Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on Recyling Rate by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment in relation to the Zero Waste Masterplan’s target of achieving an overall recycling rate of 70% by 2030 (a) what is the breakdown of our recycling rate targets by waste type; (b) what is the target recycling rate for plastics; and (c) what are the pathways to raising the plastic recycling rate from 6% today to the intended 2030 target.
1 In a resource- and carbon-constrained world, recycling enables us to reduce emissions and achieve a circular economy. Under the Zero Waste Masterplan, we have set a target to achieve a national recycling rate of 70% by 2030, which is supported by targets to increase the domestic recycling rate to 30% by 2030 and the non-domestic recycling rate to 81% by 2030.
2 We are focusing efforts on three priority waste streams, namely packaging waste including plastics, electronic waste and food waste. Plastics are generated in large quantities, but the recycling rate is low. We have various initiatives to drive plastics recycling on both the domestic and industrial fronts. The National Recycling Programme caters to residential premises, while the Mandatory Packaging Reporting scheme encourages companies to reduce the amount of packaging they use. Under this scheme, large producers of packaged products and retailers must report the amount of packaging they introduce into Singapore annually and develop 3R – or Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – plans for packaging materials including plastics.
3 Members of the public will have more opportunities to contribute to plastics recycling under the upcoming beverage container return scheme, which will encourage the return and recycling of beverage containers such as plastic bottles. This scheme is expected to be in place by mid-2024 and will help cultivate recycling habits amongst the community and enable us to aggregate clean and high-quality recyclables. Similar schemes in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Lithuania have achieved return rates of 80% or higher.
4 Agencies are also exploring innovative solutions with the private sector that will allow us to recycle more plastics. One such initiative is chemical recycling which can process plastics that cannot be mechanically recycled, such as contaminated single-use plastics and convert these into feedstock to manufacture new products like plastics, chemicals and even sustainable aviation fuels.
5 We will need everyone’s collective efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, in order to achieve our national recycling rate target.