More being done to improve awareness of recycling

The NEA is refreshing the design of the labels on the blue recycling bin to improve the presentation of recycling information.
The NEA is refreshing the design of the labels on the blue recycling bin to improve the presentation of recycling information.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Victor Tan Thiam Siew for his letter (Review how recyclable waste is collected from bins, May 2).

Today, about 40 per cent of the contents in our blue recycling bins cannot be recycled because people deposit non-recyclables, such as tissue paper or items contaminated with food and liquids.

The food and liquids contaminate the recyclables and this wastes the effort of responsible residents.

Items such as clothes, shoes and toys are non-recyclables and should instead be donated if in good condition.

Mr Tan recounted how recyclables were collected door-to-door in recycling bags in the past. Besides being costly and time-consuming, fortnightly collection also required residents to store recyclables in their homes for up to two weeks. This method was also susceptible to problems such as pilfering of recyclables and theft of new recycling bags left outside flats.

This collection method was eventually replaced with the provision of recycling bins, allowing residents to deposit their recyclables at any time.

To make recycling more convenient, new HDB blocks, and non-landed private residential apartments of more than four storeys, will come with dual chutes, making recycling easier and as convenient as general waste disposal.

To maximise recycling efforts, we need to encourage the public to recycle right.

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) have launched the #RecycleRight movement to improve awareness of:

•what can and cannot go into the blue recycling bins;

• the need to ensure that recyclables are free of food and liquids; and

•how recyclables need not be sorted by type, as this would be done at the Materials Recovery Facilities.

The NEA is refreshing the design of the labels on the blue recycling bin to improve the presentation of recycling information.

MEWR recently gathered views on recycling, as part of our public consultation on the Zero Waste Masterplan.

We will be setting up a Citizens' Workgroup to involve Singaporeans in the co-creation and implementation of #RecycleRight solutions.

Effecting behavioural change takes time and requires a whole-of-nation effort. Visit towardszerowaste.sg for more details.

Ng Chun Pin

Director, Environmental Policy Division

Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2019, with the headline 'More being done to improve awareness of recycling'. Print Edition | Subscribe