Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on National Recycling Programme by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) whether there is an update on the progress and plans to scale up the National Recycling Programme; (b) whether the frequency for collection of recycling bins at HDB estates can be increased to more than three times weekly; (c) whether the Recycle Right Campaign launched in 2019 has been effective; and (d) what are the ways that proper use of recycling bins by the public can be further improved.
1 My Ministry’s approach to improving household recycling is to make recycling more convenient for everyone and to encourage households to recycle right. All HDB blocks, all private landed properties, as well as condominiums/ private apartments that opt in to the National Recycling Programme (NRP), have been provided with blue recycling bins by the Public Waste Collectors (PWCs). Since 2014, all new HDB blocks have also been fitted with recycling chutes. To complement the NRP, recycling bins have been deployed beside litter bins in non-residential public areas such as traffic junctions, near MRT station exits and selected areas in the Central Business District. New initiatives, such as the e-waste Extended Producer Responsibility scheme and the proposed beverage container return scheme, complement the NRP by providing avenues for households to recycle e-waste and beverage containers as dedicated waste streams. We will continue to track the progress of the NRP and review it from time to time.
2 We continue to face challenges such as contamination of the recyclables collected, when items containing food or liquid waste are disposed of in recycling bins. Non-recyclable items such as soft toys and clothing are also mistakenly placed in recycling bins. To improve household recycling behaviour, NEA launched the inaugural Recycle Right Campaign in 2019. In January 2022, NEA introduced a new recycling mascot, Bloobin, as well as educational and user-friendly content to encourage the community to cultivate right recycling habits. A search engine has also been developed to help residents search for and identify items that can be recycled (www.go.gov.sg/recycleright). From the recycling data collected, there has been a decrease in the contamination rates since the campaign launched in Jan 2022.
3 Since April 2020, the frequency of recyclables collection for the 660-liter recycling bins at HDB estates has been raised to at least three times weekly, to keep pace with the recycling rate. Side-loading recycling bins with three times the usual capacity have also been introduced in estates where space allows, with a collection frequency of once a week due to its larger capacity. We are working with the PWCs to deploy more resources to collect recyclables from locations with a higher recycling rate.
4 Recycling, which is an integral part of our efforts to develop a truly circular economy, is a whole-of-nation effort. To support the community to increase the domestic recycling rate, MSE and NEA have collaborated with the Singapore Institute of Technology to design a compact recycling container for households to better collect and sort recyclables at home. More details on the distribution of the recycling containers will be announced when ready. I encourage everyone to tap on this initiative and to recycle right.