Singapore generated less waste in 2019, but recycling rate also fell: NEA

Singapore generated less waste in 2019, but recycling rate also fell: NEA

Recycling bin file photo
Recycling bins at a housing estate in Singapore. (File photo: Chew Hui Min)

SINGAPORE: The amount of waste generated in Singapore fell 6 per cent in 2019 compared to the previous year, but the overall recycling rate also fell, according to figures released by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Wednesday (Apr 15).

About 7.23 million tonnes of solid waste was generated last year compared to about 7.7 million tonnes in 2018, making this the third yearly reduction since 2017.

The non-domestic and domestic sectors both produced less waste, with reductions in plastic, textile and food waste.

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Of the 7.23 million tonnes of waste produced last year, about 4.25 million tonnes or about 59 per cent was recycled – a dip from the figure in 2018 when the recycling rate was 61 per cent.

This was led by a decrease in the recycling rate of paper and cardboard, which fell from 56 per cent in 2018 to 44 per cent in 2019.

"The market for recycled paper was affected by shrinking export markets and reduced demand for printing paper from increasing digitalisation," said NEA in its report.

"Given that 34 per cent of Singapore’s recyclables are exported, the status of the external market and policy of other countries towards recyclables would have a significant impact on our recycling rate."

READ: About 30% of Singapore’s recyclable waste exported overseas in 2018: Masagos

Among households, the recycling rate fell from 22 per cent in 2018 to 17 per cent in 2019, while the non-domestic recycling rate decreased from 75 per cent in 2018 to 73 per cent.

Singapore had designated 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, in a campaign that aimed to raise awareness of waste issues and the need to conserve resources.

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Close to 2,000 ground activities had been organised in support of the zero waste campaign, said the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. Collectively, the activities reached out to more than 670,000 people.

Source: CNA/mt(hs)

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