was established to investigate measures to reduce the excessive consumption of disposables. https://www.nea.gov.sg/media/news/news/index/nea-to-convene-a-citizens-workgroup-to-tackle-the-excessive-consumption-of-disposables
The Ministry is committed in its three-pronged approach to fight climate change and build a more sustainable Singapore: climate resilience, resource resilience, and economic resilience.
- The government recognised the work of the National University of Singapore (NUS) which has launched its Sustainability Strategic Plan in 2017. Since then, it has achieved progresses in carbon emissions reduction and energy efficiency, as well as implementing recycling initiatives, particularly for food waste, horticultural waste, and e-waste. https://uci.nus.edu.sg/oes/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2018/09/NUS_Sustainability_Strategic_Plan_2017_2020.pdf
The government reaffirmed its will to partner with businesses in their sustainability journey. She reminded the existence of many grants and schemes that companies can tap on to help organisations adopt greener systems – to reduce carbon footprint, adopt circular economy strategies, and become more energy efficient.
- For instance, the NEA supports companies through the 3R Fund, to implement projects to reduce the amount of waste incinerated. Projects could include the redesigning of processes to reduce waste at the production stage, or the installation of innovative waste sorting or recycling systems. https://www.nea.gov.sg/programmes-grants/grants-and-awards/3r-fund
- The Minister acknowledged the Grand Hyatt which recycles food waste into pathogen-free organic fertilisers. https://www.hyatt.com/content/dam/hotel/propertysites/assets/grand/sinrs/documents/en_US/home/ Grand-Hyatt-Singapore-Sustainability-Efforts.pdf
- The Minister also acknowledged the creation of the F&B Sustainability Council to address environmental issues in the industry. The Council held its first meeting earlier this year, where local F&B operators discussed green solutions, including the idea of pooling food waste across different F&B premises for treatment in a central digester. https://www.super-loco.com/locogreensteps.htm
It is great to see that the new government is committed to pursuing the effort from the previous one in terms of sustainability and a zero-waste nation. Overall, no real changes. Let’s see if the new government will consider pursuing higher targets in recycling and better use of resources for companies in the near future.
On our side, Zero Waste City stays committed to support businesses in improving their performances in resource use efficiency in order to reduce waste and save money.