SINGAPORE: Commercial and industrial premises that generate a large amount of food waste will be required to begin segregating the waste for treatment from 2024, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor announced on Thursday (Mar 7).
This move would affect large hotels and malls, as well as large industrial developments housing food manufacturers, food caterers or food storage warehouses.
The move is part of Singapore's inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan, which will be released later this year.
In 2018, Singapore produced 763,000 tonnes of food waste, but only 17 per cent of this was recycled.
“We are now ready to expand food waste segregation, starting with larger food waste generators,” Dr Khor said in Parliament on Thursday.
“NEA (National Environment Agency) has started consulting the industry on requirements for food waste segregation for treatment," she added.
Food waste can be converted into animal feed, compost or fertiliser, non-potable water or biogas for energy production, MEWR said in a press release on Thursday.
“Segregating food waste for treatment also reduces odour and pest nuisances at premises, and reduces the contamination of recyclables by food waste, allowing for greater resource recovery,” it added.
Dr Khor said owners of the affected premises will be able to choose the food waste treatment method that best suits their operations. This includes using on-site treatment systems, recycling food waste into animal feed, or sending the waste off-site for treatment.
From 2021, MEWR and NEA will also work with with large public sector building owners with food and beverage outlets to implement food waste segregation for treatment.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS MUST SET ASIDE SPACE FOR TREATMENT SYSTEMS
Dr Khor also announced that it will be mandatory from 2021 for developers of new large food waste generators to include space for on-site food waste treatment systems when they submit their building plans.
“The adoption of such systems will allow for the closed-loop management of food waste at these premises, where the food waste could be converted to compost for landscaping purposes or water for non-potable uses,” MEWR said.
MEWR and NEA will also support premises owners and operators who choose to implement on-site food waste treatment systems before the mandatory requirements kick in.
For instance, NEA’s 3R Fund has already supported 23 premises in installing on-site food waste treatment systems that convert food waste into non-potable water compost or fertiliser.
MANDATORY WASTE REPORTING TO BE EXTENDED TO LARGE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENTS, CONVENTION CENTRES
Meanwhile, Dr Khor also announced that the mandatory waste reporting scheme will be extended to large industrial developments and convention centres.
This will apply to factories, warehouses and convention centres with gross floor areas of more than 20,000 square metres, 50,000 square metres and 8,000 square metres, respectively.
Those premises will be required to track the amount of waste they generate from 2020 and submit their first reports to NEA in 2021.
“There is potential for the owners and occupiers of these premises to reduce their waste generation and segregate their waste for recycling,” MEWR said, noting that the waste is usually homogenous and recyclable.
Owners and managers of large hotels and malls have been reporting their general waste data and waste reduction plans to NEA since 2014, with more than 90 per cent of covered hotels and malls having adopted recycling programmes.