Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Measures to Reduce Packaging Waste Generated from Increase in E-commerce
Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what is the projected growth in plastic and packaging waste arising from the explosive growth in e-commerce in recent years; and (b) what are the measures that are being taken to reduce such waste.
1 National Environment Agency (NEA) publishes Singapore's annual waste and recycling statistics. Plastic waste generated declined in 2019 and 2020, but paper and cardboard waste, which are common packaging materials, increased in 2020. This is likely due to the spike in e-commerce activities since the Circuit Breaker period. We do not have a breakdown of paper and plastic packaging waste arising from e-commerce.
2 Dealing with packaging waste is a priority for my Ministry. From this January, producers of packaged products and retailers with an annual turnover of more than $10 million are required to collect packaging data and develop plans to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging, and report the information to NEA by the first quarter of 2022. Companies covered by these Mandatory Packaging Reporting (MPR) requirements include Singapore-registered e-commerce companies, local companies that list their merchandise on e-commerce platforms, and online retailers and supermarkets.
3 MPR focuses companies' attention on the packaging that they place onto market and the potential for reducing packaging use in their operations. It lays the foundation to put in place an Extended Producer Responsibility framework to manage packaging waste by 2025.
4 To encourage companies to adopt more sustainable packaging practices, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation and NEA launched the Packaging Partnership Programme (PPP) in March. This industry-led programme facilitates the exchange of best practices in order to develop industry knowledge on the sustainable management of packaging waste. Some companies have already started taking measures to reduce packaging. For example, PPP member KrisShop, which also operates in the e-commerce space, recently employed a new light-weighting packing method to reduce the amount of packaging used. Through the PPP, online supermarket RedMart has shared its sustainable packaging practices, such as how it collects delivery carton boxes for recycling and reuse. More of such capability-building initiatives will be implemented to support industry to move towards sustainable packaging.