Local firm with integrated waste plant an example of business 'growing green': Chan Chun Sing

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (in blue shirt) in a highly automated laundry room during his visit to 800 Super on March 11, 2021. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - In January, local waste management company 800 Super was awarded a US$46 million (S$61.7 million), 10-year contract to expand its business into Cambodia.

To support its waste collection and road cleaning operations in Phnom Penh, the company will be bringing on board another local small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), iZeem, which will help in managing its fleet of vehicles.

The company was cited by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Thursday (March 11) as an example of how local companies can expand overseas by adopting sustainable practices, and support other home-grown firms in the process.

Mr Chan, who was on a visit to 800 Super's waste management plant in Tuas, noted that the company has developed a competitive edge by using energy produced by the waste treatment process to provide carbon-neutral industrial laundry services.

"Once we have achieved the standards required, then we can go forth to other parts of the region to also provide such services, which will become increasingly important in the region," he said.

"This is a very nice model of how we envisage our businesses going green and growing green in the process."

On its part, the Government will continue to support companies like 800 Super through Enterprise Singapore's (ESG's) various schemes to expand overseas, such as the Market Readiness Assistance and Enterprise Development Grant, said Mr Chan.

ESG will also help companies adopt internationally recognised standards and certifications, to increase their competitiveness and enhance market access locally and internationally.

Last year, ESG supported more than 15,000 enterprises with their transformation efforts - a 50 per cent increase from the previous year. It also enhanced the support levels of their loan schemes and worked with financial institutions to approve loans totalling $18 billion for 21,000 enterprises.

Demand for services from the waste management sector will continue to grow in Singapore and worldwide, as more look to sustainable waste management methods.

The global waste management market, valued at US$2 trillion in 2019, is expected to reach $2.3 trillion by 2027. Similarly, the market for the management of waste such as plastic, food and electronics, is also expected to grow substantially in the next few years.

In Singapore, there are about 2,100 companies in the environmental services sector employing more than 80,000 workers in cleaning, waste management and pest management.

When asked what can be done to attract more locals to join the burgeoning sector that has faced persistent manpower challenges, Mr Chan said one way is to transform the sector.

For example, 800 Super's integrated plant was designed by in-house engineers, who ensured that "nothing goes to waste" from its sludge treatment and biomass treatment plant.

"The energy produced, the steam produced as a by-product, is now used for the laundry service," he said.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing in a highly automated laundry room during his visit to 800 Super on March 11, 2021. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

"These kinds of interesting engineering problems and challenges should be able to help attract another generation of young engineers to come and join this industry."

Secondly, when companies succeed in expanding overseas, they will create opportunities for Singaporeans to not only work locally, but also globally, said Mr Chan.

"It will also help Singapore to attract the best engineers from around the region or around the world to come and complement our talent pool in developing this industry," he added.

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