Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on PLastic Pre-Packaging of Fruits and Vegetables, on 5 October 2020
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment how will the Ministry engage with supermarkets and consumers to reduce plastic pre-packaging of fruits and vegetables.
Plastic pre-packaging for fruits and vegetables has practical uses, such as extending shelf life and minimising cross contamination. Nevertheless, my Ministry recognises the need to avoid excessive use of all packaging, including plastic pre-packaging.
Next year, we will implement the mandatory packaging reporting framework, where producers of packaged products as well as retailers such as supermarkets with an annual turnover of more than $10 million will have to submit packaging data and plans to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging. This will make companies more aware of their packaging use (including plastic pre-packaging of fruits and vegetables) and encourage them to minimise waste and reduce business costs. The reporting framework will lay the foundation for an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework to manage packaging waste including plastics, which will be put in place no later than 2025. The EPR ensures that producers are responsible for the collection and end-of-life management of the packaging materials for their products, and encourages producers to reduce the amount of packaging used.
To complement the regulatory measures, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is also encouraging supermarkets and consumers to reduce the use of packaging for grocery shopping through the “Say YES to Waste Less” national campaign. For example, a partner of this campaign, Dairy Farm Singapore, has provided visual cues at the fresh produce plastic roll stands to encourage customers to reduce usage of plastic bags when bagging fruits and vegetables. NEA is also raising awareness of packaging-free grocery stores such as Unpackt and Scoop, where consumers are encouraged to bring their own containers and buy what they need.
My Ministry and the NEA will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to reduce the consumption of all types of packaging and move towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation.