Working towards vision of zero-waste nation

We thank Mr Adam Reutens-Tan ("Schemes to promote recycling must hit where it hurts") and Mr Ooi Mun Kong ("Give regular updates on status of recycling efforts"; both published on May 27) for their feedback.

The National Recycling Programme was launched in 2001 to provide fortnightly collections of recyclables from HDB and landed homes.

This was extended to cover all households in 2009 when all condominiums were required by law to provide recycling receptacles within their estate grounds.

To further facilitate recycling, standardised blue recycling bins labelled with information on what can and cannot be recycled were introduced progressively from 2011 to 2014, and all HDB blocks and landed homes are now provided with a recycling bin each, with more frequent collections.

Cash For Trash collections, where residents can exchange recyclables for cash, have also been implemented by public waste collectors to incentivise recycling.

Regarding the regular publishing of comparative figures on the amount of rubbish collected and recycled, as well as the amount of waste going to the landfill, these statistics are available on an annual basis.

The public can obtain the statistics from our Waste and Recycling Statistics, available on the National Environment Agency's website at

As part of our efforts to promote recycling, we are constantly reviewing our programmes.

These include studies on pay-as-you-throw schemes, where households pay according to the amount of waste they throw away and enjoy savings when they reduce their waste.

However, one of the challenges in its implementation is the use of common refuse chutes in high-rise buildings, where more than 90 per cent of our population reside.

We strongly encourage all households to make the extra effort to segregate their recyclables as much as possible for recycling.

This will help us reduce the need to build more disposal facilities and move closer to our vision of a zero-waste nation.

Ong Soo San
Waste and Resource Management Department
National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Working towards vision of zero-waste nation'. Print Edition | Subscribe