Cleaners the weakest link in recycling efforts

A cleaner sweeping up rubbish on a pavement in Oct 2018.
A cleaner sweeping up rubbish on a pavement in Oct 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

As someone who shares similar concerns as the Government on climate change, I welcome the target set by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to reduce the reliance on Semakau Landfill by increasing Singapore's recycling rate. (Singapore aims to cut waste sent to landfill by 30%, Aug 31).

To achieve this, everyone in the waste collection chain has to do his part.

The cleaners are the weakest link when it comes to ensuring that recyclables thrown in the recycling bins are sent for recycling, and not incinerated with normal trash.

The cleaner at my condominium empties the recyclables and dumps them into the normal trash bin.

It was only after I raised this with the condo's managing agent that I was told the cleaner would ensure recyclables are sent for recycling.

At shopping centres, cleaners routinely mix trash and recyclables when they go on their rounds to empty rubbish bins.

While NEA continues to issue regulations, generate publicity and place more recycling bins around, such efforts would be futile if cleaners do not send the recyclables for recycling.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2019, with the headline 'Cleaners the weakest link in recycling efforts'. Subscribe