Every evening Semakau Landfill, a man-made island, receives barges of ash from Singapore’s five waste incineration plants for disposal. This February the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) announced Semakau Landfill will run out of room by 2035, 10 years earlier than expected, and that there are no plans to replace it. Singapore will instead embrace a new waste infrastructure based on the principles of zero waste & circular economy. To this end, MEWR, in collaboration with the National Environment Agency (NEA), released it’s “Zero Waste Masterplan” calling on all sectors to contribute innovative plans “because it will take a whole-of-nation effort to achieve our vision of a Zero Waste Nation.” The masterplan phases in new regulations and governing bodies for Food, Electronic, and Packaging Waste over the next five years.
Capturing Opportunities for Biofuels & Compost
Of the 763,000 tonnes of food waste Singapore generated in 2018 only 17 percent was recycled. Put in perspective, Singapore’s food waste would yield approximately 1,700,000 barrels of biofuel. Alternatively, food waste could supply fertilizer to Singapore’s farms lowering agricultural cost, increasing output, improving quality and reducing use of chemical fertilizers. Creating a circular food waste experience starts with capturing the waste. This is where the masterplan’s new policies step in with new mechanisms aimed at achieving 100 percent food waste recycling. Starting 2021 all new developments will be required to set aside space for on-site food waste treatment and from 2024 commercial and industrial food waste generators will be required to segregate their food waste for treatment. .
Rich Nation = Valuable E-Waste
Singapore is consumer driven nation whose citizens dutifully upgrade their electronic devices. Singapore generates 60,000 tonnes of e-waste a year of which only 6 percent is recycled. Add that to the fact that the majority of Singapore’s E-waste comprise products under 10 years old; modern devices often incorporating gold, silver, rare earths and other valuable recyclable materials. Upgrading Singapore’s ability to capture E-waste is the masterplan’s first order of business. Starting 2021 producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) will be responsible for end-of-life collection and treatment as supervised by a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO). PRO’s will collect and send e-waste for recycling. The new regulations incentivize producers to design products that last longer, are easier to repair, dismantle and recover materials from to create a new source of recycled precious materials for Singapore’s high-tech manufactures.
Fully one-third of Singapore’s domestic waste is packaging. Singaporean consumers enjoy their premium products coming in premium packaging, so the masterplan will host capacity building programs to get consumers to demand that their favorite brands adopt sustainable/circular packaging. A new mandatory reporting framework requires producers of packaging and packaged products to report their plans to reduce, reuse and recycle the packaging they produce. Businesses are required to register with National Environment Agency by 2020 and submit their first report in 2021. This will lay the foundation for the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility framework scheduled for implementation by 2025.
What’s in it for Danish companies?
Small and Medium Enterprises within the Waste & Circular Economy are encouraged to participate in Singapore’s ‘Year of Zero Waste’ initiative through the Access Cities program. Singapore re-designing its Food, Electronic, and Packaging Waste infrastructure means opportunities for Danish throughout 2019 and beyond.
Singapore based challenges will be announced and presented with relevant information on our Access Cities: www.accesscities.org.
Access Cities in Singapore
Developing opportunities for Danish industry in Singapore meant putting “boots on the ground”, so in January, Quercus Group ApS launched a new Singaporean company, Quercus Group Pte Ltd. In March, the Quercus Group Pte Ltd became an official partner of the Danish Embassy in Singapore’s “Infrastructure Asia” team giving Quercus Group & its Access Cities partners an insider track to Singapore’s new “Infrastructure Asia Initiative”, a 10-year ASEAN mega program whose goal is to facilitate the annual investment of EU160 billion in South East Asian urban infrastructure through public/private partnerships. This collaboration secures an unprecedented opportunity for all levels of Danish industry to engage the South East Asian world.