Forum: NEA working at consistent recycling messaging

 A recycling bin in a HDB estate.
A recycling bin in a HDB estate.PHOTO: ST FILE

We agree with Ms Renee Tay that greater consistency in messaging on recycling will encourage more people to recycle, and to do it correctly (Be clear about what items can or cannot be recycled, Oct 12).

About 40 per cent of what goes into the blue recycling bins cannot be recycled, either because the materials are not recyclable or have been contaminated by food or liquids.

The #RecycleRight campaign was launched this year to improve awareness of recycling. The main message is that recyclables should be free of food and liquids.

Sorting is not required as separation is done at the materials recovery facilities.

We do encourage that items such as clothes, shoes and toys that are in good condition be donated, or repurposed for other uses to reduce waste.

Some of this information is displayed on the blue bins that are at every Housing Board block and at landed homes.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) also provides this information, and details of the locations of the recycling bins and recyclables collection points, on its website, as well as through social media and the myENV mobile app.

We are currently rolling out a new set of labels for the blue bins, with photos of recyclables and non-recyclables, and key tips on recycling.

Also, the public waste collectors have painted their recycling trucks blue to raise awareness of recycling. At commercial and industrial premises, owners may choose the type of recycling bins and labels they want to use.

This is to cater to the different needs of the premises, such as the level of recycling awareness among their tenants and patrons, and the aesthetics or design theme of the premises.

However, all HDB housing estates, landed homes and other premises, such as schools, community centres and neighbourhood shops, are already serviced by the public waste collectors.

They make up the vast majority of premises in Singapore, and carry a consistent set of recycling messages to the public.

We agree with Ms Tay that there is a need to be clear on what is meant by "donate if in good condition".

We will remind our public waste collectors to ensure that the messaging on their platforms aligns with the NEA's.

We will also continue to work with other partners and stakeholders to raise awareness of recycling and how to recycle right.

Desmond Tan

Director, Waste and Resource Management Department

National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'NEA working at consistent recycling messaging'. Subscribe