Recycling education has been ongoing

We thank Ms Sharon Szto Hwei Fung for her letter (Home owners can do more to be environmentally conscious; July 3).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) regularly puts out public education material on recycling. For instance, we recently published four recycling videos on our Facebook page with information on what can and cannot be recycled, and tips on how to separate general waste from recyclables to make recycling easy and convenient.

Information on how and what to recycle, as well as the locations of the nearest recycling bins, recyclables collection points and in-store e-waste recycling bins is also available on our website and the myENV mobile app.

NEA works with Community Development Councils, schools and community partners on public education programmes to promote recycling habits at home.

We have also been working with major retailers of electrical and electronic equipment to voluntarily provide e-waste recycling bins at their outlets for the convenience of consumers.

By 2021, the recycling of e-waste, such as batteries and light bulbs, will be covered under an Extended Producer Responsibility regulatory framework, which will make it even more convenient for consumers to recycle such waste.

We agree with Ms Szto that all of us can be more responsible consumers and better manage our waste. Active participation in recycling by the community is key to improving our domestic recycling rate.

We are stepping up our public education efforts on recycling, as we work towards our vision of Singapore as a zero-waste nation.

Ms Szto has also rightly pointed out that using biodegradable bags may not lead to better environmental outcomes in Singapore's context, as all disposables are not directly landfilled when discarded, but are incinerated in waste-to-energy plants. Moreover, an NEA study, which was published earlier this year, found that biodegradables also create negative environmental impact.

A more sustainable approach is to tackle the excessive consumption of all types of disposables and promote the use of reusables.

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 July 12, 2018, with the headline 'Recycling education has been ongoing'. Print Edition | Subscribe