Have a chute each for main recyclables

I am heartened by the Government's efforts to promote a recycling mindset with the installation of new waste chutes in upcoming private apartments (Upgraded waste system for new private apartments; March 9).

Private apartment blocks with more than four storeys must soon have two waste chutes - one for recyclables and the other for trash that will be incinerated.

By making it more convenient to recycle, the Government hopes to make the practice part of the people's lifestyle.

Singapore's latest recycling rate for domestic waste stands at 21 per cent as of last year, according to National Environment Agency statistics. This is a slight increase from 2015's 19 per cent.

While this is an encouraging sign, more can be done for Singapore to be on a par with other parts of Asia in recycling, such as Taiwan and Japan.

Education from a young age is one way in which recycling can be integrated into one's lifestyle.

In Japan, primary schools feature lessons where the pupils are taught by elders from the community on the proper ways of recycling, and its value.

An issue which may arise from the installation of the new waste chutes is that the recyclable materials still have to be separated after they have been collected.

One way to ensure that recycling is done properly is to install dedicated chutes for the different recyclable materials.

This could be modelled after the National University of Singapore residential colleges' waste chutes, where there are three dedicated chutes for different materials: one for recyclable plastic, one for recyclable paper and one for general waste.

Perhaps this could be considered for developments in future housing estates.

Arie Chooi Bo Wen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2017, with the headline 'Have a chute each for main recyclables'. Print Edition | Subscribe