What does the Ministry do to reduce the use of plastic bags in Singapore?
The Ministry works closely with the National Environment Agency (NEA), to engage environmental groups and retailers to implement ground-up initiatives, to reduce the consumption of plastic bags. NEA continues to step up collaboration with organisations to implement outreach and publicity initiatives that encourage consumers to only take what they need, and bring their own reusable bags and containers.
NEA commissioned a life-cycle assessment study, which found that alternatives to plastic bags, including paper bags and biodegradable bags, also have negative environmental effects. Substituting plastics with these alternatives may not lead to better environmental outcomes. Hence, a more sustainable approach is to tackle the excessive consumption of all types of packaging waste, including plastic. NEA will be implementing the mandatory packaging reporting in 2020. Businesses that place packaging on the consumer market will be required to report annually on the types and amounts of packaging materials they are placing on the market, and their packaging waste reduction plans. This aims to bring greater awareness to companies on the potential for waste reduction within their business operations and spur them to take action to reduce the amount of packaging used and packaging waste disposed of. The Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) was also launched as a joint initiative by the Government, industry and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to reduce packaging waste, which constitutes about one-third by weight of Singapore’s domestic waste. The agreement provides flexibility for the industry to adopt cost-effective solutions to reduce waste. Companies which are interested to join the agreement, or would like to find out more information about the SPA, may visit NEA’s website here. Individuals can also make a positive difference by consciously choosing to use fewer plastic bags, using reusables instead of disposables, recycling plastic waste, and choosing products with reduced packaging. Through this multi-pronged approach and collective measures by various stakeholders, we hope to reduce the amount of waste generated in Singapore.
How do I dispose my electronic waste (e-waste) such as smartphones and computers?
Besides the various takeback schemes by companies to collect unwanted electronic items for recycling, used items which are in serviceable condition can be donated, sold or exchanged at various collection centres.
You are encouraged to make use of the various e-waste recycling programmes voluntarily offered by industry stakeholders. Simply drop your e-waste at the recycling points to give them a second lease of life. You can find out more about the various recycling programmes at the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) website here.
How do I dispose of bulk refuse?
If you live in a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat, you may contact your Town Council (TC) to follow up on the removal of the bulk refuse in your precinct.
Visit OneMap to find out which TC your precinct is under.For disposal of bulk refuse at private or commercial properties, you may contact your Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) or the building management. For further enquiry, you may contact the National Environment Agency (NEA) via their feedback form.
What happens to the rubbish we dispose from our household?
Household waste is collected by Public Waste Collectors (PWCs) and then sent to the various waste-to-energy plants for incineration. Incineration reduces the volume of solid waste by about 90% and produces steam that runs turbine-generators to generate electricity.
The incinerated ash and other non-incinerable wastes are then transported to the Tuas Marine Transfer Station (TMTS) for the barging operation to Semakau Landfill where they are disposed of.
Why does the ministry not impose a charge on the use of plastic bags?
To conserve resources and reduce the amount of waste, we encourage public to take only what they need, and reuse their plastic bags. In Singapore, plastic bags are reused by households to bag their refuse, such as food waste, before disposing of into the refuse chute. This helps to avoid spillage, odour and pest infestation during waste collection. Plastic bags are properly incinerated and do not end up directly in the landfill.
Click here to learn more about waste management.