The Singapore government plans to release its inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan later this year. The Masterplan will detail the government’s upcoming policies and plans, including in infrastructure and R&D. The Masterplan will cover the management of three waste streams:
Electrical and electronic waste: From 2021, producers that supply covered electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to the local market will be responsible for the end-of-life collection and treatment of their products. Suppliers of consumer EEE will be required to join a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO), which will be appointed by NEA, to collect and send e-waste for recycling. A single PRO will benefit from economies of scale, and lower the overall cost of the system. Collection targets will be imposed on the PRO, but penalties for failure to meet collection targets will only be enforced from 2024 to allow transition time.
Packaging waste: From 2020, producers of packaging and packaged products (i.e., brand owners, manufacturers, importers, and supermarkets) with an annual turnover of more than SGD 10 million (USD 7.4 million) will be required to report on the amounts and types of packaging they put on the market, and their plans to reduce, reuse and recycle them. This will lay the foundation for the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility framework which will be implemented by 2025.
Food waste: From 2024, large commercial and industrial food waste generators will be required to segregate their food waste for treatment. Such premises include large hotels and malls, and large industrial developments housing food manufacturers, food caterers and food storage warehouses. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) will work with the public sector to take the lead in segregating food waste for treatment in large public sector buildings where a significant amount of food waste is generated, from 2021 onwards. From 2021, developers of new developments which are expected to be large food waste generators will be required to allocate and set aside space for on-site food waste treatment in their design plans. They will also be required to implement on-site food waste treatment from 2024.
The new regulations are intended to send an economic signal to producers to take into account environmental externalities and facilitate resource recovery. They are expected to incentivize them to design products to last longer, improve recyclability, and reduce packaging.
(Sources: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore; Straits Times; Today)