Tech for reusing, recycling trash is available

Employees at a facility sorting smaller items from waste into separate bins.
Employees at a facility sorting smaller items from waste into separate bins.PHOTO: ST FILE

In Singapore, it is understood that we need to reduce if not eliminate waste (New zero-waste law to compel big firms to take greater action, Sept 5).

After extracting valuable contents from trash and sorting plastics into their various families, the remaining trash is burned to create an ash compound.

I suggest the ash compound be mixed with cement and some media like sand to be cast into bricks, which can be used to pave pedestrian walkways or Park Connector Network pathways.

I would also suggest the mixed compound be cast into larger devices, which can be placed along shorelines to prevent erosion. This is in line with our efforts to build bunds and dykes around the eastern coastal areas to protect against rising water levels. Japan is currently doing this with its trash.

Plastics like polypropylene can be mixed with wood chips and shredded cloth and injection moulded into pieces of plank-like parts, which can be made into benches, tables, fencing and even houses. This is being done in certain parts of Europe.

And used PET bottles can be converted into polyester strands for use in T-shirts and other clothing. All the technology required to recycle and reuse is currently available.

The only issue is cost versus profit. So if our Government is really committed to recycling and reusing trash, we must not be sidetracked into comparing the cost versus buying a commercially available substitute.

I challenge our authorities to be creative and daring like they have been with Pulau Semakau.

Ron Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2019, with the headline 'Tech for reusing, recycling trash is available'. Print Edition | Subscribe