NEA to implement mandatory packaging requirements to reduce waste in 3-5 years

Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli taking a group photo with winners of the 3R Packaging Awards.
Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli taking a group photo with winners of the 3R Packaging Awards. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli delivers his speech at the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore 2016.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli delivers his speech at the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore 2016. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) will be implementing mandatory packaging requirements within the next three to five years, to reduce packaging waste.

This will involve companies having to submit an annual report on the weight, volume and type of packaging a company put on the market, as well as waste reduction plans.

This takes NEA's Singapore Packaging Agreement a step further. The agreement, which is non-binding, was introduced in 2007 and has gathered 177 signatories so far. It has reduced packaging waste by more than 32,000 tonnes , amounting to $75 million in material costs.

Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced the mandatory requirements at the 3R Packaging Awards on Tuesday (July 12), when several companies were recognised for reducing packaging waste.

He commended the efforts of the signatories of the agreement but added: "However, the amount of packaging waste reduced- about 6,300 tonnes per year - constitutes less than 1 per cent of the annual amount of packaging waste disposed in Singapore. More needs to be done".

In Singapore, one-third of household waste comprises of packaging waste.

To come up with the mandatory requirements, the NEA engaged over 140 representatives from 100 organisations from various sectors including manufacturing, services, and food and beverage, between December last year and May this year.

The NEA said the response was positive and that it will work with the industry to further work out the details of the requirements.