Every S'pore household to get a free recycling bin, distribution starts in 2nd half of 2022

It's good to start recycling but it's even more important to recycle right.

Fiona Tan | January 17, 2022, 04:52 PM

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Every household can expect a free recycling bin soon as part of an effort to raise household recycling rate in Singapore.

Every household to receive recycling bin

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will be teaming up with local Public Waste Collectors to distribute one recycling bin to each household.

This is to encourage more households in Singapore to recycle.

NEA said the distribution drive will take place in the second half of 2022, and more details will be announced at a later stage.

Separately, transparent recycling bins were trialled at Hong Kah North Single Member Constituency and East Coast Group Representative Constituency.

Many households in Singapore recycle regularly but not everyone gets it right

NEA also released some findings from their 2021 survey on household recycling.

The survey reveals that three in five households in Singapore are recycling regularly.

NEA noted that most households were aware that common recyclables from home, such as shampoo or detergent bottles, beverage cartons, glass bottles and plastic egg cartons, can be deposited into the blue recycling bins.

More people are also aware of how recyclables were sorted at central sorting facilities, from 57 per cent of this who were surveyed in 2018 to eight out of 10 households in 2021.

Over the same time period, fewer households had the misconception that recyclables were mixed with general waste and incinerated, from 12 per cent in 2018 to six per cent in 2021.

However, it seems like some in Singapore are still unsure of how to recycle right.

NEA reported that 72 per cent of those surveyed were not aware that they do not have to sort their recyclables before depositing them into the blue recycling bins or recycling chutes, while around 50 per cent thought that soft toys and Styrofoam items could be recycled.

Why do we not need to sort our recyclables in Singapore?

Singapore has a single-stream recyclables collection system. This means households can deposit the following four types of recyclables – paper, plastic, glass and metal – into the blue recycling bins without segregation.

NEA said this saves households from the effort for separating their recyclables, and also reduces the carbon footprint of collecting separated recyclables, which may require more truck trips.

All HDB, condominium and private apartments are equipped with one recycling bin per residential block, while each landed house has a dedicated recycling bin. Some HDBs are also equipped with recycling chutes.

Both the recycling bins and trucks that collect recyclables are coloured blue to differentiate them from the general waste bins and the refuse collection trucks.

While this has made recycling more convenient for the public, only around 60 per cent of the contents deposited into the blue recycling bins, and recycling chutes, can be recycled.

The other 40 per cent cannot be recycled as they may have been contaminated by food and liquid waste, or they are non-recyclables.

New recycling mascot "Bloobin" to educate public

To encourage people to recycle right in Singapore, NEA unveiled a new recycling mascot named Bloobin.

Image courtesy of NEA.

Interactive educational resources such as an e-activity book and e-games will be made available to nurture proper recycling habits in pre-schoolers and older students respectively too, NEA said.

An Inter-Institutes of Higher Learning challenge, "Ready, Set, Recycle", will also be launched to mobilise youth to take action for recycling.

NEA said it is also collaborating with the community, non-Governmental organisations, corporate and industry partners to encourage the public to recycle more and recycle right, as well as to explore and implement new methods of making recycling convenient in neighbourhoods and homes.

The need to reduce waste sent to Pulau Semakau

Besides the blue commingled recycling bins, bins dedicated to collect unwanted or faulty electronic products were distributed around Singapore as part of a nationwide e-waste management system launched on Jul. 1, 2021.

NEA said these recycling initiatives will divert waste away from Semakau Landfill, which is expected to be full by 2035, should Singapore continue at its current rate of waste generation and disposal.

Singapore aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to Semakau Landfill by 20 per cent per capita per day by 2026, and achieve a 70 per cent overall recycling rate by 2030 as part of the Zero Waste Masterplan and Green Plan 2030.

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Top image via Desmond Tan's Facebook