Review how recyclable waste is collected from bins

As much as 40 per cent of what goes into recycling bins cannot be recycled because it is either non-recyclable or soiled by food or liquids.
As much as 40 per cent of what goes into recycling bins cannot be recycled because it is either non-recyclable or soiled by food or liquids. PHOTO: ST FILE

If up to 40 per cent of what goes into recycling bins cannot be recycled because they are either non-recyclable or soiled by food or liquids, that is indeed a very high level of wastage (Six in 10 households recycle often, but not all get it right, April 30).

One major factor contributing to this problem is the indiscriminate use of recycling bins by the public, either due to sheer ignorance or for the sake of convenience.

I have been a strong supporter of recycling efforts since the days of putting recyclable waste into supplied green bags, which were then collected door to door by waste companies.

This was more costly and time-consuming, but it helped prevent contamination of the recycled items as the items from each household were bagged separately.

Currently, trucks go from bin to bin collecting recyclables, but soiled items from any bin will contaminate the recyclable waste.

If recyclable waste is rendered unrecyclable due to such practices, people may be discouraged from putting their waste in the bins.

Perhaps the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources may want to review the current methods of collecting recyclable waste, in a bid to encourage a higher level of participation from the public as well as to reduce wastage due to contamination.

Victor Tan Thiam Siew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2019, with the headline 'Review how recyclable waste is collected from bins'. Print Edition | Subscribe